Lost Art

I am including a guest perspective today from Joe Coney, who recently shared his powerful insights on hospitality with me. Joe is the Manager of Donor Relations for Crown Financial Ministries for the last 10 years. He traveled the country regularly and met with regular supporters of Crown. He traveled the country to express Crown’s appreciation for their support in a personal way. Here Joe shares some sobering observations about the state of hospitality in our country today.
Hospitality is disappearing in the evangelical church in America. I’ve seen it erode throughout the years as families become busier and more self-absorbed. It’s interesting that a verbal survey of some of the women in my church revealed that they did not think their home was of the standard that they could have guests. They felt their homes were not clean enough.

My work involves meeting people in their homes. I’ve discovered that it is very difficult to get an appointment with a couple for the first time. Ten years ago when I begun scheduling appointments, it was not as difficult and I had plenty of people who wanted to see me. Now it is a rare event to meet a couple for the first time. And those who do respond to my requests with a “don’t need to see you” reply usually site that they are too busy to see me. I only ask to meet with them and express my appreciation once a year.

In my opinion the American church has lost this great opportunity to minister to others by opening up their homes.
Wow! Thank you Joe for sharing your perspective. Hopefully we can change Reluctant Entertainers into Welcoming Entertainers, and turn this sad trend around!

(Photos by Paul Coughlin: Rhodies in our front yard taken in early morning light.)


momrn2 said...

I am really striving to be more of a "welcoming entertainer" than a "reluctant entertainer".

Reading all the encouragment I find here has helped me change my focus.

Barb said...

Joe actually still is the manager of donor relations at Crown, and is the kindest, most interesting guy to spend time with. He's a grandpa now and has lots of life experience and wisdom. For Crown, he invites people out to eat as a rule, and doesn't seek to "impose" himself on individuals, but just wants to meet them and chat a little over a meal and thank them. It's amazing, isn't it? When we married, I thought everybody had people into their homes to eat or otherwise share, and regularly. Apparently nobody does it anymore!

ellen b said...

Sad commentary. We need to model hospitality for our children. Maybe us older women need to take seriously the "teaching younger women role" and include a good dose of hospitality training. Karen Mains old book is coming to my mind...was it called Open heart Open home or something like that?

Jenster said...

First of all - beautiful pictures!

And yes, Ellen - when I was in my very early thirties one of the older ladies at church started a study of Open Hearts, Open Homes for this very reason. It was an excellent book and I learned a lot.

And like my mom always says, "They're not coming to see my house, they're coming to see me." So what if it's not as clean as you'd like? Which, as I know from personal experience, is easier said than done. lol

Julie said...

I'll tell you, Sandy, we LOVE having people over. When we're not busy having surgery and stuff, that is. LOL

Guess we're on that small minority of people. ??

Melissa @ Breath of Life said...

Thanks for the thought-provoking post. I'm realizing I need to be more intentional about building relationships & investing in the lives of others. I don't have a Christian family, and I want my daughter to be exposed to as many Christians as she can be. Our church family really is our family, and I need to start treating them like it.

Nadine said...

I love having guests. This past weekend we had a conference and the speakers were friends. They stayed in our home and we shared meals I prepared. My husband and I work as a team and it was fun and the friends felt welcome. I too hope this trend turns around.

B said...

Just came across your blog and I love it! I love entertaining - in fact have started my own business catering tea parties. As we jokingly say in our church a lot, "Feed them and they will come!"

Cathy said...

Amen! We love to have others in our home. Fortunately my husband loves it as much as I do. It is a dying art and this makes me sad. I try to encourage those who don't entertain to give it a try. Dessert and coffee or take out pizza is an easy start.

If our table could talk, it would have lots of interesting stories to tell. Great memories!

Domestic Bliss