“Company’s comin’!” Was one of the joyful litanies our children sang when they were small. “Company’s comin’!” they would intone, timing the chant to their bounces on the living room sofa. “Company’s coming!” echoed my own child-heart. Company’s here!
Through the years of our marriage, company has certainly come. We have literally opened our small apartments and now our home to hundreds and hundreds of people. Some have come by way of invitation to formal sit-down dinners, to pancake breakfasts, or to come-home-and-help-us-clean-out-the-refrigerator affairs. Some have come to participate in brain-expanding idea sessions. Others have “just dropped by” to say “Hi!” or maybe to hide awhile beneath the shelter of our eaves. Others have come to live, to share on a daily basis the warm circle of our family community.
At the start of my husband’s service as a senior pastor in downtown Chicago, our church had no building. Rather, it used rented facilities which were available only on Sunday mornings. So the homes of the congregation, of necessity, became central places of ministry. We met, ate, prayed, and played in them. After receiving notice that our lovely but aged apartment building, located in the historic Old Town section of the city was scheduled to be razed, my husband and I deliberately searched for a home that would accommodate the most people at one time.
Our choice was often validated as we observed the five-ring action that took place in it simultaneously: worship-service planning in the living room; brainstorming sessions around the old oak dining table and the crooked, knife-scarred kitchen tables; private counseling behind the closed door of the downstairs study; a shivering prayer held on the unheated front porch at the barest whiff of spring. It is a modest home, but it has served the Kingdom well, both then and now.
In the blog posts that will become a part of this series, I hope to share with you some of the lessons I’ve learned during a lifetime of extending Christian hospitality. If you long to have God use you to touch people at real places of personal need, then I encourage you to keep coming back and read these posts. We will journey together and share about what it means to open your heart and your home to people who need a touch that only you can give them.
Award-winning author Karen Mains continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.
Karen has long had an interest in Christian hospitality and is the author of the best-selling book, Open Heart, Open Home.
Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags. This micro-finance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.
For decades, Karen and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. The are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and churches at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.
Likewise, pastors will find special resources to help them prepare effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.