You’ve invited folks over for an evening to reconnect and share a good meal. Before your friends arrive, you are finishing up dinner details, cleaning up the house and selecting the party music. Creating an environment that feels thoughtful, inviting and nourishing is one important piece of hospitality. The other piece is feeding the hearts of our guests.
The Hurley family tip: ask intentional questions! Not just the surface-level questions like “what is your favorite color” but also, questions you pray about and talk through before guests arrive.
My husband and I often discuss the season of life our guests are enduring before they arrive. We ask each other what would be a helpful, encouraging or challenging question to ask so we can know our friends better and give them a space to process. Sometimes, we will pray for our guest beforehand and other times we will have a passing conversation about it while getting the house ready.
- Did they recently get engaged? Well, let’s ask about their premarital conversations, the various transitions they are working through and how they are learning more about God through it all.
- Is a friend still waiting for a new job? We ask how they are really handling the frustrating parts of job searching and how we could help connect them in anyway.
- Or perhaps a friend we know really well comes over and we talk about all sorts of things but we still want to ask, “how are you, really?”
Having a plan doesn’t mean your conversation has to be forced. It means you came prepared to love your friends in a thoughtful way! You are creating a safe place for a friend to be known, heard and appreciated.
Serving our friends up a plate of fruitful and considerate conversation is certainly my favorite way to show them God’s hospitable love.
So, the next time you ask a friend for coffee or have someone over for dinner, I challenge you to consider thinking of some thoughtful questions beforehand. Be prepared to listen well, give some hugs, and remind them how much God cares for them.