Years ago Rebekah Holloway made a mortifying discovery. She and her husband, Kyle, were hosting a group of young couples in their home when she found underwear lying on the floor of the bathroom. When Rebekah returned to the living room, she said, "Has anyone used this messy bathroom?"
One of the women, who was heading down another hallway to feed a baby replied, "Yes, I did, and it made me so happy!" The underwear on the floor reminded this young mom that being a Christian does not mean perfection.
Rebekah breathed a deep sigh of relief. She remembered that she and Kyle were using their real-life home as an outreach of Christ's love … and that was the important thing. They just needed to use whatever God provided, messy bathroom and all.
Wherever you live, and no matter what your floor looks like, God wants to use us as His ambassadors. As followers of Christ, He wants our homes to be filled with the love of Jesus.
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Wherever you live, God wants to use us as His ambassadors.
I asked my colleagues at FamilyLife how they have used their homes as an outreach—an embassy—of Christ's extravagant love. Here are some of their answers:
1. Use your home to help others with overnight lodging. Nancy and Gabe enjoy offering their house as a "bed and breakfast" for friends and for those in ministry who need a place to spend the night. Nancy says, "Oftentimes, over breakfast or another time, we end up discussing life issues which naturally opens the door to spiritual discussions."
And Scott says he and his wife offer their home to neighbors who need a place for traveling friends and relatives to spend the night.
2. Organize a neighborhood cookout. "We had a cookout in our driveway when we first moved to our cul-de-sac to learn who our neighbors were." (Kenny)
3. Open your home during the holidays. "We enjoy inviting others to join us for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter meals. We usually have a guided question (like Untie Your Story from Ever Thine Home®) that encourages spiritual discussion." (Nancy)
4. Use your home for a Sunday school outreach. "When our Sunday school class adopted a home for pregnant teens, we had the whole home over for a neighborhood potluck and roasted hot dogs over the bonfire." (Lynn)
5. Look for opportunities to proclaim the gospel. "Recently, we shared the gospel with a young gent from Mexico who was helping me landscape. We invited him in for supper with us and had the chance to share the gospel with him." (Paul)
6. Reach out to international college students. "We are associated with International Friendship Outreach. We have invited international students to our home for dinners, to make and bake recipes, and to decorate for Christmas. Many have never been in an American home, or shared in the reasons we celebrate certain holidays." (Randy)
7. Get to know your neighbors, regardless of their lifestyle. "We've had a pair of lesbian neighbors over for lunch, and swapped yard-sitting duties with them when one of us went out of town, etc. They knew our beliefs, but we all maintained a respectful friendship and discussed things plainly." (Elizabeth)
8. Welcome engaged couples into your home. Cyndi and her husband, Mike, opened up their home for premarriage counseling. "Being in a home puts people at ease," Mike says. "It's an inviting environment that opens up conversations."
9. Intentionally get to know those who don't share your faith. "We use our home to invite nonbelievers for meals. This could be the electrician, a painter, a couple we meet at the fitness club, or a couple/single that we meet on a bicycle. The root word for hospitality is 'hospital.' Both my wife and I have a vision for seeing our home used as a place for healing, a place to value people, a place to hear people's stories and a place to ultimately introduce them to the One who created them." (Rob and Teresa)
10. Become a neighborhood hub for children. When Ellie's children were younger, they played a lot outside. The kids frequently invited their neighborhood friends into their home where Ellie served them all simple refreshments.
11. Make your home the center of your personal ministry. "We host small-group Bible studies and church community groups to help disciple others and help couples grow in their love for God and their spouse. We provide temporary housing to international students, especially Muslim couples. We have non-Christian neighbors over for dinner." (Chuck)
12. See if your neighbors have unmet needs. Julie gets to know her neighbors and regularly checks on them to see if they have any needs. She says, "As a family we once picked up the leaves/branches after a heavy storm before our elderly neighbor even knew her yard was a mess. That was fun and taught our kids to love a neighbor like ourselves." (Julie)
13. Enjoy life with your neighbors. "We had a water balloon festival and invited our neighbor kiddos. Building relationships with the kids allows you to get to know the neighbors. We've shared our mulch pile with neighbors in an effort to get to know them." (Paul)
14. Offer short-term housing to those in need. Diana and her husband opened up their home to a mother and her baby who needed a temporary place to live. "We tried to help her see a Christian home and parenting," Diana said.
Bob and Lana said, "We have used our home to host various singles and couples over the years. One gentleman lived with us for five months while he was going through a divorce."
15. Reach out to singles. "One of the coolest ways is having our single friends in our home and one has even said, 'I have never seen normal married people before. It's been great to get a picture of what it looks like to be married.'" (Rob)
16. Use your home to host Bible studies, book studies, or Bible clubs. "We have hosted neighborhood gatherings to get to know each other and then invite anyone interested for a Bible study. For example, one winter we invited neighbors in for pie. Then we followed up by going door to door in our community of 71 homes to invite each household to our upcoming Bible/book study." (Aileen)
"We've had Bible clubs for children, groups of moms praying for their kids, etc." (Charlotte)
17. Dedicate your home to the Lord. "We will have an open house/house dedication where we will invite our neighbors. During that dedication we will share Scripture, the vision for our home, and we will pray through various rooms." (Paul).
18. Offer your handyman services and tools to new neighbors. Scott says that he has a lot of tools and knows how to use them. So when new neighbors move into the neighborhood, he offers to let them use his handyman services and tools.
Do people sense that your home is more than just a residence? That your apartment, house, or hut is inhabited by a follower of Jesus Christ? That it's one of His embassies on earth … an outreach of selfless love?
God wants our homes to be a place where, as Elizabeth says, neighbors "feel free to open your fridge and get a drink and share their heart with you."
Copyright © 2016 by FamilyLife. All right reserved.
From Ever Thine Home®
Another way to use your home as an outreach is to be intentional about representing Christ in the way you decorate. These beautiful accents for your home were created by Barbara Rainey and Ever Thine Home with that goal in mind. Click on the images below to purchase or visit EverThineHome.com to view the entire holiday and home collection from FamilyLife.