The Top 10 Reasons To Open Your Home For Ministry
By Andrew Mason
Have you ever looked at where you live as an essential tool in your spiritual development? I know it might not seem as spiritual as the Bible or prayer (especially when it’s messy) but what would you think if I told you that you were sitting on hidden treasure from Heaven when you’re sitting at home? What if your place of residence was attached to the plan God had for your life (Jer. 29:11)?
Some of you are thinking, “Pastor Mason, you haven’t seen where I live?” I would respond by saying, “You haven’t seen where I’ve lived either.” Sure, I have a house now that I’m married with a son, but I also lived in a cheap two-bedroom apartment with a roommate when I was a single youth pastor too. In the 3 years I lived there, those tight living quarters were a place for adult leaders to hang out, relax and let their hair down. We had sleepovers for the different guy small groups (they should’ve been called “Video Game Marathons” because nobody ever slept). Lastly (and I still don’t know how we did this), it was the home for two young men in our youth ministry for six months whose parents fell on some tough times temporarily.
In regards to God using people, I’ve heard it said, “It’s not about ability, it’s about availability.” Well, I believe that when it comes to God and where we live, “It’s not about home equity, it’s about home accessibility.” Every time I’ve opened my home up to others, I’ve opened up my heart to God doing something new inside of me.
Allow me to share with you The Top 10 Reasons To Open Your Home For Ministry:
1. It Reveals the Love of Christ To Others – Joel Comiskey writes in his book Biblical Foundations for the Cell-Based Church, “The ‘family of God’ and ‘household of God’ are both used in the New Testament to describe Christ’s church. These two terms are the principal church images of the New Testament.”
Doesn’t inviting someone into your home reinforce the idea of being “brothers and sisters in Christ?” Is there a more practical expression of the church being the “household” of God than fellow believers actually gathering in a house? Imagine this: God could use your residence as a means to communicate to others the message of belonging to Christ’s family.
2. It Crucifies Carnal American Christianity – America is the most individualistic society on the face of the earth. It’s all about looking out for #1. If we’re not careful we can manage our homes with similar roots of selfishness, pride and materialism. God doesn’t bless us with resources for own consumption alone. He blesses us to be a blessing (Gen. 12:3). Opening our home for ministry fosters a sense of interdependence. It reminds us that the collective good is more important than the good of an individual person.
3. It Increases Personal Virtue – Listen to the words of 1 Peter 4:9, “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling (NIV).” I also like the way the Contemporary English Version says it, “Welcome people into your home and don’t grumble about it.”
Did you know that “hospitality” was a major emphasis for early Christians? The Apostle Paul said in Romans 12:13, “Always be eager to practice hospitality.” Opening your home for ministry creates the proper workout to exercise your hospitality muscles.
4. It Allows People to Connect With the Real You – The potential for authentic relationships with others is multiplied when people interact with us in our own element. When you allow people to walk through your front door you begin to pull back the curtain of your life a little for others to see. Masks and facades slowly dissolve when you are seen as a normal person with a normal life.
5. It Teaches Our Kids To Serve Others – Obviously this may not apply to everybody. For parents though, I think this is huge. When leveraged properly, opening your home for ministry can be a tool to cultivate character in your son or daughter.
Enlist them as part of your hospitality team with roles and responsibilities. Put them in charge of answering the door with a friendly smile, taking small group attendance, running the DVD player (for video-based curriculum), passing out snacks/drinks, watching younger kids, etc. These opportunities can help to neutralize the selfish society they are growing up in today.
6. Certain People Will Try Out Your Home Before Organized Religion – We’ve had many instances in our church where people attend a home small group they were invited to BEFORE they attend church on Sunday. They enjoy the fellowship of the group so much they eventually ask themselves, “I wonder what the rest of the church is like?”
A lot of people these days are suspicious or weary of a larger religious organization. The thought of a Sunday congregation can seem irrelevant to them. Your home though, can present your church in the personal manner that many of them are craving. With a low intimidation factor, walls of defensiveness towards God and His people can be lowered, leaving just enough room for the Holy Spirit to touch their heart with His love.
7. It Forces You To Clean – I don’t know how you are, but I can be a great procrastinator when it comes to cleaning my house. Even as I’m typing this, I’m looking around at stuff I should be cleaning. However, something divine comes over me about an hour before people are coming over to my house. A sudden burst of inspiration hits me to wash dishes, clean bathrooms and vacuum. It’s quite amazing I tell you. My house seems to stay cleaner when small groups are in session.
8. The Atmosphere Gets Cleaned – When the last person from our small group walks out the door I love walking back into the house and taking a deep breath. After all the conversation, laughter, worship and prayer have ended and everything is quiet, the house seems lighter. The presence of God lingers in the living room. The fragrant aroma of Christ can be discerned. My heart is more sensitive to Him and my family. Opening my home up for ministry blesses the atmosphere I sleep in that night.
9. It Makes Your Home A Mission – I believe that any gathering of believers in a home extends the geography of the Kingdom of God. It gets church outside the four walls of the sanctuary. It gives Jesus a home base of operations in your neighborhood.
Are you leading or hosting a small group in your home right now? Share it with your neighbors too. They already see all the cars outside of your house; you might as well let them in on what’s going on. When ministry happens where you live, it’s an extension of Jesus to those living near you. Do you see the four walls of your home like that? Do you realize the divine significance your home represents to your neighborhood?
10. It Makes Us More Like Christ – Opening your home for ministry is opening your heart to others. Hosting, serving, praying with others gets all of your attention off of yourself and allows Christ to flow THROUGH you. All of it happens simply because you invite people past your porch.
In conclusion, I hope you see that opening your home for ministry not only has tremendous value, but it could also be the missing piece in your spiritual formation. Maybe you’re not ready to be a small group leader right now. That’s okay; consider hosting a small group that is led by someone else. Maybe you can’t make a full-time commitment right now. That’s okay; invite others over one night for dinner and a short time of prayer for each other’s needs. Wherever you’re at right now, ask yourself if there’s a way to make your home accessible to God and His people.