The Do’s and Don’ts of Hospitality

By Victoria Osborn, Contributing Writer

Now that we are in full summer mode, the season of barbecues, cookouts and campfires are in full swing. Perhaps you have been invited into other’s homes and have enjoyed the hospitality of good friends, fellowship and food. Or maybe you are wanting to open up your own home but are scared to do so?

Dos and Donts of Hospitality

Photo by kkmarais

Hospitality is a way we welcome and serve one another. It’s an invitation into your home, a way to build deeper friendships and it’s one way we can model the love of Christ. Not surprisingly though, when you say the word hospitality you often get a wide range of reactions from enthusiasm to downright terror.

Some love to open their homes to others while to some it can seem downright overwhelming. I mean how can you possibly add one more thing to your list of responsibilities, right?

In truth hospitality doesn’t have to be overwhelming nor does it have to add anymore to your ever growing to-do list. In fact here are some easy do’s and don’t of hospitality to keep in mind.

Don’t wait until your house is perfectly clean

If you have young children, older children, pets, a husband… basically any people living in your home, except the fact that your house will probably never be perfectly clean. And you know what? That’s OK.

You don’t have to have a white gloved approved clean home to open your doors and welcome friends and family in. Follow a simple daily routine to keep your home picked up help keep your home in order.

Instead of frantically rushing through your home before guests arrive simply pick up any items that don’t belong, set out fresh hand towels, light a fresh candle and welcome your friends and family. I promise you, they aren’t inspecting your home for cleanliness, they are there to fellowship with you!

Do Keep It Casual

Let go of the idea that in order to have anyone over to you home, you have to have a fancy formal dinner with the dining room table set to the nines. While those can be fun to host, it certainly doesn’t need to be the tone for all your get-togethers.

Open your doors to the back deck, light some candles, turn on some fun music and set out some inexpensive (or even give yourself permission to do disposable) dishes. If the weather is nice, eat outdoors on your back deck or patio. Include the kids so couples don’t have to worry about childcare. Play some games and just relax and enjoy the company.

Don’t Wait for a Special Holiday

There is a myth that you can only have people over on a holiday but that is untrue. You can open your home whenever you want.

Personally I think it takes a little bit of the pressure off when you host a dinner or barbecue on a day that isn’t a holiday. People might be more inclined to accept your invitation on a day where they don’t already have family plans.

Do Keep It Simple

If scanning Pinterest for tablescapes and decor are you thing and you enjoy making them, then go for it. For the rest of us, we can let go of the idea that we have to have the perfectly set table, beautiful seasonal decor or Pinterest worthy food display.

You don’t need matching plates, themed decor or a perfectly set table to enjoy the presence of friends and family over. Seasonal parties and decorations are nice and they are special but they aren’t necessary for everyday hospitality.

Don’t Stay Indoors

Summer is the perfect time to grill out and play outside. Set up a table on the back deck, have a bucket of balls or other outdoor toys and games, fill a cooler with some ice and water with a pitcher of lemonade nearby and fire up the grill.

Don’t feel like you have to stay cooped up in the house or even in the kitchen. This is the season to enjoy the weather outdoors and to have fun with your company.

Do Keep It Frugal

It doesn’t have to be expensive to have people over. Keep the menu simple and don’t worry about an elaborate five course meal. You can even host a pot-luck or buffet style meal.

While it’s probably not the best etiquette to invite someone over then tell them what to bring, you can certainly accept an offer if they ask! I also like to keep the meal prep simple by laying out all the food on the counter in a buffet style that way everyone can eat what they want and no one is wasting any food.

Don’t Think You Have to Plan an Event

Your having friends over to enjoy their company and welcoming them in your home, don’t think you have to plan an entire evening of games and entertainment. Enjoy the time you are spending with your friends, neighbors or family. Laugh, tell stories, get to know one another intentionally.

Whether you choose to invite the neighbors over, friends, a family from church or you own family, opening the doors to your home can be relaxing and fun. In fact I have always found that when I’m practicing hospitality by serving other, so often it’s my own heart that is often blessed too!

Do's and Don'ts of Hospitality

Photo by kkmarais

What are your simple tips for making hospitality stress free and more enjoyable?

Free Hospitality Video Series

If you want to dive in and learn even more about hospitality – from the Biblical command to a beginner’s guide to extending hospitality – check out my free video series on hospitalitySign up to get a three part video training so you can discover the joy in practicing Biblical hospitality.


Budget-Friendly Summer Potluck Ideas

By Shannon, Contributing Writer

Summer brings about so many fantastic opportunities to join with our friends and neighbors in times of community with potlucks and BBQs. The great news is, you can do it all while still saving money on groceriesHere are 16 budget friendly summer potluck ideas that won’t blow your grocery budget.

Summer Potluck Ideas

To celebrate the past year of growing community and fellowship, our small group leaders hosted a fun appetizers and desserts potluck for everyone. The kids splashed in the pool, the guys played lawn games, and the girls gabbed in lawn chairs. Everyone had an awesome time, and I was so impressed that it was also a budget-friendly affair that everyone could feel comfortable attending.

16 Budget-Friendly Summer Potluck Ideas

Here are a few tips I noticed at our fun budget-friendly potluck.

Fresh Fruit and Vegetable

Focus on what’s in season for the best prices and a chance to use your own garden-fresh produce or you-pick finds.

Recipe Ideas:

  • Watermelon – You can get a good sized watermelon for under $5 that will be plenty to bring to a potluck with lots leftover for your family.
  • Fruit Salad
  • Vegetable Salad-  This fresh Italian salad will wow at any picnic, and is gluten free and grain free.
  • Homemade Salad Dressing – Don’t forget to include your favorite homemade salad dressing.
  • Homemade Salsa
  • Fresh Fruit Skewers
  • Grilled Corn on the Cob

Stretch the Meat

If you’re hosting, make it an appetizers and desserts party rather than a full on dinner. One fun option everyone loves is sliders. You can feed a much bigger crowd on a budget with these mini-burgers. Kababs are another fun way to make your meat go further, as you layer it with fresh in-season veggies.

Recipe Ideas:

  • Sliders
  • Meat and Veggie Kebabs
  • Chili

Stick to Frugal Staples

We can use many of the same techniques to stay on budget during summer as we do all year around. Beans are great, potatoes, and pasta are frugal staples that can be served so many different ways!

Whether you’re hosting or attending, these budget-friendly summer potluck ideas will help you save money while still enjoying the fellowship of family, friends, and neighbors. After all, that’s what summertime is all about!

Budget Friendly Summer BBQ Potluck Ideas 1

What do you do to save your budget while entertaining in the summer?

Free Hospitality Video Series

If you want to dive in and learn even more about hospitality – from the Biblical command to a beginner’s guide to extending hospitality – check out my free video series on hospitalitySign up to get a three part video training so you can discover the joy in practicing Biblical hospitality.


Accommodating Children While Extending Hospitality

By Erica, Contributing Writer

Imagine yourself as a child, walking into an unknown home and finding out you would be staying for hours with nothing to do besides playing with what your mother had stashed away in her purse for you and your siblings. What if all she had in her purse were a few broken crayons, a few scraps of old grocery lists for paper, and three small toys?

Imagine your parents talking for hours consumed with their conversations that they do not notice your boredom or the host’s children lack of restraint when it comes to rough housing with you and calling you names. Each child that enters your home will get an impression of your hospitality as much, if not more, as their parents will.

Child Guests Accommodating Children While Extending Hospitality

Accommodating child guests does not always revolve around entertaining children, but making them feel welcome in your home too. The best places I remember as a child were the people who not only had our family over but they made a point to make me feel special for coming to their house to visit too; At my great-grandmother’s house it was a trip to the cookie jar for pink wafer cookies, at my cousins’ house it was being allowed to sit at the adult table instead of the kid table since I was much older than the rest of the cousins.

For myself, not only as a mother, but also a frequent guest in others’ homes, I like to know my children are busy doing things that are constructive, not just deconstructive. I dread the idea of my children making huge messes in faraway bedrooms being tempted to talk about and do things they probably would not do otherwise that is why I believe it’s great to plan ahead and think of them too!

Accommodating children means you should:

 Know their name

Children are attracted to people who show genuine interest in who they are as an individual not as the child of “so and so” or the “brother of _______.”

Think of their age(s)

If you’re a mother with a small baby then a six to ten year old may be bored with playing with baby toys. If you’re a mother whose children are somewhat older than the visiting guests, then it might be nice to think of some age-appropriate activities. A teen might rather be included with the adults rather than be the babysitter for the younger children.

Will you need to baby proof certain rooms of the house? Think of seating as well, will they need a smaller chair or a booster seat? Will they prefer to sit at a table with all children or next to their parents? Do you have a cup that they can drink out of that is good for their age? Is their child comfortable around the type of animal that you have?

Know their personality type and interests

Just be aware of who the child is and what they are interested in so that you can be understanding toward their needs. Not all kids are good at sitting still through a meal and might be very active, some girls just are not interested in playing dress up in the ultimate princess paraphernalia. Other children have disabilities and may require a little more attention from their parents than you might be expecting.

Ask parents first when it comes to entertainment

Everyone is different about they allow their children to see and do. It’s always wise to ask the child’s parent before deciding that any form of entertainment is okay for their children to be involved in. This is especially true when it comes to movies, video games, tablets/phone games, and outdoor activities as well. Defer to the guests’ preferences and be respectful even if they may do different things with their children than you do with yours. You create a trust with guests when you respect them enough to ask them for permission rather than assuming.

Also ask parents first when it comes to passing out food

This may seem redundant with the above point, but we also live in a world full of allergies as well as food preferences (think of the organic crowd). While your entire meal may not be centered around making it entirely child friendly, be mindful of those who are also picky eaters and parents who are watching their child’s diet. Make a choice not to be offended if someone declines your offer for a specific type of food or snack for their child(ren).

Provide activities that require little prep work in a place of safety

Let’s be honest, when we’re chatting with our guests and finishing our meal preparation then we won’t be thinking about what the kids are doing. My advice would be to have a basket of kid-related items ready before they arrive. Then, point them to where it is, and guide them where and how to use those things, and finally allow them the freedom to play.

This will help you have a “controlled” mess with only the items from the basket instead of your entire toy collection being spread throughout the house. Location is everything – place children in a place that gets regular parental supervision for your safety and theirs.

Talking to them and including them in conversation

You can quickly learn about who a child is if you will show some interest in them personally. Inquire about their life, what they like to do, and/or their opinion about the dinner table discussion. Including them in a conversation will help them to realize that you really do care about them, which is one of the goals of hospitality.

Accommodating children does not have to be difficult. It just may require a little more planning and concentrated effort on your part before they arrive. You can step up your hospitality game just by thinking about how to be a blessing to children who visit your home.

Kids & Hospitality - YWG

Please include any things you may do personally in your home to make children feel welcome in the comments, we would love to read them!

Free Hospitality Video Series

If you want to dive in and learn even more about hospitality – from the Biblical command to a beginner’s guide to extending hospitality – check out my free video series on hospitalitySign up to get a three part video training so you can discover the joy in practicing Biblical hospitality.



HF #005: Serving From Within Our Homes Through the Biblical Art of Hospitality

Welcome back to the fifth episode of my brand new podcast: The Homemaking Foundations Podcast Where we give you the tools, inspiration, and encouragement you need to craft a Gospel-Centered Home. In case you missed it, you can listen in to last week’s episode here: Episode #004: Taking Baby Steps to Healthier Living for God’s Glory.

HF #5 - Serving From Within Our Homes Through the Biblical Art of Hospitality - Pinterest

It can be hard sometimes as busy homemaker’s to find the time, energy, and ability to serve within the Church and in our neighborhoods. That’s why I think this topic in today’s podcast is so important: How can we, as busy homemakers, serve God from within our homes? Through the Biblical art of hospitality.

Right click here and save-as to download this episode to your computer.

In This Episode, You Will Learn:

  • How we can serve God from within our homes through hospitality
  • The Biblical command behind hospitality
  • What hospitality looks like (and what it doesn’t)
  • Practical Tips for practicing hospitality
  • And diving in deeper

Episode summary

Hospitality: What comes to mind? Do you picture a beautiful house complete with a gourmet meal, friends around the dinner table, and polite chit chat? Hospitality can be this, but it’s really much more.

Hospitality can look like:

  • Inviting a non-Christian family out to pizza after the soccer game.
  • Sharing a picnic at the park with the single mom down the street.
  • Inviting that new couple at church over for Sunday brunch.

Hospitality can come in many forms but the ultimate purpose is this: To honor and obey God by serving those around us. As Christians we are called to practice Biblical Hospitality…and practice it with joy!

Links & Resources Mentioned in This Episode:

Book of the Week:

Say goodbye to survival modeSay Goodbye to Survival Mode: 9 Simple Strategies to Stress Less, Sleep More, and Restore Your Passion for Life

Each week I feature one of my favorite books that connects with what we’ve been chatting about. And today that book recommendation is Say Goodbye to Survival Mode by Crystal Paine. This book is probably in my top 5 favorite books of all time. And the reason I’m mentioning it today in conjunction with hospitality, is because this book is for anyone who feels like their house is out of control or they just can’t stay on top of things. Crystal walks you through how you can set priorities in your home and actually follow through with those home management systems so you can finally feel in control of your house!

I own this book in print which you can find on Amazon. But I also have this book an an audiobook from because I love it that much! And right now – you can download it for FREE as an audiobook when you sign up for a free 30 day trial from Just remember to cancel your subscription after 30 days if you don’t want to continue.

A Heart for Hospitality eCourse



Join me for my exciting new eCourse on hospitality! This Biblical-based and practical course walks you through all the aspects of extending hospitality from the Biblical definition to meal plans to cleaning for guests to small space hospitality and more! Find out more about the course HERE.

  • 15 Video Sessions on the Biblical Art of Serving Others through Hospitality
  • A course workbook with notes and outlines for all sessions
  • Printable Hospitality Binder with everything you need to get started today
  • Free bonuses including daily disciplines sheet, appetizer recipes, and more!

Sign up for the eCourse


Thanks for Listening!

Thank you so much for listening in to my podcast. If you want to ask a question (that I will try to answer on the podcast) please leave me a voicemail below so I can feature you on the podcast and so I can cover what you want to hear! (Find out more about submitting a question here)

HF #5 - Serving From Within Our Homes Through the Biblical Art of Hospitality

How to Keep Your Hospitality Simple This Summer (So You’ll Actually Do It!)

By Katie Bennett, Contributing Writer

Perhaps the most effective and purposeful way to build a relationship with someone is to have them into one’s home.

This personal environment quickly breaks down barriers and helps people feel that they truly know us. An open home is an open heart in many ways.

However, although I have the vision and heart for hospitality, it is not my particular “skill set.” Some people have a knack for beautiful place settings and elegant meals –but not me. I can easily run around looking frazzled, somehow not on top of any single thing and a head that’s spinning.

Nonetheless, because of the relational significance and biblical mandate of hospitality, I’ve figured out ways to keep it simple and make it doable and fun. And thus, I actually do it …and love it!

how to keep your hospitality simple this summer

I’ve learned that, most of the time, people are not longing to be impressed, they are longing to be loved.

All the hoopla and stress us “non-skilled hostesses” put ourselves through is really unnecessary. We can show just as much love through simple, relaxed and low-key hospitality. I would suggest that the most important component is simply getting people through our front doors!

So whether it’s someone from church, a coworker or acquaintance God is calling you to reach out to, or a perhaps a neighbor or good friend, banish your excuses, use these simple ideas to make a plan, and put it on the calendar!

Here are some suggestions to do just that.

Keep Your Hospitality Simple this Summer:

1. Have a watermelon bust!

Invite people over and cut into some watermelons together! This is perfect for a balmy summer’s evening. Plan to have people over after dinnertime. There are still hours of evening sunlight left to enjoy and no school in the morning for the kids. You can even plan an epic watermelon seed spitting contest on the front driveway!

2. Desserts or appetizers only

In the same way, you can avoid making a meal by having people over for fun desserts or appetizers! Perhaps make homemade ice cream or strawberry shortcake. Or even better, everyone brings a dessert or appetizer to share!

3. Take the party outside

If you have access to an outside area, take advantage this summer! This way your home won’t get messy. If you have a grill, plan a meal that can be cooked there in it’s entirety. Not only does grilling keep mess and stress outside, it invites the men to get involved (at least at my house it does).

Set up a sprinkler or throw a beach ball in the yard for the kids and, bam! You have a great, easy setting to enjoy your company.



4. Order pizza!

Make it something special –a pizza that you love and genuinely want to share with them. There’s no shame in that. Anyone with little kids knows going out to eat is pretty hard. So go out to eat together at your home!

5. Clean up while they’re there

I am so thankful I finally broke through my reservations about this one. For the longest time I had a mental barrier that prevented me from cleaning up in front of my company. They would offer; I would resist them. I wanted to be 100% focused on them. But when my company left, I was worn out and left with an overwhelming mess. The long term result was distress at the thought of having people over. This was not a worthy trade off.

So I put another system to the test. Now I restore my home totally while my guests and I chat. Many times they help, and overall we have a great time and bond even more over a shared task and “real life” situation than otherwise. When they leave I look at my sparkling kitchen, feel fulfilled and go to bed!

6. Don’t be afraid to go disposable

Seriously. If the point is to love, not impress, you can feel good about leaving the fine china in the hutch and doing what you can handle. There’s no doubt that disposable plates and cutlery save on cleanup. Don’t hesitate to do what works for you!

7. Implement routines so your home is “at the ready”

This is one area in which I have grown slowly over time that has really impacted my ability to show simple, low-stress hospitality. Having a home that’s not a constant disaster zone takes daily habits of keeping it “together” little by little. If I have to do monster cleaning before having people over, I’m much less likely to do it. But if my home is passable, come on over!

If you need a push in this department, I highly recommend the Make Over Your Mornings eCourse (read more of my thoughts on that here). It has helped me add some simple yet huge (for me) routines to my evening and morning that have honestly been life-changing.

For more of my thoughts on the topic, check out How I’m Keeping My Home Tidier than Ever, Even When Life Is at It’s Crazies Yet.

And remember, your goal is not to impress. In fact, if you’re worried about impressing others, you may have missed the point.

Biblical hospitality is not meant to be about you. Find freedom in that and invite someone over!

They will be glad you did.

how to keep your hospitality simple this summer FB


Free Hospitality Video Series

If you want to dive in and learn even more about hospitality – from the Biblical command to a beginner’s guide to extending hospitality – check out my free video series on hospitalitySign up to get a three part video training so you can discover the joy in practicing Biblical hospitality.