Practicing Hospitality: Chapter 4

Wel­come back for our chap­ter 4 dis­cus­sion on Prac­tic­ing Hos­pi­tal­ity: The Joy of Serv­ing Others by Pat Ennis & Lisa Tat­lock. This is part 4 of an eight week dis­cus­sion on this book. Past chapter summaries can be viewed here: part 1, part 2, and part 3.We are so glad you decided to join us! I Even if you are not par­tic­i­pat­ing in the study, I encour­age you to keep reading. Chapter 4 focused on Hospitality & Management. I was not able to summarize the entire chapter, due to it’s length, but here are some highlights.


This chapter begins by emphasizing the importance of management to the successful extension of hospitality in practice. “Management skills are important for Christian women primarily because such skills are the key to extending hospitality with ease, enjoyment, and resourcefulness.” The authors continue: Management involves organizing and planning all the details for each hospitality event. Organizing is the ability to arrange the various parts of your event; it implies that you are able to make decisions and accomplish tasks….Planning is the process of deciding in advance how to accomplish your tasks or goals.”

The end goal is to become “planners of generosity” with the help of three strategies:

  1. Refuse Idleness – the opposite of idleness is diligence. The hospitable woman is willing to work hard as it takes consistent effort to maintain an orderly and prepared home. She is willing to pursue mentoring relationships with an older women if necessary to develop these skills. Above all, she is seeking to be faithful. She does not get consumed with undone tasks and give up, but rather makes a consistent effort every day to do her best for the glory of God.
  2. Manage your home – Why is a managed home important? “Because a well-managed home views hospitality as a life-style – not just an event. You are living in anticipation that you will have guests in your home.” How can this be accomplished?
  • Get organized – Take small steps. One room at a time. Create storage spaces. File, throw or give away items as needed.
  • Establish a weekly cleaning schedule – For me this is Wednesday mornings. One week I do a basic cleaning of the downstairs as I see necessary, and on the opposite week I do a basic cleaning of the upstairs. This keeps it very management in this season of my life. Mondays is laundry day. Find a routine that works well for your family and stick to it!
  • Identify daily cleaning chores
  • Problem solve for your organization challenges – what areas do you struggle with and how can you solve these problems?
  • Keep the pantry stocked – keep a quick meal ingredients on hand, including beverages and dessert.
  • Prepare in advance for guests – What items might you need on hand for overnight guests?
  • Straighten up before going to bed – take 5 minutes to walk around the house and make it generally picked up. This has helped me significantly! Involve your kids in the process before bed, if possible.
  • Understand that orderliness, not perfection, is your goal.
  • Have a proper perspective on possessions. “The purpose of organization is to prepare your home and possessions to be used and enjoyed by your guests – not to preserve them.”

3. Prepare for graciousness – Management is a tool to help facilitate a gracious environment for your guests.

The authors go on to share many further ideas about being prepared for hospitality which would make this post extremely lengthy to share. If you haven’t read it, I would encourage you to pick up a copy! I will continue by highlighting what stood out to me from this chapter.


This quote stood out to me most significantly:Planning suggests you are anticipating opportunities to prepare a meal, invite a guest to stay the night, or open your home to others in some way.” I love the challenge to be planners of generosity. How can I be prepared to be hospitable? I am also going to implement the idea of having supplies on hand for impromptu guests by doubling a family meal to have in the freezer, and keeping cookie ingredients in the cupboard. This gives household management and organization an eternal purpose! Maintaining our homes is not just for the benefit of our family, but even more so for the furtherance of the kingdom, so we can welcome those who God might send our way without embarrassment. I was challenged to consider that the condition of my home can be a hindrance to the gospel.

I want to be more intentional with hospitality by establishing a hospitality schedule. Since the beginning of the year, we have planned to host two hospitality events each month. One through which we will seek to reach out to neighbors, international students or unsaved friends. The second occasion will be to continue to build relationships with people in the body. We like to host these occasions on Sunday evenings over waffles or another simple dinner (homemade pizza is another easy favorite!). Making a purposeful plan for me is essential for practicing hospitality otherwise it will not happen. Every family will be different but we can each encourage one another to take the first steps towards planning to incorporate hospitality into our schedules.

I am also challenged to season all my planning with prayer, involving my husband in the process. I want his oversight and leadership to direct our conversation with our guests in order that it might be most honoring to the Lord and edifying for our company. We will begin to use more thought provoking directed questions to lead in this conversation. The authors provided an excellent list for conversation starters, but we have also found this list to be helpful no matter what time of the year. As described above, I have also written a basic household cleaning schedule to keep organized in this season of my life (two little ones soon!). I am not concerned with in-depth, extensive cleaning, but rather basic maintenance. These are just some basic steps I will be taking as a result of this chapter. What about you?

May I end with this final reminder and challenge: Remember the purpose of hospitality is to model God’s love to people. Believers are motivated to love others because God first loved them (1 John 4:19). Management is merely a tool in the process of practicing hospitality.”


We will con­tinue this book next time, Monday, March 8, with chap­ter 5: Hos­pi­tal­ity and Your Home.


I am inter­ested in hear­ing what you took away from this chap­ter. Feel free to post com­ments below or write your thoughts on your blog (and come back and post the link in the com­ments). No need to share any­thing pro­found, just what­ever stood out to you. Here are a few ques­tions to get you started:

1. How can you become a planner of generosity?

2. How can you begin to change your perspective to view household management with an eternal purpose?

3. What tips might you have to help maintain a more orderly and prepared home?

Stay tuned for an upcoming Titus 2 Talk panel discussion expanding further on the topic of hospitality with some lovely godly women. My sister has also written an excellent post on practicing hospitality as a single woman. Coming later this week!

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of four, homemaker, and writer. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

11 Responses to Practicing Hospitality: Chapter 4

  1. Aja March 3, 2009 at 11:57 am #

    I loved this chapter! Here are my thoughts:

  2. Bethany Hudson March 3, 2009 at 11:12 am #

    How funny! I’ve done lighting a candle and I’ve held a piece of bread in my mouth, but I’d never even heard of this trick before.

  3. Jessica March 3, 2009 at 8:01 am #

    My thoughts on the chapter:

    I’m really enjoying this book!

  4. Ashley Wells March 2, 2009 at 10:57 pm #

    This chapter was so great, full of information, and practical!!! I discussed it on my blog here


  5. Lisa March 2, 2009 at 8:02 pm #

    I’m really enjoying this book, and something that stood out to me from this chapter is how different Biblical hospitality is from merely entertaining. Hospitality is purposeful, and as the chapter points out, it’s really a lifestyle and attitude that will reflect itself in specific hospitality events and opportunities. I especially appreciated the section on meaningful conversation, because I struggle in that area.

  6. Cathy March 2, 2009 at 5:44 pm #

    Great topic. I want to endeavor to be ready to be hospitable at a moment’s notice. It’s a challenge for one so distractible as myself, but I don’t want to give up on my goal. Thanks for all your lovely posts.

  7. Genelle March 2, 2009 at 2:36 pm #

    Thank you so much for this fantastic outline. I feel like I just needed a PLAN to get my home on track and ready to be a revolving door of hospitality, and you gave me just that! A PLAN!!!! I’m so excited!!! Thank you for the ministry of this website. It is such a blessing to me!!!

  8. Jessica March 2, 2009 at 12:50 pm #

    I haven’t read the book, but I just found your blog and enjoyed this post!!
    We try to live hospitality as a life style (love that quote!!) and one of the things I have found helpful is keeping cookie dough in the freezer. That way when someone comes over I just take out the pre-formed frozen cookies, pop them in the oven and 18 minutes later there are hot cookies.
    I also always have a meal and bread in the freezer that can easily be popped into the oven for the unplanned/last minute company.

  9. Lynn F March 2, 2009 at 12:28 pm #

    Hi Lindsay!

    Thanks for the wonderful blog. I learn so much from you each time I read it. I have especially enjoyed the latest book study you are doing (although I’m not participating) and will look at the library to secure a copy of this book. Blessings to you and your family!


  10. Valerie March 2, 2009 at 11:54 am #

    What a wonderful series! I try to imagine what my family would feel like if they came home after a stressful day to a spiritually-devoid, messy house with no food. If I were in their shoes I know I would thrive much better in a home where people are being taken care of – physically, emotionally and spiritually. There are so many assaults on today’s family; I believe this material like this can really effect change in homes.

  11. Arianna March 2, 2009 at 10:09 am #

    I have been reading your review on this book so far and have found this one most helpful. It is a challenge to keep things up to “guest worthy” appearance at all time, but I find it easier when orderliness is the goal and not perfection!