Summer vacation means time to host family, friends, and even strangers. But, are you adequately prepared to not just host, but also share The Gospel message with people who come to your house?
It is a daunting task to get everything ready for your guests. First, you have to clean out the guest room that turned into a "storage" location during the winter months.
You also need to assemble a welcome basket of bottled water, an extra toothbrush, travel-size toiletry items, a few snacks, and a towel. You might even write down the WiFi password for easy access to your home network.
Another key item to include are copies of the Gospel of John booklets that you have previously ordered through The Pocket Testament League. This is a great way to start conversation with guests. It will also show your heart behind hosting this summer.
Being a great Christian host is not just about taking care of logistics and basic needs. It's about caring for the actual person or people who enter your home. You could say that it's knowing how to host like Jesus.
Family Evangelism Tip #1 - Show Compassion and Care
Jesus introduced the parable of the Good Samaritan to help his audience go beyond knowing the law to the heart of being a Christ follower.
In the famous parable, the Samaritan not only took pity on the injured man, but he took action, addressed his needs, and paid for his expenses at the inn.
To host like Jesus, we have to be more than just the "innkeeper" in the story. Opening our home for a few days or weeks is a noble gesture, but how can you impact someone for eternity if you do not share the Gospel?
The Samaritan did not just take pity before moving along. He took action and tended to the injured man's mind, body, and soul. He showed compassion and care, like Jesus coming to earth to save us.
Consider this amazing story from PTL member Scott S. of Dallas, Texas, to inspire your summer hosting approach:
"Recently my 75-year-old father came into a relationship with Jesus! He has had major heart issues including a recent insertion of a pacemaker. After he told me he'd accepted Christ, I wanted to give him a Gospel of John to read. After searching my briefcase, truck, pockets, etc., I finally found one pocket testament. On the cover of the Gospel of John was an image of doctor scrubs with a stethoscope. It said, 'A Story for Your Heart!' Is God good or what?"
Caring for the physical needs of family members, friends, and strangers should not be the end of our hosting duties. It should be the beginning by also caring for their spiritual needs reaching their hearts with the Gospel message.
Family Evangelism Tip #2 - What is Mine is Yours
It can be difficult to share your home with another person or family. After all, we have our routines and ways of doing things that suddenly have to be put on hold to be a good host.
We don't want to act like the guests are an inconvenience, but it is easy to fall into that mindset, especially if hosting people for long periods of time over the summer.
But, Jesus showed us how to host with the right mindset by focusing on the spiritual needs of those placed in our care.
John Ch. 17 records Jesus praying for His disciples before being arrested and ultimately sent to the cross to die for our sins. Jesus specifically thanked God for placing the Disciples in his care while on earth:
John 17:9-10: "I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them."
Hosting like Jesus this summer requires an appreciation for the guests who God has placed in your care. It means being grateful for an opportunity to share the Gospel message with a friend, family member, or stranger as part of a divine appointment.
This means making your home their home - and doing so with an attitude of thankfulness.
Family Evangelism Tip #3 - Follow Through
The hosting experience should not stop with the initial visit. If you have embraced the opportunity to share The Gospel with your guests, then you might receive a curious email or phone call wanting to know more about being a Christ follower.
Follow-through is just as important as the actual hosting opportunity this summer.
How did Jesus exemplify this? He continued to care for the spiritual needs of His disciples after his initial ministry.
During the Last Supper, Jesus famously gave his disciples the following message, as recorded in John Ch. 14:2-4: "In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going."
Jesus' earthly ministry was not limited to sharing some truths, performing a few miracles, and challenging the legal authorities. He told His disciples that he was following through to prepare a home for them. And, the message applies to us as believers in Christ.
Consider this amazing story of witnessing to a family member - without even realizing it - from PTL member Scott C. in Long Beach, California:
"In early April, I was witnessing in downtown Long Beach. I was walking down the streets praying when I had a thought to talk to teenagers. I saw one crowd of students, but I saw that they were being a bit obnoxious as I was walking up to them, so I avoided them. As I avoided them, I saw five girls sitting on the stairs. I prayed, 'Lord, do I go talk to them or not?' I thought no since I'm male and they are teenage girls. Also, I am terrified to talk to a group of people. I walked away, but God said go back and talk to them. I sighed and said, 'Okay, God.'
"So I went and nervously asked how they were doing and asked if they heard of the Gospel. They said no and were willing to listen. To my surprise, they were really receptive. As it got late, I asked them if I could pray for them, and they said yes. I then asked for their names. Their names were Erica, Jada, April, Julie, and the last girl said Chom. I thought to myself, 'That's my sister's name.' So, I looked at her a second time and standing before me was my own half sister! I got to witness to my own half sister and her friends!
"I was blown away because I don't see her often and was talking to her friends the whole time, so I did not recognize her. This began my journey of witnessing. And, I gave four Gospel of John booklets to them. Praise God, glory to Him. I want to start sharing more of the Gospels of John because it does have power to change lives!"
Family Evangelism Summer Hosting Challenge
Are you ready for your summer hosting challenge? Be prepared to not just provide a room this summer, but host like Jesus by showing care and compassion, making yours theirs, and following through on tending to your guests' spiritual needs.
If you do not feel adequately prepared to evangelize or have that spiritual conversation with friends, family, or strangers, then we have a tool that you should consider.
PTL's Evangelism Boot Camp is a 7-lesson, self-paced course that helps Christians learn how to share the Gospel message. This course offers evangelistic training to learn how to witness through regular conversations with people who God places in your life.
Make sure you are prepared to witness and host like Jesus this summer.