How to be a Great Host?

by Randall Neighbour

One would assume that providing a clean home, refreshments, a comfortable room free of offending smells and distractions, and enough chairs so everyone can sit in a circle are the basics for a successful cell meeting. But you’d be wrong.

Kristen, a relatively new group member, invited us to meet at her apartment after we asked the group if we could move the meeting away from our home because we were renovating the front part of the house. She lived in an old home converted into apartments in a rough part of Houston. When we arrived, she was really happy we agreed to meet at her place and she gave everyone a big hug when we walked into her tiny living room.

Then we looked around. Not one chair was to be found, and there were two ratty pillows for twelve of us to fight over. We sat on a dirty hardwood floor, and just as we began to sing, Kristen’s roommate came out of her bedroom and told us to keep the noise down because she was watching TV in her room. We obliged, but our presence didn’t stop her from sparking up a hash pipe repeatedly over the course of the next two hours.

Was Kristen a good host? Nope. She didn’t sweep the floor. She didn’t tell her roommate she was having a Bible study that night. She didn’t wash the dishes piled up in the sink. She didn’t even have a clean glass so I could drink some tap water. And, we were all distracted by the mouse that ran across the hall during prayer time, who was probably run out of the bedroom because of all the marijuana fumes!

Yet this night—in this horrible place with someone who didn’t have the gift of hospitality or the first clue about hosting—we experienced the presence of Christ in a way that we’d never enjoyed before. Kristen invited two of her unsaved friends, who showed up because it was at her place. During ministry time, both shared deep needs. Kristen laid hands on them and God gave her a prophetic word for each of them, which is something she had no idea she was capable of doing. Both accepted Christ that night, and you know what? I forgot all about the fact that my tailbone was screaming at me because I gave a pregnant lady in our group my pillow!

Other guest bloggers can speak to what being a good or bad host looks like. Frankly, I don’t care any more. I just want to see Christ’s presence, power, and purposes manifested in such capacities that people remember they experienced God that night and the focus wasn’t on the environment. To be sure, a clean home, refreshments, proper seating, and an attentive host is helpful. I just don’t think we should spend an inordinate amount of time or energy on hosting when we should be focused on Christ in our midst.