5 Myths About Hospitality That Can Keep You From Serving

5 Myths about Hospitality | IntentionalByGrace.com

This post is written by contributing writer, Jane from Devoted SONriser.

If you’re anything like me, you want to start practicing hospitality so that you can develop deeper friendships. But . . .

You’re also completely intimidated by the idea of hospitality.

That is, the idea that you have to:

  1. Get your house fixed up perfectly.
  2. Have extra money to blow.
  3. Be able to cook an awesome meal.
  4. Wait for Christmas or the Fourth of July to come along.
  5. Wait for your schedule to clear up and be stress-free.

Let’s just stop right there.

That list of expectations may seem silly to some of you, as it should. Nevertheless, many of us get stuck believing that these are things we have to be able to do in order to extend hospitality.

Thankfully for all of us, these expectations are myths.

Not only are these preconceived notions about what hospitality has to look like false, they can also be extremely harmful to the Church, because they can prevent us from extending fellowship and sincere love to each other.

Take a look at these five common myths about hospitality and consider if any of them have been keeping you from serving others through hospitality.

5 Myths About Hospitality | IntentionalByGrace.com


Myth #1: You have to have a perfect home to practice hospitality.

Ah, the perfect home myth.

We’ve all seen and pinned those pictures of perfect homes.

They’re spotless, they’re color-coordinated, and they have plenty of plush, comfortable furniture.

But what if you’re like me and your home is not spotless or color-coordinated, and you don’t have very comfortable furniture?

We might look at our homes and think, “This is embarrassing. This is not good enough for company. Hospitality is going to have to wait until I can buy a new living room set.”

But the truth is, your home doesn’t have to look like it came out of a magazine for you to practice hospitality.

Sure, it might not sound fun to let people see our imperfections. It’s humbling and it makes us a little vulnerable, but hear me out: Letting down your guard might not be such a bad thing.

You see, vulnerability is an icebreaker when it comes to building friendships. 

When you let people see your imperfections, it can make them more at ease around you and helps you focus on serving them rather than just trying to impress them (which is a little prideful).

True hospitality is about serving others, thinking of them more than yourself, and making them comfortable. Not necessarily the plush furniture type of comfort–but the kind that makes a person feel comfortable and welcomed in your presence.

Myth #2: Practicing hospitality is expensive.

Another myth that can keep us from serving is the idea that hospitality requires a lot of extra money.

First, there’s the food misconception: “Everyone expects pizza. We have to order pizza.”

Then, there’s the question of entertainment: “Honey, I think we need a grill for our hospitality this summer . . . And some patio furniture . . . And a pool . . . Make that a new deck with a pool . . .”

While it’s true that hospitality can be expensive (if you go all out), it certainly doesn’t have to be!

5 Myths about Hospitality | IntentionalByGrace.com

Cheap Hospitality Food

If you’re handy in the kitchen, you could make your own homemade pizza for a fraction of what it would cost for delivery.

Other cheap meal solutions include:

Cheap, Fun Entertainment Ideas

As far as cheap entertainment goes, you can’t beat party games. You can go and buy a new game, which will soon pay for itself in entertainment, or just ask your guests to bring whatever games they have already. TabooApples to Apples, and Would You Rather . . . ? are real crowd-pleasers as well as mystery games likes Crack the Case (which is my personal favorite!).

Also, when it comes to entertainment, think of the things that you already have available. Do you have a big yard in the country? You could have a bonfire and roast marshmallows. Do you have a big T.V. with plenty of couch space? Invite a few couples over to watch a movie and make homemade popcorn.

With just a little brainstorming, you could have a long list of fun, cheap hospitality ideas in no time!

Myth #3: If you can’t cook, you can’t show hospitality.

“But I can’t cook  to save my life!” you might object.

If that’s you, take heart. Showing hospitality is not about showing off your amazing cooking skills. Food is just a detail anyway. The real goal of hospitality is about building relationships, remember?

So, if you’re not comfortable cooking–and if cooking might distract you from building relationships–then maybe you need to order that pizza . . . or pick up that bucket of chicken . . . or avoid meal times altogether! Who said hospitality has to involve food?

Some non-food hospitality ideas:

  • write a letter or call an old friend
  • invite people over to work on a craft or project (think scrapbooking or gingerbread house party)
  • play flag football
  • go for a walk
  • play games
  • visit someone who is sick or in the hospital
  • do a clothes swap or a toy swap, if you have kids
  • just chat
  • start a Bible study in your home

The list is truly endless! Don’t forget to check out one of Leigh Ann’s 20 ways to be intentional in your neighborhood!

Remember that people aren’t coming over just for your food, they’re coming over to connect with you.

5 Myths About Hospitality | IntentionalByGrace.com


Myth #4: You have to be celebrating a holiday.

“But Christmas is still six months away.” That’s another popular misconception about hospitality.

I know that it sometimes feels less awkward to invite people over for a Christmas party or a birthday party or for the Fourth of July, but you don’t have to wait for the next holiday to arrive to invite people over!

One of my favorite memories of receiving hospitality is when the entire college group would go over to a couple’s house every Wednesday night after church to play card games. There was no reason for doing this other than to hang out and fellowship with each other, and it quickly became a weekly tradition.

Someday, I’d like my home to be known as the place where people feel welcome to come regularly and fellowship with each other.

A place where my friends can come for a cup of coffee and a long chat whenever they need one.

A place where my kid’s friends can come over anytime.

No holiday or reason necessary–just friendship.

Myth #5: You have to be in the right season of life to extend hospitality.

This is the excuse that I’ve used a lot: “I’m not in the right season of life to be offering hospitality.”

I’m new in town or this church or this job. I don’t know very many people who I could even invite over.

Some of you might have young children, or you may work long hours during the week, or you might be super stressed out right now.

You might be thinking, “I’ll have more time for hospitality a few months from now.”

Be careful, because months can quickly turn into years and years can quickly turn into never.

If we just keep putting hospitality off for a better season, that better season may never come.

And the truth is, we all desperately need fellowship with other Christians in every season, especially in the harder seasons. Don’t just try to go it alone and deprive yourself of Christian support during those times.

What’s the point of hospitality?

“This is how God showed His love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” ~1 John 4:9-12

As Christians, fellowship and extending hospitality is one major way that we can love each other and share the grace and sacrifice that God has so freely extended to us.

So, when you read posts about hospitality, like this one and this one, I want to challenge you to start practicing today.

Don’t let these myths about hospitality stop you from serving, loving, and connecting with others.

Trust me, hospitality isn’t about being perfect and doing everything “just right.”

Ultimately, hospitality is about love.

Have you been intimidated by the idea of hospitality? What myth has been keeping you from serving? Share in the comments!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. Thank you for sharing, Jane. With changing work situations and times, moving to a new town and a baby on the way, I know that my husband and I are often guilty of the “wrong season of life” excuse! But we feel very called to hospitality, and love it when we make the effort. So thank you for the reminder. 🙂

    1. You’re very welcome, Claire! I can so relate. We’ve recently moved to a new town with new jobs too. It makes it so hard to just get started, doesn’t it? But deep down I know that hospitality is one of the best ways to truly get to know people, so I’m challenging myself to make the effort more as well!

  2. Hi. You really read my mail with this post. I have used every one. I want to be better. I thought that would have Bible studies at home, but I haven’t been able to “get over myself”. Thank you for writing this.

    1. Haha! I love your expression “read my mail!” And thanks so much for sharing, Brenda. I’ll admit, I’ve believed every excuse in this post too. Slow and steady, we’ll get there! I think the hardest part is just setting the date and inviting people for the first time. Once you start, it’ll feel more natural. God bless your Bible study when you start it!

  3. This is so hard for me. I get so stressed out to point I’ve cried at the party or gathering. I know some people have the gift of hospitality (in the bible), and I don’t have that. It’s so stressful, I’d rather not do it. I want to but when the event comes along, I’m so stressed I hate it. Maybe I’m just doing all those things above. Some people are so good at it, and me not so much. I have to almost hire people to help me so I don’t have a horrible time.

    1. Oh, Maggie! I think you are right. Some people do have the gift of hospitality. No doubt. I think each of us should pray and ask God what He has for us in regard to hospitality. I honestly think it’s going to look different for each of us. Just as I may not have the gift of teaching as my Pastor does, it doesn’t mean that I can’t teach. It does mean I have to adjust my expectations, not get in over my head, or just be honest that I’m learning along with whoever I”m teaching (like my kids, for example!). My teaching looks different than my Pastor’s teaching. My hospitality will look different than your hospitality. Each of us is unique. We have unique giftings and callings. That’s okay. So give yourself some grace and pray for God to show you what He has for you when it comes to loving your neighbors, friends, and family. I know He’ll show you. 🙂

    2. Maggie I am exactly the same way. I recently noticed one of my family members who I have always looked up to in the area of hospitality struggle to get a meal together. I realized that everybody struggles at some point with hosting and I relaxed a little. Reading this post helped me a lot also to see I am not alone in my struggle.

    3. Thanks so much for sharing, Maggie. I know how you feel–parties aren’t my favorite thing either (I’m such an introvert). But I really agree with what Leigh Ann said about giving yourself grace and lowering the expectations. I know I struggle with this as well! My advice is that if you do better one-on-one or with a few close friends (like I do), then just start out inviting one or two people over for something simple like coffee. Make it fit your own personality, so you’re not miserable the whole time. I hope that helps!

  4. I love this post. Thank you so much for sharing. Hospitality is such an amazing blessing and godly discipline. I’ve gotten over many of these myths in recent years and have seen the depth of fruit in my own life. Awesome.

  5. My husband loves to host big Christmas and smaller Superbowl parties for our friends, but I would love to invite people over more often in the summer/fall months – burgers & dogs on the grill with friends bringing a dish to pass and me baking a dessert, or even just roasting marshmallows for s’mores would be simple and perfect! Right now we only get to see some of our friends 1/2x/year, but the simple way would allow us to see friends more often and really be able to spend quality time with them instead of only having a few minutes to talk superficially at a big blowout. I will share this with him and see what he thinks! 😉

  6. I just recently began as an Independent Consultant for Mary & Martha a division of Dayspring. Our purpose is to help a generation of young women learn how to open their homes. Meaningful Entertaining…Made Simple. I’d love for everyone to visit my web page. You can link on it through my website. Every piece has a faith message. The point is not what you have, how you decorate, where you live etc… but simply to gather together for fellowship-to serve others, encourage others.

  7. Thank you for the reminder that hospitality is about serving, loving, and connecting. My mother always said, “it’s about the people, not the house.” but I have had great difficulty living this saying out. We have been unable to afford many things, including home repairs, but we are going to celebrate our son’s graduation at our home anyway. May our open hearts be noted at our open house. God bless you for sharing and encouraging!