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Part 6: Hospitality in a Connect Group

Over the years, we can do so many things that will make hosting people in our homes so much easier. Now, the venue where you meet has absolutely no impact on the success of your Connect group. If we look at Jesus, he met on seashores, mountainsides, temple courts, and people’s homes; he spoke to people in the streets; he connected with people in so many different venues. It doesn’t matter whether you’re in a classroom, a common room, a shack, a home, or wherever you might be. God has such wonderful plans for your connect groups. Here are a few thoughts on hosting people in our home:



The first thing that I’d love us to give some thought to and that I have often forgotten is parking. Some people may have arrived at your Connect Groups either by walking or riding bikes. But for those of you who have people that arrive in cars and motorbikes to connect groups, please do give thought to parking. Sometimes we are so used to parking in our homes and in our driveways that we give it no thought to where others may park. But for some people, your driveway may only have three parking options. So whether people are parking on the street or parking in an area where other people are also allocated parking, think through it to make it easier. Think to yourself, “Is there enough parking?” “Do I maybe need to go outside and be with the people just to direct them!” Perhaps get someone in your Connect Group to come early to help direct people to park so that they feel confident and they feel secure.  


There’s one guy in our site in Durban who lives in a multi-storey complex, and it’s very confusing to know where to go, but there were loads of visitors parking. So what he did was he got drone footage of the place where he lived. And he highlighted all the different visitor parking areas for people to park. He put it on his WhatsApp chat, and he said, “We can’t wait to have it tonight; these are all your options come ready.” And they have a connect group of over 20 people every single week. They meet in a complex, but there is a parking space for all of them. They feel secure and it’s easy for them to find their way. 


Think about the lighting of your parking lots; if it’s very dark, people can feel unsafe and seem very unfriendly. Put someone up with a spotlight if you can’t put up more lighting, have someone else with the torch to welcome people. It has such a big impact on their first impression. 


Think through what people are walking into

The third thing that I want to consider is what people are actually walking into when they get to your venue. I always like to think of all the different sensors; it just covers all the ground and makes it so easy. So think through what is the first thing people see when they enter your home. My children have full-on into sport; they’re coming home late, having to eat supper, and getting home we’ve done all of that is going on within minutes of people arriving at our home for connect group. But I’ve got to give thought to that. If people arrive at my home and there are rugby socks on the floor. There’s homework on the table, and half-eaten plates of food are lying in my kitchen. It may look like they actually disturbing me and that I’m not really ready for them to come to my home. So I often did everything in my kid’s bedroom on those nights. I’ll feed them in the bedroom; we’ll do homework in the bedroom so that when people walk into my home, it looks like there’s some sort of order. What does your home look like when people come in? 


The second thing is, what do people smell when they come into your home? Such a silly thing, but you might be so used to the smell of wet dogs or wet rugby socks, in my case. It’s smelly, boys. I need to make sure my home smells good. Sometimes I say to the kids get the air freshener and run around just spray this place smells disgusting. Open the windows and give thought to that because we might be used to it, but other people are trading night, and it can be so off-putting to walk into a home where all they can smell is smelly shoes. On that note, something that I always forget to do. 


Check the bathroom. It’s such a practical thing. Check that the toilet is flushed, that it’s smelling nice, that you’ve got toilet paper, and that your kids haven’t left dirty rings in the bath. Just make sure that your home looks and smells great. 


Put on some music

Think through what people hear when they walk into your home. I’ve got to make sure that I’m not shouting orders. We want to make sure we put on some beautiful music. We want the home to sound inviting. So put on something beautiful in the background. It takes two minutes, but make sure it’s on; it really does change the environment that people walk into. 


Set up your home

My day is often too busy for me to set up my home when I get home. On my Connect Group days, I wake up slightly earlier, and we set up the lounge, teas and coffees to ensure it’s all done. It may take 15 minutes, but at least it’s done. We don’t have to do it at the end of the day when we are scrambling. 


Before Connect Group, forecast and think about how many people are coming. Who do you need to prepare for? Get your seats ready and put your chairs out in place. If people are arriving, you’re like, “Oh my gosh, we run out of chairs!” – It makes them feel like “, I hope it’s fine that we’re here?!” Make sure there are enough seats for everybody. 


Think through people’s specific circumstances.

The last thing we should consider is people’s specific circumstances. If people are coming to your Connect Group, and one is bringing a friend in a wheelchair, consider that. Do you have easy access? Consider people who bring children. Are we ready for them? If people bring kids to my home? I’ll always send them a message beforehand. What do your kids want to do? Well, you want to put them to sleep? Or when should we put a movie on for them? We may chip together as a connect group and hire a babysitter for the night if it’s an older kid who can look after them. If you don’t give it any thought, you’re going to be caught. Think of safety, such as your pool and balconies. 


Another thing to consider is animals. Many of us are animal lovers, and we don’t mind dogs jumping up on us or cats lying all over us. But for some people, they are absolutely petrified of animals. So if you do have animals all over your home, maybe on that night, put them in the backyard and for those few hours of Connect Group. 


We are not looking for perfect homes. It’s not about having THE home. That is Martha Stewart perfect. But it’s just showing people intentionality. If Jesus was coming to our home, what would we do? We would make sure that we were ready! When we have Connect Group, we need to ensure that we understand the privilege of having people in our home to talk about Jesus. Let us prepare for them. Let us honour their time, honour them, and get our venues ready. 


My last thought is the famous Mary and Martha story. Mary prays, sitting at Jesus’ feet. She wanted to hear his heart. She wanted to worship Him. Martha, we often look at it and think oh, what are you doing, Martha preparing your home instead of sitting at Jesus’ feet. Martha was doing what was right. She was preparing for Jesus; she was preparing for the people. The problem was she chose the wrong time; she should have prepared that stuff so she could have sat at Jesus’ feet. When Connect Group, it’s not the time for us to put out the coffee cups. It’s not the time for us to be cleaning our counters. It’s not the time for us to chat with our kids to jump in the bath, and get the homework done… When we invite people into our homes and we are ready and prepared, then we can be like Mary and serve them with love. We can sit at the feet of Jesus, and we can receive on those evenings. So I just want to encourage you in the same way that we serve God with all our hearts and strength. Let us open our homes and prepare them as if the King of Kings was coming home. Every single time we host the Connect group. All the best, and enjoy it. It is such a joy and a privilege.