Scripture clearly calls us to care for others—to open our doors to those in need. So, would you consider that ministry or just genuine hospitality? Or both? Isn’t that for people with spacious homes and plenty of time on their hands? Read on to learn what Tony Merida, pastor of Imago Dei Church, has to say about this:
Opening your door means that there is something inside worth inviting someone in to see and experience. Opening your door means that you don’t desire to keep it all for yourself but that sharing with others is a priority. True hospitality isn’t only sharing with others who are like you, but also with others who need you.
How might you open your doors?
Foster care: On any given day there are as many as 450,000 children in the American foster care system. Many of those are waiting to be adopted. It is not uncommon for a child to travel through five different homes and foster families. Each year thousands of children in the foster care system will turn 18 and age out of the system with a $500 check in hand to start their adult lives.
Aftercare: When girls are rescued from sex trafficking, can you imagine the shame and brokenness they feel? What do they need? Aftercare ministries help girls transition out of their lives as slaves and into healthy communities.
Transitional assistance: These programs assist kids who age out of foster care or children in a developing country who age out of orphanages. There are similar programs for rehabilitated prisoners and even rescued slaves. More than providing homes and jobs, education and resources are essential for people in these types of life transitions.
Hosting internationals: Some reports indicate that as many as 500,000 international students spend time in the United States. Those same reports indicate that as many as 80 percent never set foot in an American home. There are also agencies working diligently to provide education and resources for refugees who flee their countries to seek asylum in the U.S.
The elderly: The population of adults in America 65 years of age and older is dramatically increasing. Projected growth indicates that the number of seniors in the U.S. will almost double by 2030. That means a greater emphasis must be placed on caring for older adults.
Local law enforcement: This is an underserved population of civic workers. By discovering ways to encourage, host, pray for, and invest in local law enforcement, you also position yourself to be on the front lines of learning about justice-related needs in your community.
Opening your doors can be a literal opportunity for someone to come into your home, spend time with you, and even stay with you. The purpose is to meet appropriate needs and minister to them in a way that represents well the love and grace of Jesus Christ. Opening your doors can also be a very figurative opportunity signifying the intentional ways God is calling you to remove barriers, offer assistance, and open up your life to vulnerable people in your area and around the world.
Opening your doors is a symbol of Christlike hospitality when you open them up to people Christ sought hard to reach. Remember, it isn’t the healthy that need a doctor, but the sick.
Ready to open your doors? Check out Tony Merida’s new book and small group resource, Ordinary.
Excerpted from Ordinary. © 2014 Tony Merida. Published by LifeWay Press®. Used by permission.