Hospitality as a single can be surprising. I find that people in the church are often surprised to see a single person practicing hospitality. I’ve never understood why. Last I checked, the biblical imperatives to show hospitality don’t exempt single people (Romans 12:13; Hebrews 13:2).
Hospitality—a concrete expression of loving one’s neighbor—involves inviting others into one’s life. While the form of hospitality can vary among contexts, it often involves the opening of one’s home and the sharing of food. There is no reason why these actions should be reserved only for the married. Yes, hospitality as a single person does come with unique challenges, but the challenges are not insurmountable. In this article, I’m going to give you a rapid-fire run down of how single people can overcome common obstacles to showing hospitality.
Overcoming Obstacles to Hospitality as a Single
-I don’t know who to invite.
Pull out your church directory. Scan through the names. Find someone you think might be lonely, and invite them over.
-People turn down my invitations.
Are you giving adequate notice? Families don’t operate on college-student schedules. Invite them 1-2 weeks in advance. If someone turns down the invitation, ask if they’d enjoy coming over in the future. Ask what day of the week might be good for them. Invite them again. And again if you need to. I’ve had multiple busy (but fellowship-hungry) people thank me for my persistent invitations.
-Practicing hospitality as a single person can be awkward. Things will feel lopsided if I invite a married couple or family.
You can set the tone to decrease the awkwardness. How? Shift your focus from yourself to your guests. What might they be feeling? What do they need to feel at home? What can you say or do to make them feel welcome? If/when it’s still awkward, love through the awkward.
-Kids will be bored.
I’ve invested in a small collection of toys. Sometimes kids also bring toys from home. My heart was warmed last week when a child in my congregation asked: “Miss Rachel, can I come over to your house soon?” Apparently, it’s possible for kids to enjoy coming over to the home of a single person! (As an aside, I also think it’s fitting for children to see what the life of a God-honoring single person can look like).
-Married people should take the initiative in hospitality.
This just isn’t true. Single saint, you are just as much a member of your church and your society as a married person is.