Hospitality furnishes family. In this broken world of ours, the poor, the stranger, and the widow often live in isolation. When elders provide hospitality to folks such as these, they learn that they are truly regarded as brothers and sisters in God’s house.
All Christians are to practice hospitality (Heb. 13:2). But elders are to be so engaged in this practice that it characterizes them (1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:8). In so many words, Paul told Timothy and Titus that elders not only need to go and seek God’s sheep; they also need to bring them into the fold of the shepherd’s home.
At least three benefits come to the congregation when its pastors and elders open their homes to the flock. First, hospitality supplies experiential love. An elder’s having members of the congregation in his home demonstrates a special care for them. You learn about one another in ways that simply are not possible at Sunday morning worship. Sharing a meal and laughter around a table brings a needed warmth to the gospel that is preached in the church. Shepherds are testifying to their congregants that the true Shepherd loves them so much that He is preparing an eternal home for them (Ps. 23:1, 5).
Second, hospitality provides Christian modeling. In my years of pastoral experience, I am grateful that I have served alongside elders who are hospitable. Many of the people brought into our congregation by the gospel did not come from Christian homes.