Team Series: Hospitality by Gena McCown
Hospitality is probably one of the most beautiful words in the English language, especially if you are a Southern Girl. Hospitality smells of fresh brewed coffee on the other side of an unlocked door, where the mat says “Always Welcome”. It reminds me of a time where friends just stopped by to shoot the breeze, and inviting people into our home was a regular occurrence. Women gathered around the kitchen table or in the livingroom, bibles open and snacking on homemade lemon bars. Sweet Tea on the back porch as we prayed over each other. My Great Aunt’s perfumed powder wafting across the nose of every woman she greeted with a hug as they crossed her threshold.
Hospitality is what makes us feel welcomed into a space, warm and relaxed… at home.
There are some women who are simply PRONE to hospitality, it is their genetic code. They will look for ways to invite people into their home. Quick to volunteer to host a luncheon or meeting. There will always been enough food, and drinks. The bathroom will smell of fresh dried lavender. There will be a chocolate mint on every pillow at the retreat center. She lives to make people feel special, and loved.
This woman is important to your Women’s Ministry, this is a role to be on your top priority to fill. Why?
Hospitality Leaders are:
- Women of influence. Typically if they go to an event, they bring and encourage others to come too. My Pastor’s wife calls them “connectors”.
- Genuinely are excited to see every woman who enters the room, and make it a point of meeting the new faces.
- Generous with their homes and time.
- Quick to organize meals for the sick, new moms, new families, etc.
- Find joy in the details of their tasks.
- Have vast amounts of knowledge when it comes to finding locations for events from luncheons to weekend long retreats.
- Are usually effective event planners, or at least great on event teams.
- They have an eye for femininity that pragmatic leaders tend to lack, but those attending our events will appreciate.
Their Role in Ministry:
- Event Planning Leader/Team – brunches, luncheons, retreats, teas, etc.
- Meals Ministry Leader/Team – sick, new mom, etc.
- Welcoming Committee Leader/Team – how do we welcome new women to our church?
- Hosting Team Meetings or planning meetings (even if they are on the team)
A note of caution, women who have the gift of hospitality are often creative types. Which means for events like retreats, you may do best to pair them with an A type personality. One is in charge of the schedule, finding the speakers, planning the technical side of the event; the other is responsible for the meals, special touches, speaker gifts, etc. It is important to know your women, their gifts and strengths… as well as their weaknesses. Occasionally you have the blessing of a woman with the gift of hospitality and administration, and she’s the gal whom you can give the whole task and trust she’ll get it done.
Women with the gift of hospitality are also typically generous and will have beautiful ideas to make women feel special and welcomed at events. However, these special touches can impact your event budgets. It is important to be clear with your hospitality leader the budget she has for her tasks. I have known many of these women who would be happy to pay out of their own pockets to make up the difference, but I do generally ask them not to. Simply because we need to keep up a budget that all team members present and future can work with. If she supplements her budget, out of pocket, yes the event will be magnificent… but it may be hard for a future leader who replaces her to do the same. Encourage these women to do the best they can within the agreed budget, but don’t be surprised if they “gift” a thing or two over time.