Make your home a center for discipleship and ministry

We began by considering the biblical instruction related to topics such as hospitality, loving our neighbor, marriage, and even serving. We’ve discovered that an authentic effort of obedience to these teachings makes it impossible for our home to simply be a building of bricks and mortar.

This article courtesy of HomeLife magazine.

If you were to sit with my family on our patio, your view wouldn't be anything spectacular. You'd see the wooden play set in the backyard and the rear of our 50-year-old restored house. You could peek around the corner and notice a reasonably manicured front lawn that features scores of large trees and a circular driveway that needs repaving. On the inside of the house, you'd find hardwood floors, some new things, some antiques, and everything in between - including way too many toys. It's not overly large, but it's perfect for our growing family.

Somewhere along the way, though, it became more than a house to us. Instead, it truly became our home. And there's power in our home.

Of course, most homes have power these days, you may be thinking as you read that last statement. But I'm not speaking of an electrical current that runs through the wiring and outlets of our home. Instead, the power is found in what happens in and around our home. My wife, Carrie, and I have made a conscious decision to embrace all that we feel God desires the home to be. We're trying something that oddly feels counter-cultural. In fact, we're on a crusade to do it.

What we do

Our efforts aren't terribly complicated. In short, we believe the home should be a primary hub for our personal spiritual growth. In addition, we work hard to make it the central environment for our family's development. We also believe our home should be an extension of our local church. And we're committed to making our home a platform for missional living.

Not too complicated, right? We don't think so. But, to be clear, the power isn't in these principles. The power is found in what God does within it all.

I think of countless small-group gatherings in our home where God has bonded together His people in biblical community. I think of the peaceful, quiet moments I have with the Lord in the mornings before the rest of my family wakes. I think of nearly every Sunday afternoon when 15 to 20 college students and young adults eat lunch with us and have Bible study after church.

I think of the relationship we have with Ms. Pate, our widowed elderly neighbor. I think of how our 4-year-old son, Hayden, loves it when Tom from next door greets him with "Hey, neighbor!" I think of how comforting it is to be home after a long day or travel for work. I think of the many important late-night conversations I've had with Carrie in the den about our relationship, parenting, and life in general.

And I think of all the other random stuff — Easter egg hunts, neighborhood walks, and talking to solicitors who always seem to show up at the worst possible times.

The list could go on and on. But our family hasn't opened our home to check off some bragging list. Instead, we're doing it because it makes sense. And the reason we think it makes sense is because we believe it honors God. On top of that, we see that He's working in it. Both Carrie and I believe that our most fruitful ministry is currently done within the confines of our home or its immediate proximity.

Why we do it

Even outside of our own experiences, we believe there are several other reasons why the home is so important. We began by considering the biblical instruction related to topics such as hospitality, loving our neighbor, marriage, and even serving. We've discovered that an authentic effort of obedience to these teachings makes it impossible for our home to simply be a building of bricks and mortar.

In addition, when we look at God's call to live generously, it's difficult to avoid how we're stewarding our biggest financial asset. Often we consider exclusively what God might want us to give up. Yet, we're also trying to focus on how we should use what He wants us to keep - including our home.

Let's be frank. The trend is that fewer and fewer churches are building multimillion-dollar educational spaces for adults. Even if churches wanted to, the economy would likely dampen such efforts. As a result, a large portion of many churches' discipleship and fellowship gatherings are now occurring in the homes of their church members. Plus, trends seem to indicate that evangelism will be best received in this context.

And, finally, it's hard to overlook the cultural need for so many things that can be found in a Christ-centered, missional home. Both Christians and non-Christians alike find themselves in search of safe environments, meaningful relationships, practical life skills, and positive examples.

The "why" is obvious. But often we get too bogged down with the "how." We focus so much on everything being perfect and planned that we never get around to doing anything. So why not just get started? The focus isn't on formality but more on intentionality. Take the leap. Join the crusade to bring back the power of the home.

Jason Hayes is the pastor of Shoreline Church in Knoxville, Tenn., and author of Blemished and Follow Me. He is also co-author of Lost and Found.