The irony of reading the book “The Simplest Way to Change the World” while I prepped wings for my crew on Super Bowl Sunday was not lost on me.
We used to host Super Bowl parties. We didn’t let newborns or toddlers keep us from inviting over our neighbors for big bowls of chili, football food, and watching the big game.
As I walked our dog, Heidi, with my husband on Sunday afternoon during a break in the food prep, I lamented that we really should have invited someone – anyone – over to watch the game. We have no excuse. God has blessed us with plenty of space in our house. Our boys are self-sufficient teenagers (for the most part). I have more than enough slower cookers and spoon rests.
As God reminded me thru the book I was reviewing for today’s post, we were failing to use our home for ministry and outreach.
I used to be quite good at it. Fellowships for our Sunday school class – check! Back to school ice cream social with our neighbors – check! Christmas coffee – check! Hosting Youth for DNOW – check!
Something happened during our last two moves. We were in rental for a year. Knowing our stay was temporary I intentionally connected with few of our neighbors. (Not saying that was the right thing to do.) Then when we moved into a large (almost 4000 homes) neighborhood with almost weekly events and activities I wrongly assumed we’d participate. We haven’t. I assumed our street would have block parties and such – they did, but it stopped over 4 year ago when the family that organized them stopped organizing.
Thing is, these are just excuses for our disobedience. We haven’t loved our neighbors. Oh, we wave and we’re “nice”, but we rarely make an effort to have conversation and to take our relationship with them to another level.
Dustin Willis and Brandon Clements, the co-authors of “The Simplest Way to Change the World” get it. They’ve been guilty of the grab the mail – wave – dash back inside routine so many of us have fallen into.
Their book, which points out in the subtitle that “Biblical hospitality is a way of life”, is one you need to add to your “must read” list.
The book, which includes a 6 week group study guide, is divided into two parts.
The first half of the book deals with “The Potential”. In the very first chapter the authors quickly reveal that “The secret weapon for gospel advancement is hospitality, and you can practice it whether you live in a house, an apartment, a dorm, or a high-rise.” So throw your excuses with mine straight out the window!
God didn’t waste much time and called me out on page 23 – “Too many of us mistakenly thing that in order for something to be significant, it has to be big, different, drastic, or extraordinary.” I am so guilty of this. I love to plan events. My excuses for not inviting my neighbors over were being dismantled chapter by chapter, scripture verse by scripture verse.
When we are cold, separated, and distant from those around us, we communicate that God is cold, separate, and distant. When we are warm, loving, and gracious, put the gospel on display. This type of hospitality, which testifies to the character of our God, has always been a hallmark of God’s people. – The Simplest Way to Change the World
The second half of the book, titled “The Plan”, upends our weak excuses and presents practical ideas and answers the question of how to show Biblical hospitality.
And for those, like me, that are fine with hosting an event but shudder to think about the responsibility of sharing the gospel and fear our neighbors will never return, Willis and Clements, address those worries and fears too.
It’s not about calculating a plan of attack to save lost souls. “As you gather with people over food and drink that replenish your physical needs, you will often hear about what others think meet their spiritual needs.” If we listen well, God will allow us to hear and see where our neighbors place their hope – whether it be money, job, other gods, etc. We know where our hope comes from and can share it. Not like a back-door multilevel marketing pitch, but from a place of sincerity and concern for another.
Imagine what would happen if more of God’s people would embrace the call to Biblical hospitality.
How would that change your neighborhood? How would that impact your community? How could it change families for eternity?!
I don’t often purchase books for others (people are busy enough and I’d rather they read the Bible in all honesty), but this is a book I’ll be sharing with several people I know. My pastor and Sunday school teachers are on that list. It’s one I will recommend our Women’s Ministry Bible Study Review Team consider.
If your small group, Bible study group, or Sunday school class is looking for material check this book out! The chapters are easy-to-read, yet filled with scripture and information that will promote great discussion. The back of the book even contains a guide to help your group facilitators. Each chapter ends with several questions to consider. Those folks, like me, who like to write out their answers to prepare for the discussion can do so.
Now more than ever, our neighbors need the hope that only comes from a life lived with Jesus.
In a world that seems to increase in darkness, we are called to be a light! “The Simplest Way to Change the World” will equip you and challenge you to step up, walk in obedience, and partner with God to do just that!
Disclaimer: I am a member of the launch team for “The Simplest Way to Change the World”. I received a copy of this book to review for free and did not receive any monetary compensation. All opinions presented are 100% mine.