I've been thinking about this discipline much lately and I found a cheap book at the Metro Life bookstore this weekend while I was there for the conference. I read it that afternoon at the Deland Public Library and over lunch at Steak N Shake. Don't worry - its not that long
The Hospitality Commands is written by Alexander Strauch who lives and does ministry within his church in CO. This is a book written in 1993, but applicable for every generation, just using different methodologies.
I thought of a few people in my life while reading this book: Rach, the Beelers, and the Robshaws. They are the role models for me in this.
This book talks about the command from Scripture that we are to practice hospitality. It isn't a suggestion.
"We need to show the rich blessings that await all who practice hospitality. We need a fresh vision of hospitality's potential for strengthening our churches and for reaching our neighbors and friends with the gospel."
"A cold, unfriendly church contradicts the gospel message. Yet, unfriendliness stands out as one of the most common criticisms people have of local churches. It doesn't take people long to figure out that there is a churchy love among Christians that ends at the back door of the sanctuary or in the parking lot. It is a superficial, Sunday-morning kind of love that is unwilling to venture beyond the walls of the church building. The home is the ideal place in which to build relationships and closeness."
"Christian hospitality is not a matter of choice, it is not a matter of money, it is not a matter of age, social standing, sex, or personality. Christian hospitality (especially in a church - or for that matter for Christians) is a matter of obedience to God."
"Pursue hospitality: actively pursue it, promote, and aspire to hospitality. We are to think about it, plans for it, prepare for it, pray about it, and seek all opportunities to do it." This must take place not only in our homes - but also in our churches. From the time anyone steps foot in the front door.
This is a phenom book, short and sweet and to the point.