Q&A: Greeting Cards, Care Packages, Staff Hospitality

Greeting Cards, Care Packages, Staff Hospitality

Questions on this list are an interesting variety of ministry or Christian living questions and all the answers come from ministry wives from questions that we put up on the Ministry Mamas Facebook page. We used to have an “Ask ? Friday” time to ask questions but have now moved it to Q&A Tuesday for ministry women to ask questions and have other women chime in on being an encouragement or practical helps and advice. If you want to have a part in that please join us there!

Q: “Where do you buy good quality KJV (King James Version) greeting cards?”

  • Christianbook.com
  • DaySpring
  • We sell them as a fundraiser.
  • Sword of the Lord publishers.

Q: “I am organizing some things to do for our Bible College students every month to keep them encouraged as they are away from home. I need some creative and unique ideas to make the encouragement vary from month to month. What are your ideas? All suggestions welcome!”

  • Include postcards that are stamped and already addressed home to Mama. Quarters for laundry are always welcomed. Gas cards if they have a vehicle. Snacks packed in Pringles cans travel best. Microwave pop corn. Christmas music in October. 
  • Care packages,whether it be a simple pack of cookies with a note of encouragement with a verse,or something along that line. Just letting them know you are thinking of them.
  • I send the girls pretty things they may not have money for. Nail polish and accessories, pretty notepaper and pens, even goofy stuff like stickers and Legos and candy were loved!
    One year, a church lady made goofy packages for everyone…and she sewed the boys pillowcases out of funky pink fabric! Everyone laughed and teased the boys. BUT both boys used that pillowcase all four years of college and loved it!!!
  • I would echo quarters, also school supplies (pens, highlighters, notebooks, etc), even some toiletries and goodies. Whatever you send them will be appreciated, I’m sure! What a blessing!
  • As the mother of a college student, the most practical thing to give is Walmart gift cards. That way they can get exactly what they need. Just make sure there is a Walmart near the campus! 
  • You can also get ideas from our Ministry Mamas Gift Ideas for Bible College Students Pinterest Board.

Q: “Do you have any suggestions on materials to provide parents of a wayward child? Books, websites, other resources? We would like to help a family in our church but we’re not sure where to start.”

  • Stormie Omartian‘s book Praying for your Adult children is a great book.
  • Debi Pryde has a book called Parenting with Wisdom (formerly called Precept upon Precept). I have not read this book but Debi Pryde is fantastic! She is a biblical counselor whose biblical counseling course I have taken and I also have read about 6 of her other books. Her books are available on amazon and also her website www.debipryde.com. Also Kevin Lehman has a book called Adolescence Isn’t Terminal. I don’t agree with Dr. Lehman on several issues, but this book I believe is spot-on. He really addresses many topics you won’t find addressed. in many other books. What I also personally recommend to parents dealing with this is fasting and praying. I know that sounds obvious, but I have seen the effectiveness in fasting come through with helping kids or asking the Lord for wisdom and grace.
  • DVDs by Pastor S.M. Davis are great. His resources can be found at solvingfamilyproblems.org.

Note: I personally have not checked out all the suggested books or resources on this question, so please evaluate them according to your own personal convictions and preferences.

Q: “We regularly try to love on our church staff and have them over for dinner and make it a point to show love to their children on their birthdays and during the holidays. We’re finding that they do not choose to reciprocate the love in ever inviting us over to their home. They are grateful for what we do for them, it isn’t that. I am just wondering if there is anything I can do to encourage them not to worry about our expectations of their home or if I should change what we are doing since they are not giving much back. Give me your thoughts…”

Are you doing this to please people or to please God? I say to continue doing what you are doing even if they are not reciprocating, you are pleasing God and that’s what matters most. 

Hmmm…I think what struck me in this question is “they choose not to reciprocate their love in ever inviting us over.” Not everyone is a gifted hostess or feels comfortable having people in their home. Maybe they are reciprocating their love for you in a different way? It may be that they don’t have any church members over to their house for fear of appearing like they are playing favorites. Or maybe they are just very protective of the little family time they have. I know it’s hard not to take it personally…

Keep doing what God has laid on your heart and great will be your reward in Heaven, they may feel a little intimated by you I know I was when I had my pastor’s wife as my secret sister, I didn’t need to be, she is such a sweetheart and it was a wonderful year surprising her and being a blessing but most of all joining her in prayer!

Check out many of our other Q&A articles:

Down Home Hospitality ~Guest Post~

 

Down Home Hospitality 2

Hello all! I want to introduce you to Tricia, who is a pastor’s wife in Kansas. She and her husband have been in full-time ministry for only 15 months. Tricia’s new ministry in Kansas has changed her outlook on hospitality and that is why I wanted to share her testimony and hospitality tips with you.

From Tricia:

Hospitality according to the Webster’s Dictionary, is “the generous and friendly treatment of visitors and guests.” According to the Apostle Paul, we, as saints, should be “given to hospitality” (Rom 12:13). In our busy and hectic lives, have we forgotten the Lord’s command to love and serve one another?

I have to be honest, I did not learn hospitality from my mother. Don’t get me wrong, my mother loved to cook and bake. She was generous with her creativity and loved to coordinate parties and get-togethers. But stop by my house unannounced, and my mother would refuse to open the door. Have you been there? The house  in chaos, the kids having toys all over the living room, unfolded laundry on the couch, dishes undone, and there is no way you are opening that door to anyone!?

I actually learned the true meaning of hospitality from my father. Growing up in El Paso, Texas, we lived about 10 miles from the Mexican border. Back then, the border was very “liquid.” People passed back and forth fairly easily, so very often, we would find people passing through our neighborhood on foot looking for work. And very often, I would find people sitting in our front yard under the shade of our mulberry tree. My father served them sandwiches and talked to them in broken Spanish. Most had walked all day, having crossed the Rio Grande early in the morning, with no food. Watching my Dad, I asked him why he would feed them, and he replied, “I have to give them bread to give them THE Bread,” speaking of the Spanish gospel tracts in his pocket.

Yes, we are to show hospitality to ALL. Not just fellow saints, but to sinners, to show them the love of Christ. Isn’t that what Christ did when he fed the 5,000? Granted, He was on a hillside and not in a home, but whereever you are, we are called to be hospitable to all.

Last year, the Lord moved us to a small town in Kansas for my husband to Pastor. I was not used to the small-town etiquette that does not require a phone call before a visit. My first inclination was to not open the door, but then I remembered the generosity of my father and the encouragement of the Apostle Paul who would open the door to all. It took some swallowing of pride and a new perspective, but now I enjoy those “drop-ins.”

6 Tips on Becoming More Hospitable

  • Don’t make hospitality hard. You don’t have to have a formal dinner party for twenty, deck your house out for the holidays so that it looks like Martha Stewart lives there, or keep your house immaculately clean all the time. Relax. Just be open and welcoming!
  • Make an effort to show hospitality regularly. Flex those hospitality muscles! Maybe once a month, invite a family from your church over for a meal. If that is too much, make it dessert and coffee. The more you are hospitable the more you will look forward to those times of fellowship!
  • Put your home in perspective. Are you paranoid about dust bunnies under the couch or dog hair on the carpet? Most visitors won’t even notice because they are there to connect with you, not to judge your housekeeping. If you are self-conscious, make it a habit to keep the room where visitors enter your home as neat as possible. Take ten minutes to declutter daily and it will help you feel more confident when people come by.
  • Be aware of how your children see you deal with visitors. Do they see you warmly welcoming people into your home, or hiding out when the doorbell rings? It will affect their thoughts on loving and serving others.
  • Extend hospitality to your church. Are you welcoming to new families and visitors? Many times, what makes your church stand out will be your show of hospitality. Do you greet people? Do you show an interest in meeting people’s needs?
  • Pray and ask the Lord to grow you in this area. Think of examples of people you know who are examples of hospitality “masters.” How do they make you feel when in their homes? How can you do the same for others?

 Final Thoughts from The Ministry Mama

My favorite quote in Tricia’s tips is, “Flex those hospitality muscles!” If opening your home is hard for you, then start small and work up to bigger things. When you are comfortable with doing something small like actually opening the door when unannounced guests arrive, then take the next step to have people over for dessert, and then a bigger step to the next thing God prompts you to do. Certainly ask God to help you, His help is the biggest key in allowing you to be successful at having down home hospitality!

More about the author:

Tricia and her family have been servants in their churches throughout the years by teaching Sunday School, singing in the choir, and she even taught in a Christian school. Her husband served in the Army for 20 years and she also worked at the VA. Her 5 children are ages 11-21. She is a down home kind of gal who loves gardening, tending her little flock of 20 chickens, painting, and decorating. Tricia’s favorite ministry is ladies ministry where she loves fellowshipping and spending time with her sisters in Christ.

Q&A: Hospitality at Home

Hospitality at Home

Home hospitality is always interesting when you are in the ministry because while our home is our safety zone, it is also a place in which we can minister to others outside the church in a special way. The following questions are not particularly spiritual in nature but the answers are interesting and many have some wisdom contained in them and even some humor too.

Q: Is it proper to ask people what they like or don’t like to eat before having them over to your home for a meal? I find myself asking this because I’d rather them enjoy the food.

  1. “We typically check for dislikes and allergies. My husband, for instance, does not like most cheeses, so we appreciate when others ask and we can avoid awkwardness at mealtime.” ~C.D. #1
  2. “My wife does so religiously. I think it shows a true spirit of hospitality.” ~J.O.
  3. “I usually ask if there’s something they’re allergic to or don’t like. Most people will eat whatever not to be rude (which is right to do unless there is an allergy), but it’s nice to ask so they enjoy the meal and are not running away to McDonald’s as fast as they get away from your house.” ~C.D. #2

Q: We are so busy on Sundays that I really dislike having company over after church for lunch or dinner… should I try to have people over anyway? or try another day of the week?

  1. “It would depend on the reason. Is it because she has small children who need her and it’s a hardship on her family, or because she’s selfish and wants a nap just because it’s Sunday? I think too often younger preacher’s wives with small kids are trying to keep up with the older pastors’ wives who are at a different season in life and can do more in the ministry. We tend to forget that our family is our first priority. And, I would also tell her to ask her husband what he wants her to do.” ~C.D. #2
  2. “I know how you feel. I feel that way too very often. Sundays are hard. We are tired, but when we begin to make excuses like this are we really “ministering” to people or just showing up to do our job? Ministry at its very basic definition calls for serving through sacrifice. Sometimes that means missing my Sunday afternoon nap. Now, I’m not saying that every week you must have someone over for Sunday lunch. But what about once a month? And if Sunday lunch is too hard, what about snacks after the evening service? Through the week is great too, but I do feel that hospitality on occasional Sundays naturally lends itself to much more in-depth spiritual conversation. And, our children learn from us. Do we want them seeing our dislike for Sunday company? It just takes prayer and planning, but it truly is worth it.” ~K.M.
  3. “Don’t be afraid to say no. We have a life just like others. If it does not conflict with your schedule – say okay, but if you are worn out, kids are worn, and your husband needs rest, say no. Choose another day during the week.” ~R.F.

Q: Do you like people to pop by your house unannounced? or do you like to have a little notice?

  1. “Notice for sure, at least half an hour.” ~G.G.
  2. “A little notice is always nice, but sometimes a surprise friend showing up is the best!” ~R.A.B.
  3. “It depends on who it is for me. I like a little notice, so I can make sure my house is presentable to company. They are always welcome regardless of what the house looks like.” ~A.M.
  4. “I love it when people drop in.” ~C.W.
  5. “Especially since we have had a break-in, I am very wary of people at the door when I am not expecting someone. I may even have the house alarm set, so a ten minute heads up is good with me.” ~A.F.
  6. ” I think, and this is just how I think, that when a friend drops by unexpectedly, that friend trusts that they will be welcomed, since the ‘polite’ thing to do is give notice. They know that no matter the state of your house or what you’re doing, you’ll welcome them in gladly. I’d be thrilled if a friend just popped by because in my mind, it demonstrates trust.” ~J.H.
  7. “Notice is awesome, but I try my best to be ready…. I would never want to miss an opportunity to help someone in the moment.” ~A.N.
  8. “We moved to a small town last year and I am getting used to people popping in all the time. In the city, people would usually call before coming by, but here, my neighbors, church folks, and multiple kids stop by throughout the week. At first, it was awkward, but now I love having company! I have learned not to worry so much about my house and just focus on the person visiting. Love small-town life!” ~T.O.P.
  9. “No! If someone shows up at my house unnoticed they may not like what they see! LOL!” ~L.G.

If you are interested in contributing a question for our ministry Q&A blog posts, please contact me through e-mail!

Once upon a time I wrote an article about how I react when I find out guests are coming. The Lord has taught me that while I get ready for guests, I still need to value and be respectful to my family. Read The House Guest Shuffle here.