When we first started our church, our first floor was the meeting area. It is one big dining/living room and then a kitchen and half bath. We put all the kids in one room on the second floor so one room could be a playroom. It’s hard having your house being the meeting place all the time. I constantly felt like everything needed to be tidy. Or wondered if people would think my cleaning around sinks wasn’t up to par. Or how about this pile of piano/Bible/magazine/books here by my computer. Does all this really matter?
Well, I try to keep things neat when people come over, but pristine? No way. I’ve got four kids under 10. Having people over has always been an excuse to do a deep cleaning. But, I sure can’t maintain that every week. So if your church plant is meeting in your house somewhere, take heart. People probably aren’t going to notice your piles, they have them too. Your sink is clean enough if it is clean, but not sparkly, theirs probably doesn’t sparkle either. It’s kind of like when you talk to another mom and you’re like, “Wow, your kid does that too?” and it’s a relief to know you are not alone.
What can you do to make your house look inviting? Here are some tips:
1. Make the front area look inviting. Check out my front porch that I redid with found treasures. And, I always try to keep a nice wreath on the door. My current one has been hanging since spring. It’s not like you have to change it every week!
2. Walk through your own front door. What do you see first? We have a magazine turned book holder. It’s overflowing. Messy, yes. Shows we love to read, yes. Big deal, no. But that pile of laundry, well, try to stick that someplace else.
3. Do you have enough places for people to sit comfortably? Don’t be ashamed to use a fold up lawn chair or step stool as a place to sit. A chair is a chair.
4. Are you serving snacks? Whatever it might be, serve it on a glass plate or bowl. You know the ones. The ones you save for “special” occasions. Having people come to your house to learn about Jesus IS a special occasion. Dishes look better than just out of the bag. Use a glass pitcher to serve some cold water. It is dressier than a milk jug! (I had two pitchers in the fridge one Sunday and one of my kids pulled one out and it broke into a million pieces on the floor. Nothing like trying to keep your cool while trying to clean that up with people in the house!)
5. Be yourself. Chill out. Run around barefoot if that is what you normally do. Let people help themselves if they need milk from the fridge or are looking for a spoon. People will find that you are pretty much just like them and think you’re okay and maybe this whole church thing isn’t weird!
Finally, bear in mind that your house as a worship area is temporary. Your church will grow and you will find a place to rent. Other people will start to offer their homes as a place to meet for small groups. A couple weeks ago 40 people met for a baptism at someone’s house. Her house is cute and cozy and people were spilling over outside and in. But, it was so much FUN!
And I think church should be fun. If you’re all about stuffy and tradition, then the above list won’t help you. If you’re all about showing Jesus’ love and that you are a real person, forgiven, and living a faithful life there is no reason to be embarrassed or apologize for your home. Because, what really matter is what is in your heart.