Brought up in a culture where hospitality is central, Hana Erickson thought she had a PhD in hospitality. That was before she became a Christian. Read her full article on practicing hospitality in the November/December issue of live magazine. Subscribe today.

1 Understand your home’s mission.

For some of us, this means a fundamental change in perspective. In North America, many of us have come to view our homes as our private sanctuary and therefore guests, especially unexpected ones, often feel like intruders. If you understand that your home’s purpose is for God and for guests, you will make room for both sanctuary and hospitality. This one small shift in thinking can lead to a thousand creative ways to make your home more hospitable, from having a basket of clean slippers at your door, to finding ways to organize your time so you can invite people over during a regular time-slot.

2. Expect company.

Trust me when I tell you that I have two plates and they’re both full, so I understand the very real concern about lack of time to prepare for company. However, there are creative ways to make time to do mass baking and cooking. Make it a regular family activity once a month or get together with your friends to bake or cook while you socialize. It makes spontaneous lunch invitations much easier when you’ve got a cake and a lasagna in the freezer.

3. Have a hospitable home, not a perfect one.

The single biggest barrier to entertaining is the work required to get your home in a state that is fit for company or even “Instagram-worthy.” I clean and decorate my home because it makes me feel at peace and brings me joy. We all need to accept this one simple truth: God is our only judge and all He cares about is the state of our heart.

4. Potluck it.

I know; you’re thinking I just finished knocking this fine tradition. Not so. Yes, it is practically illegal to be Albanian and not have enough food, however, your guests may have differing views on this, and ultimately, they are the ones who matter. If you’re honouring your guests above yourself, you’ll defer to their point of view. I prefer providing the main dishes and “potlucking” the dessert, salads and appetizers, but no matter how you do it, throwing a potluck makes hosting more accessible for busy people.

5. Pray.

If you’re expecting company, pray that God would show you the best way to honour your guests. Consider how you will greet and serve your guests in a way that is meaningful to them. Think about what traditions you need to lay aside or how you might stretch yourself to adopt new ones for the sake of your guests. Or, if you have traditions you would like to share with your guests, pray about how you can make these accessible to them.