the good way

Being Present

Session 6 • Hospitality • Activation

Often we associate hospitality with our homes, and all too often we can confuse hospitality with entertainment. Entertaining people like ourselves, for the purposes of somehow elevating ourselves is not true hospitality. Hosting fancy dinners with the motivation or anticipation of some sort of personal gain, is far from the purity that exists in the generous hospitality of God.


Christ-like Hospitality is more about presence than about place. Jesus himself didn’t have a home that he invited people to, but he carried a generous presence of welcome wherever he went.

“Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” Luke 9:58

True hospitality creates a sense of warm welcome where people can be free to be themselves. It creates space for people to be known and where there can be deep and rich connections fostered through unhurried time spent together.

When was the last time you were truly present? In other words, when your mind and emotions are fully connected with where your body is in that present moment. When was the last time you just did one thing and allowed yourself to be fully immersed in that one thing?

Practice being Present

Slow down

Henri Nouwen says that hospitality involves creating ‘empty space’. Most of us dislike empty space, whether it’s in our calendars or our conversations, so we constantly preoccupy ourselves. Extending hospitality will involve slowing down, and becoming less hurried.

Be intentional

Remind yourself that by welcoming this stranger/neighbor, you are welcoming Christ. Set your intention to be present in this moment with a fellow human being. Try not to multi-task or rush. Just give this person your undivided attention and set yourself aside. Believe that this person carries a treasure or gift that may unfold in your conversation. Their life matters, their story matters. This person, whoever they are, has much to teach you.


Listening is one of the highest but most underrated forms of hospitality. And listening is something that is always available to us, whether it’s with our spouse, or roommates, our kids or our colleagues. Extend hospitality by welcoming a stranger into a meaningful, unhurried conversation, where you simply try to get to know them. Ask questions. Be interested in their story.

“Listening is the language of love.

In today’s technology obsessed culture, we have lost sight of what being present really is. Our devices have created this need to be everywhere at the same time - I want to be here with you whilst also keeping my options open and being somewhere else entirely. We settle for cheap connection rather than deep communion, and we too often pursue ‘likes’ over real love and friendship.

In this 2012 TED talk, psychologist Sherry Turkle talks about the dangerous implications of technology on our relationships and our sense of self. A lot of time has elapsed since this talk was given, but it still provides many important questions for us to reflect on in terms of our relationship with technology and the deep connections that we are all deeply longing for.

For more TED talks connected with this topic, see below:

In this TED talk, Kio Stark talks about why we should talk to strangers.

Hannah Brencher believes in the power of pen and paper and has started a global initiative that encourages strangers to write letters of love.

In this TED talk, Celeste Headlee gives us 10 ways to have a better conversation.

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