9 Tips for Staying with a Host Family

host homeOne of the greatest and most rewarding joys of the summer team ministry is becoming a part of the lives of people with who you will stay.  When we stay with people, we share our lives, we share the love of Jesus and we share in Christian fellowship.  The book of Acts is filled with Christians opening their homes to ministers of the Gospel.  Those relationships formed lasted throughout the New Testament. The church is still one of the places that we find hospitality to this extent – there are just not that many times when a non-family member stays in your home – so, in some ways, it’s uncommon.

I have stayed in many, many host families over the course of the last 20 years.  Since leading Harvest Ministry, and being the recipient of such great hospitality in these situations, I wanted to share some etiquette and proper manners as you are a guest.  We must constantly keep in mind that we are representing Jesus even as we are host homes in the evenings.

Here are 9 tips to make it a great stay with a host family:

1)  Host families may be more nervous than you.  They are usually excited about your coming and spend time in preparation for your arrival.  Always be excited where you are sent.  Sometimes, when we’re at a church, and the time comes to be sent to a home, be fine with what ever.

2)  Pick an option. When given options about what you would like to eat or drink, give them a concrete answer.  Replying with “whatever” could give the feeling that you are not satisfied with any of it.  Pick one of the options, it makes it easier on the host.

3) Spend as much time as possible (depending on the schedule and the willingness of the host family) talking and getting to know them.  Ex:  How long have you lived in this house?  How long have you been attending the church? Who is in the picture on the coffee table?  What are your hobbies?  What do your kids do?

4)  Always be ready to share what’s going on with the ministry and with your life – in a nustshell.  Share two or three concrete stories from the last week of ministry.  Tell them a little about your background – but not too detailed.

5)  Try to be on time to the host family if you are driving there yourself.  Typically for one night, they will drive you and drop you off again.  If you stay with a family for more than one night, you still want to try to get back at a decent time each evening.  Also, don’t leave in the middle of the night for any reason.

6)  Do your best to eat what they fix for you – even breakfast.  If someone has gone to the trouble to fix breakfast, you don’t say, “Oh, I’m not a breakfast eater.”  You eat something.

7) Leave a note of thanks when you leave…  maybe on the nightstand or in the kitchen.  Let them know that you appreciate the place to stay for the night and share God’s blessing on them.  If you are able to, pray with your host family as you are heading out the door – ask a blessing on the home and their lives.  If at all possible, get their address to mail them a note as well.

8)  Stay away from host family comparisons.  Ex:  “The last house we stayed at was a mansion!” or “Man, that was the shortest shower I had ever seen!”

9)  Stay very tidy.  Don’t let your suitcase scrape the wall.  Don’t leave trash on the floor.  Make your bed.  Hang your towel after the shower.  Don’t ever “truly make yourself at home.” You are a guest and need to be mindful of that during your stay.

Enjoy your time with host families.  Be in ministry during your time.  Be genuine.  After you are gone from the church, conversations about them hosting you may go on longer than what you did during the ministry event itself.


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1 thought on “9 Tips for Staying with a Host Family”

  1. We have hosted students and leaders from FireUp for quite a few years and have enjoyed every single person that has been with us. They have all been enjoyable in their uniqueness and spiritually rewarding. Looking forward to having a group again this year!

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