I recently had the opportunity to attend a blogger and writer’s conference. Allume is a conference focused on ministering to the woman, the blogger, the story teller. A friend led me to the Allume website, as she had purchased a ticket to the sold out event. As I read about the conference and speakers list which included so many of my favorite Christian writers, I began searching for a way to attend. In the end, I simply put a message out on twitter and God did the rest. Soon I had a ticket of my own to attend the Allume Conference in Greenville, SC and I couldn’t have imagined all that God had in store for me there.
This year’s theme for the conference was HOSPITALITY. Each session and key note speaker focused on developing a heart for biblical hospitality. There couldn’t have been a better theme to minister to my heart. Through the weekend I had the opportunity to dream big and pray about writing, as well as further develop a vision for my blog.
I wish I could share with you every detail of my experience, but well, nothing says it like the men and women who poured out their hearts and stories. So, I thought I would just give you a little recap of my favorite moments. I also brought back with me a little giveaway!
Logan Wolfram, @lifefordessert
Allume Executive Director, Host and Hospitality Artist
We are people who often only share glimpses of ourselves, little peeks into our lives. We only allow people to look into our lives through windows, on their tippy toes, only allowing them to see the clean, shiny versions of ourselves and family. True hospitality is opening the door, welcoming someone in to walk the halls and see around the corners, to the deeper places of both your home and of YOU. We are called to be a people of doors, not people of windows. Logan challenged us to do just this… Open the door.
The hardest truth I took from Logan’s message is that entertaining does not equal hospitality. I want to be unafraid of letting the world see my mess. I love entertaining, setting beautiful tables and perfecting recipes to share with friends. But what is the point? Am I entertaining so others feel good about me and what I can produce? I want people to leave my home feeling better about themselves, not better about me.
Several times during the weekend the story of Paul’s shipwrecked on Malta was illustrated. Upon arriving on the island Paul and his companions, a bunch of prisoners, were shown unusual kindness.
The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold.
Before the people of Malta even knew who the strangers were, they welcomed them in. The men were cold, hungry and without a place to rest their heads. The chief of the entire island, Publius, invited them to stay. Scripture says that he entertained them hospitably for 3 days. It was kindess and love that led Publius to give the invitation.
Let us be a people of invitations!
Author of Bread & Wine, Bittersweet, and Cold Tangerines.
Currently I am hosting a book study in my Home on Shauna Niequest’s book, Bread and Wine. Through her writing we are learning to build community around the table and to try out all the recipes in her book, Of course. I could think of no better person to share from a heart of hospitality.
Shauna shared how, currently, her life has become so efficient and overly structured. She saw that she no longer looked at her children with a soft heart, rather she administered their lives. She explained how she had lost her soft heart for people and I was encouraged how, through her message of regaining a heart for hospitality she pointed out, “I did this, now I need to undo this!” I see the danger in striving for perfection, in trying to have it all together. Sometimes life is messy and that is ok! I am learning to reevaluate my vision of hospitality.
Here are Shauna’s thoughts on hospitality:
What is Hospitality?
- Giving people a place to be when they will otherwise be alone
- True hospitality is creating a sacred place where we can connect deeply with others.
- True hospitality is when people leave your home feeling better about themselves, not better about YOU.
- Sometimes it is messy and out of control.
Emily Freeman and Myquillyn Smith (The Nester)
These are two incredible sisters! Myquillyn Smith and Emily Freeman have been such blessings to me through their words. Emily Freeman’s session was by far my favorite experience of the conference. Emily is an author and blogger at chattingatthesky.com – As she spoke I immediately connected with her genuine heart for hospitality. She shared with us a story of how she made a place for those in her community by setting up a bench in the grassy area of her cul-de-sac. It was here at this bench that neighbors began to gather, to connect with one another.
“People want to talk about things. They want to relate and live in community and converse and be together. Sometimes they just need a bench. They need a place to get the conversation started, a platform that allows them to linger and find one another.”
It is a desire of mine to create a space of hospitality here on Flying Paper Airplanes. I want to create a bench of kindred spirits, a bench full of Christ followers and lovers of adventure.
Emily Freeman shared these simple techniques to build a bench of your own that people want to sit on:
- Listen: Learn to listen to what makes you cry, what makes you come alive. Tears tell us where our hearts beat strong. And listen to your crazy ideas!
- Practice generosity: Be generous with your story. Relational art makes for a very hospitable way of being.
- Embrace wonder: Relearn how to waste time. Waste a little time with your children. Waste a little time with your friends.
Judah and the lion
The worship experience was wonderful, lifting up the name of the Lord with so many beautiful men and women from around the world.
A concert by Judah and The Lion brought joy to my soul. Simply happy music! These young adult men were in quite a spot performing a high energy show to a group of almost only women, of all ages. Though much different from their usual venues the men engaged the audience in a soulful way. So many of their lyrics shared memories of life at HOME. Judah was so kind to sign a record and take this perfectly silly photo for my little Judah.
I left the event with an armful of books to read thanks to all the sponsors. I have already read through Breathing Room by Leeana Tankersley and Atlas Girl by Emily T. Wierenga. I will have some book reviews up soon.
After the conference was over, I jumped straight into a study on biblical hospitality on sherreadstruth.com… I am telling you friends I can’t get enough!
Jesus is a beautiful example of hospitality. Through his life we see strangers drawn in, a place for them to cast of their strangeness, a home. There is no better example of hospitality than Jesus.
We welcome because He welcomed
We invite because He invited
We love because He loved
I brought home this beautiful print from She Reads Truth. Would you like it? To enter just comment below…
What inspires you most about the hospitality of Jesus?
Winner will be announced Sunday, November 30. Good Luck!