When a speaker walks into her lodging accommodations and discovers a “welcome” surprise waiting for her, it immediately conveys warmth, care, and hospitality. Though the word “basket” is used for this expression of kindness toward your guest, you may consider utilizing a different container, especially if your guest is flying—perhaps a pretty gift bag, cosmetic bag, decorative box, purse or other creative “holders.” Basket items may include: hand-written welcome card, event name tag, event booklet with schedule and facilities map, name and phone numbers of key personnel, candle and matches, fragrant lotions and sprays, mints and gum, fruit and candy, chocolates, journal, note pad and pen, or other items.
Hospitality Room or Green Room
This area will be a welcome refuge to your special guest(s), especially if the event is scheduled for more than one day or one session. Assign a team member to oversee this space. The room might include ambient décor: candles, ice water, soft worship music, comfortable seating, and fresh flowers. Provide healthy snacks and drinks. Several tables covered with nice cloth are an added bonus. This room could be utilized for all event staff.
Bonus Gift for the Speaker
You may wish to purchase a special memento for the speaker that will remind her of your time together. Arrange for the gift to be presented either formally as part of the program, or privately by the event coordinator at the end of the evening or weekend. The gift does not replace an honorarium! It’s just an added touch of hospitality.
Opportunities to Rest
If the event schedule includes more than one speaking assignment for your guest, be sensitive to her need to slip away from the event attendees. Most speakers will desire to connect, visit, and pray with multiple individuals. This can be invigorating and tiring. Your sensitivity to this reality will be a welcome respite for your fatigued guest.
Reduce Unrealistic Expectations
If the event schedule includes workshops, break-out sessions, free-time activities, a prayer gathering, etc., be certain to inform your guest speaker of what is expected from her. Inviting her to participate, yet releasing her from the obligation to take part, would be appreciated by most speakers. She may need the extra time to wait on the Lord or rest. Clear communication is the key.
As an extra gesture, arrange to have a “thank you for sharing your wife/mother with us” remembrance delivered to the speaker’s home during her absence. Confirm that someone will be at her home to receive it. The gift could range from a card to a fresh flower bouquet or edible basket of fruit, muffins, etc. This additional act of kindness will encourage and bless your speaker.
Read what 3 John 1:5 says according to The Message:
Dear friend, when you extend hospitality to Christian brothers and sisters, even when they are strangers, you make the faith visible. They've made a full report back to the church here, a message about your love. It’s good work you’re doing, helping these travelers on their way, hospitality worthy of God himself! They set out under the banner of the Name, and get no help from unbelievers. So they deserve any support we can give them. In providing meals and a bed, we become their companions in spreading the Truth.
What elements of hospitality can make our ”faith visible?”
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise marked, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblicia, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com. The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™
“Hosting a Guest Speaker” is published by the National Women’s Department at women.ag.org, 2020. Permission granted for personal use or within a teaching setting. Do not reproduce.