September 20, 2023
Shaping Culture Through Hospitality
New Saint Andrews College graduates seek to shape culture wherever they find themselves. This is a massive goal but there are many different ways to do the work. Some shape culture through pastoring, and others do it through business. Some work in sales and others are writers. One simple yet profound way to shape culture is through the gift of hospitality.
NSA students regularly comment on the deep community at the college where professors welcome students into their lives and homes. The hospitality of the professors makes a lasting impression on students. The larger church community surrounding the college reinforces this culture of hospitality, with families hosting students in their homes and around their dinner tables. Through both the college and the church community, NSA students get to taste and see what robust Christian life looks like.
Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with a few alumni who talked about the importance of hospitality and shaping culture.
Christine Cohen, who graduated in 2009, discussed her family’s decision to open a gastropub restaurant. Their restaurant is not just a place to serve food but a way to shape the larger culture and to serve others by offering hospitality to the community. She said, “That’s one of the prerogatives that Christ puts upon us: to go out and to reach other people.”
She explained that she and her husband desired a way to serve the wider community. She said, “One of the ways that we realized that we could do that was through good food, to invite people to the tables at our restaurant, to be able to bless them in that way.”
She said they desired to make an impact in the community. She said they wanted to be “welcoming to others and bring them in and show them the sweet aroma of Christ.”
When I talked with Jen and Joe Carlson, who both graduated in 2005, they mentioned the same idea of people experiencing the aroma of Christ in their home. Jen commented, “So when they walk into your home, what does it feel like?” and Joe added: “Do they get a whiff of heaven?” This vision shaped their marriage and their family wherever they went.
“You have this space at your fingertips that you can use to feed people’s souls, to bless them eternally.”
Jen talked about her role as a wife and mother and how she views her work as making a tremendous impact on others. She said, “You have this space at your fingertips that you can use to feed people’s souls, to bless them eternally.”
Joe commented on the broader community of NSA shaping them and their understanding of hospitality. He said through the community, they learned that: “Our homes are not our own. It is not our own little castle, it is not our own little private sanctuary. ” He added, “Our home is given to us for a purpose.”
Joe said they learned to consider their home as a gift to offer others. He said, “How is our home a tool that we can use to bless others and point others to Christ?” He added, “And when you do that, you are shaping culture.”
Jen shared that she saw the example of a woman at church who would set her table with cloth napkins. This small little detail made an impact on Jen and how she thinks of hospitality. She said, “It’s beautiful and our souls need beauty. So many people walking through your door need that beauty as well.”
“It’s beautiful and our souls need beauty. So many people walking through your door need that beauty as well.”
Jen added, “That is one of our favorite ways of quietly, faithfully shaping culture.”
For those interested in shaping culture through hospitality, there is a documentary called “Come and See” which was directed by Jemima Dixon (Merkle), who graduated from NSA in 2022. The documentary shows the importance of hospitality and offers insights into this domestic art. The documentary is available on Canon Plus.