Most speakers prefer to stay in a motel when they visit a church, but I always prefer to stay in a church member’s home.
I have always been financially conservative. I enjoy saving the church that motel expense. Those funds can then instead be used in areas of ministry.
I also like meeting the new people. In 44 years of traveling and staying in homes, I have met some of the finest believers one could ever meet. They have been some of the greatest encouragements to me. In fact, I am now staying in the homes of those who were the children when I stayed with their parents years ago! Staying in these homes gives me a unique chance to impact young people by showing them that preachers are real human beings who enjoy life and laughter.
I enjoy the accountability of staying in a home. There are too many horror stories about preachers and the temptations of a motel. By staying in a home, I’m completely accountable because people know where I’ve been outside the pulpit. There’s not even a question about what I have watched on the TV or how else I spent my time.
In a church member’s home, I get a better feel for the church and the community. As they interact and ask questions, I’m exposed to an “Information Center” for that area. Part of effective communication is knowing your audience. The people with whom I stay are usually a good sampling of the community and the church. Staying with them gives me a good grasp of the people to whom I will be speaking.
Lastly, I just sleep better in a home. I don’t hear car doors slamming, TVs in the next room, or people talking loudly as they walk past my door. Even the finest hotels have sounds and disturbances that have interrupted my sleep.
Homes have been such a positive experience for me in the last 44 years, and I look forward to more of the same this year!