To begin embracing the stranger is quite simple. Groups only need to make a list of people whom members know in the neighborhood so they can pray for them on a weekly basis. The list need not be long; two people per member is sufficient. From there, the group can host a Matthew Party, named after Matthew the tax collector.8 He was one of the sinners and tax collectors with whom Jesus related at parties—people who were the rejects of first-century Jewish society (see Matt. 9:9–13). Group members’ birthdays provide a good excuse for Matthew Parties. The group can throw a party and invite unchurched friends, family members, neighbors, and coworkers to celebrate the birthday with them.
On a simplified and less organized level, group members can use the power of a shared meal or meeting for coffee to embrace the stranger. The entire small group need not be involved—possibly only a couple or a member from the group. For more guidance on the topic of hospitality, visit www.roxburghmissionalnet.com to download a thirteen-week group discussion and activity guide. — Mark Priddy and Al Roxburgh, “Series Preface,” in Missional Small Groups: Becoming a Community That Makes a Difference in the World, Allelon Missional Series (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2010), 153.