Opening 1,000 Doors: Houses of Hospitality and the Promise, Requirement and Hope of the Church

Elaine Heath, theology professor at SMU's Perkins School of Theology, talks about church support for Houses of Hospitality where young Christians can live while serving the community.

By Wayne Meisel

If you're young and idealistic, engaged and committed, and want to serve full time in the community, there are three basic things that you will need:

 You will need to be paid. Fortunately, there are more and more service jobs that provide a stipend (although often small) thanks in large part to AmeriCorps.

You will need health insurance. My mother was supportive of my community service work, as long as I didn't get a tattoo and had health insurance. For years, this was the stumbling block for young people who wanted to serve but were forced off of their parents' coverage once they left school. Tattoos are up to you, but thanks to ObamaCare, young adults can stay on their parents' health insurance until they are 26.

 You will need a place to live. Finding safe and affordable housing has become the biggest challenge for young people who want to serve in full-time positions. Churches have helped. Churches can help. Churches need to help....

Perkins School of Theology Professor Elaine Heath established the Missional Wisdom Foundation, which sponsors the Epworth Scholars Program. Since 2006, students have lived together in homes where they commit to a rule of life. Each of the houses has an issue area that resident are engaged in. Dr. Heath describes it as an incubator community "so that students can see an alternative way of doing church."...