Hospitality Highlight: Christine Pyle

Posted by Jessica Horning on June 12, 2024
Hospitality Highlight: Christine Pyle
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In this episode we hear from Christine Pyle about how she and her husband host large groups to help build community and foster connection in the church.

Featured recipe: Crockpot Korean Beef Tacos

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  • Automated Transcription
  • Today on Faith Matters, Hospitality Highlight with Jessica Horning.

    This time, she'll interview Christine Pyle.

    I'm Seth Weber and you're listening to Faith Matters, a podcast designed to help you think biblically in matters of the Christian faith and keep you updated on matters of Faith Bible Church.

    Thanks so much for listening.

    My name is Jessica Horning, and I am the Hospitality Highlight Editor in the Living Faith Magazine.

    And I am so delighted to be able to be on this episode today.

    Last time, we were able to talk to Taylor A. about cross-cultural hospitality.

    And then today, we have really a lot in store, and I hope that you enjoy it.

    We're gonna be talking to Christine Pyle and discussing really how the Lord has been working in her life and with her husband and her serving others in their home.

    So Christine, thank you so much today for meeting with us, to have us in your home and to eat this wonderful meal.

    Thanks so much.

    Christine, why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself and your husband Dean, a little bit about your marriage history and the ways that you occupied your time in the early years and then now.

    All right, well, when I met Dean, I had two children already in their teens.

    So we had a ready-made family when we were married.

    I was not living for the Lord then, and Dean was not a believer.

    Dean went into the military, and I kind of became the host mom as I was the oldest, usually the oldest person there, especially a woman.

    So we had a lot of military come over, and this was kind of like their home away from home while we were in Montana, Japan and Southern California, where the Southern California tour was where Dean came to Christ and I rededicated my life.

    And that was just sweet.

    By then we had two boys, and the two oldest, my two oldest were in the military.

    So we had a church family.

    We learned what a body is.

    We loved having people over.

    We lived in a little 800 square foot, two bedroom apartment, and it was nothing to have 40 or 50 people over.

    We just kind of oozed out into the yard.

    So we would have, one of the, I think, memories I have is a lot of young mothers don't get invited to people's houses that don't have children.

    So I had a mother's kid thing at my house, probably about, I don't know, 30, maybe.

    And it was something that, you know, I just see people starving for is community and getting together.

    The meal is great, but it's all about relationship.

    So we lived in Southern California for six years, and then we came to Spokane.

    And we went to a different church for about three years, and we're invited to FPC in 1997.

    So we've been there ever since.

    When God gives you a gift to use, it's something you love to do.

    So I have always loved to cook in quantity.

    Before we left California, I was doing maybe 75 to 100 with a birthday party or just a get together, so I love cooking in quantity.

    I don't have a house to cook in quantity, but you know, it just works.

    I can't even imagine what that would be like.

    And something I'm kind of wondering, especially now in this day and age with the price of groceries rising, how did you and Dean decide to budget for your hospitality?

    And like, was that something you had to think of beforehand for each month, or was it just something that overflowed?

    You know, it really was just an overflow.

    It was like, you can make meals that are cost effective and still feed a lot of people.

    And if you do potlucks, which is what we do mostly, everyone contributes to the meal.

    I usually just make the main course.

    And it can be, when I make lasagna, I make eight, nine by 12.

    So I have them in the freezer to pull out, or if I make meatloaf, I make six meatloaf.

    So if I make fried rice, I just did that.

    I make it for freezer and a meal for someone.

    And it just is what I do.

    So, but you can make meals with less meat, just like curry, you know, where it's not just solid meat.

    We kind of combine old and young, when we entertain, because we love to see people meet other people.

    So we do that.

    But I also love to go up to someone at church that I've never met and sit with them and say, hey, I would love to have you over for a meal.

    Can we get together and get their phone number?

    And we just had a couple about a month ago that I actually didn't even know his first name when he came over.

    I had talked to her and they came in and I invited, another couple that lived in their area and I thought they weren't in a growth group, so this would be a great time to introduce them to the other couple and get them, maybe they could connect.

    And they did connect well, but it was so fun.

    And then we taught them a game.

    I know.

    Was it hand and foot?

    Was that the game?

    It was.

    Yes, it's their famous game, Hand and Foot.

    So you'll have to ask Christine about it at church.

    But yeah, Christine, I was really blessed and encouraged when we were invited over.

    I thought that I was just going to be coming with my husband and kids to have dinner with you and Dean.

    And it ended up being a few couples.

    And that was a really cool time where we got to get to know a few other families in church that we had never connected with before and get to know them, play some games, break the ice, and get into deeper conversation.

    So how did those dinners where you have large groups of people together in one space, how did that come about?

    You said that you were serving people a lot in different states and over in Japan, but when you became a Christian, did that kind of start a little bit more with people in the church mainly?

    Yeah, mainly people in the church, yeah.

    So we have a clubhouse where we live, so we can actually have 50 to 75 people there.

    We've done that about three or four times.

    I don't worry so much about, okay, you show up, and then another couple shows up.

    I might try and get the conversation going a certain way, but I also let that flow where you're going to talk to someone else and make a connection and make a friend and maybe have them over.

    And it's all about keeping it simple and enjoying people.

    I love people, that's what God has given me a gift to.

    Okay, I don't love everybody, but I love.

    Well, Christ has loved you greatly, and so he has given you this ability to have more capacity in your heart to be inquisitive of others, wanting to get to know them, make them feel seen and loved.

    And it's just so evident, and it exudes in your personality.

    So I'm so thankful to have gotten to know you.

    I just wanted to know if there was someone in your upbringing or maybe in your early adulthood that was really influential in setting the tone for your hospitality.

    No, I was actually a single mom having groups of people over.

    Maybe there wasn't the game theme so much, but just conversations.

    I really admire that because I'm not a single mom, obviously, but even just being a mom in general, you have a lot on your plate, but you were still willing to have people over and to create that community, even if without that you would have maybe been lacking, but you initiated that, and I think that's a really huge thing with having a hospitable heart is being an initiator and someone that is inquisitive to get to know people and be that one to reach out.

    You know, one of the things I think that's really important, especially for young people to know is that it's not about your home.

    It's not about the furniture in your home.

    It's not about making an impression on someone.

    It's about loving on them and just enjoying them without worrying, oh, I didn't sweep my kitchen floor.

    I'll tell you, there's three things I go by.

    My bed's made, the toilet's clean, and there's no dishes in the sink, usually.

    Those are my three things.

    That's pretty simple.

    It doesn't have a huge to-do list to make it possible for you to host.

    And just a comfortable place.

    I want you to come into my home and feel welcomed and loved, that my focus is on you and not on being in the kitchen the whole time.

    Dean had to really help me with that because I would be in the kitchen prepping all the food, and I've learned to prep much more before anyone gets here and just enjoy.

    And I have toys for little kids.

    That's important.

    You need a box of toys.

    Yeah, that's a great way, especially if you're someone that is past the years of having young ones, to just keep this space welcome for people that have different interests.


    In the summer, we do backyard book studies, and we have a lot of outside trucks and cars.

    So we have families.

    We do a potluck every time we meet.

    So we change it up, maybe a baked potato bar, maybe a taco bar, hamburgers.

    So we can have, I think we had about 30 last summer in the backyard counting the kids.

    And everybody brings chairs.

    We set up chairs.

    We go through a book.

    Last year, we went through Loving Jesus More by Phil Riken.

    Did you have people prepare beforehand, read a chapter beforehand, or was it all?


    We read the chapter beforehand, and then we went around.

    And I think that's really important, too.

    You need to involve each one.

    You just don't say, does anybody have anything to say?

    No, no, no, you say, let's go around in a circle, tell what that chapter showed you, what was meaningful to you, what you maybe didn't know before.

    And you know, it has been such a blessing because people are willing to open up their hearts and say the hard stuff.

    So that's so good.

    And this is not just our growth group, it's other people.

    So we invite our growth group and then other people.

    So Christine, can you share maybe like a snapshot image of maybe an example of how you've hosted in the past few years?

    Maybe a funny story or a fun one that you could share with us of people in our church that you've hosted and the fun times you've had.

    Okay, so we had a pastor at FPC that I really was intimidated by, Paul Funches.

    And I don't think I was the only one.

    But I thought, you know what?

    I need to have them over.

    So I invited them over.

    I connected with Christy.

    I invited them over.

    We got the date.

    It was in November.

    I had made lasagnas and had garlic bread and salad.

    I mean, how easy is that?

    So we had them.

    We had our meal.

    He was sitting in the living room, and I had a couple of his kids on my left.

    We were reading books.

    And I said, do you know why I invited you over, Paul?

    And he said, no, why?

    And I said, well, because you intimidate me.

    So I figured I'd have you over.

    And he just thought that was the craziest thing ever.

    And how could I be intimidated by him?

    Well, hello.

    He's a tall guy.

    Yeah, he's tall.

    And his face is not a natural smile.

    But we all love him.

    It was so much fun.

    And I mean, now he has some people that tell that someone thinks he's intimidating.

    But what a good testimony that if you have someone maybe that you're reluctant to get to know, or maybe someone that you just don't know in general, walk toward them, maybe pursue having them over for dinner, getting to know them more, and you'll be surprised that you end up having a great time.

    Even though sometimes I think, why am I doing this?

    I'm having all these people over.

    I never regret it when it's over.

    I might be tired, but I don't regret it.

    Was there maybe a story of a special friendship or relationship that has come out of those times of study or those times of hosting that wouldn't have happened otherwise, maybe someone who was really impacted by your hospitality?

    One of the things I can think of, just one, is there are two sweet ladies in my life that would never have anybody over to their home, who now are incredibly hospitable, because they saw that this was just an everyday home and that people just came because we just get together and spend time together.

    So we've always done some type of...

    I do book studies with gals, and Dean and I do a book with a couple, so we build those relationships, but to me, if I'm going to spend time with you doing a book, I want to know your family too, so I'll have you over.

    Where sometimes that doesn't happen, and that's okay too, but for us, we just love to get to know people.

    Yeah, and to really know a person, you want to know their people.

    So what is your husband like?

    What are your children like?

    And how can maybe...

    You wouldn't really know how to speak into someone's life if you didn't really know their dynamic.

    So the next question I have would be, have there been any challenges to hosting that you have had over the years?

    And how has Christ grown you through those challenges or maybe the hard parts of it?

    Probably one of the biggest challenges is I have grown kids.

    I watch two of my grandchildren every morning, Monday through Friday and every afternoon.

    So I have kid things here.

    But I think there's all different types of parenting, and sometimes the kids are just kind of out of control.

    So that's a challenge to help the parents see that the kids need boundaries, or they might hurt themselves, or they might whatever, especially if we have a lot of kids here.

    You know, I certainly don't want to stop having kids over here, so instead of giving them red Kool-Aid, give them water.

    Yeah, you've learned over the years what's a good beverage to offer.

    Yeah, do anything that doesn't have color in it.

    Or sugar, maybe.

    Maybe hot dogs without ketchup, I don't know.

    That's a great one.

    And on the flip side, I wanted to ask maybe what was the most rewarding part of hospitality for you and Dean over the years?

    You know, we have just so many relationships with people that are so beautiful.

    You know, young and old, and my age group.

    And I'm ten years older than Dean.

    So, and his age group.

    And younger.

    And just the blend of people that come over.

    And you know, we can have two people over, or we can have twelve.

    Okay, I'm just going to tell you the bloopers.

    So, just so people know, it's not perfect.

    Like, Saturday, I made rice all day because it kept coming out gummy.

    I could make baseballs with them.

    Oh my goodness.

    So I finally went up to Trader Joe's and bought rice that was already cooked.

    I love the bloopers.

    This is what we need to hear, is that it's not always perfect, but it comes together and the people are loving it.

    So, okay, so I had this group, and it was a blend of people that I've never had over before, and Natalie Woodman was here, so Natalie and I invited people, and then we all sat down, and we had to have a card table because we couldn't fit around the table, I think.

    So I miscounted, and I didn't have enough food.

    Well, I never had that happen, but you know what?

    We just laughed.

    Andy came in and said, you know, there's really this many people.


    Well, just cut it now.

    Okay, people, I don't have enough food for you, but let's make it work.

    It's like Jesus feeding the five people.

    We accept it didn't multiply.

    It just...

    So what did you do?

    Joy and I shared a steak.

    That's what we did.

    That is so great.

    We shared food.

    Yeah, it was so much fun.

    And you know what?

    The stories we heard that night of people's lives were just so amazing.

    So it was worth it.

    Even if there was a blooper, you were like, this is so special that if we had not had this many people over, we would have missed out on all of that.

    So we had the clubhouse a couple of years ago, and there was probably 60 people from FPC, all mixed ages.

    Dean was working nights.

    He didn't go to sleep, I think, because he was a little excited.

    And so I decided, what can I feed people, this many people, because they were bringing stuff to go with it.

    So I did chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on.

    Don't ever, ever do that.

    I mean, you can do it if you precook the chicken thighs.

    So, boy, I didn't know that, and I should have known that, but I didn't.

    And Dean was barbecuing them, and he'd bring them in, and we'd put them in, and then people started eating them, and they were raw.

    Oh, no.

    So it was a big, big, big blooper.

    So we put them in the microwave, and people ate them after they were done, but everybody handled it real well, but Dean said, we're never, ever, ever having bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs again.

    So, which I have had, but I make sure they're cooked first.


    Okay, so you know what?

    People need to know you're real.

    They need to know that not only are we sinners, but we also, we have bloopers, and we have mistakes, and we need to laugh about it.

    And if we can correct it, we do.

    And if we can't, we just have, open up a can of soup or something.

    I don't know.

    And just, and yeah, use what you have.

    But today, I mean, the smell of what you made today is already just, oh, I cannot wait to taste it.

    It's all over the house, this delicious smell.

    This great recipe that's in the kitchen is Crockpot Korean Beef Tacos.

    Thanks for!

    So can you tell us a little bit about that, maybe how you started making it, and what goes into preparing this dish?

    It's super easy, honestly.

    You do need a couple of roasts.

    You can get the cheapest meat roasts out there, or watch for a sale.

    I buy them and throw them in the freezer when they're cheaper.

    But it's a Crockpot meal, which I love.

    It all gets put in one.

    So I trim mostly almost all the fat off, because I don't like that.

    So the most a Crockpot can hold is about seven to eight pounds of beef.

    So there's two roasts in my Crockpot right now, seven quart Crockpot.

    Grab a copy of the Living Faith magazine, and this whole recipe will be listed there as well.

    The original recipe called for flour tortillas, are corn tortillas, and either are good.

    And it also goes over rice, just great as well.

    And you make a coleslaw.

    This coleslaw only has seasoned rice vinegar and soy sauce in it, a little salt and pepper.

    I still like a mayonnaise based coleslaw with it, so I make two different kinds of coleslaw.

    I warm my flour tortillas in a dry pan, and for the corn tortillas, I put them a little grease in the frying pan and cook them that way.

    And when you cook that, are you hoping that the corn tortilla will be crispy or?

    A little crispy.

    Not so crispy that you can't fold it.

    So you just layer them in your oven with paper towels.

    And it's really its own meal.

    Fruit is great with it, but that's probably what I'd add.

    There's really not a lot you can, you need to add to it because it's so good.

    So you add it into the Crockpot.

    It goes for eight to ten hours.

    And then what do you do once the eight to ten hours are complete?

    You shred it and put it back in there.

    And then put it back in.


    That's all you do.

    It's so easy.

    And that's a great meal for Sundays because you can start in the morning, go to church, come back, and then you're probably zapped from church.

    You can rest a few hours before you host.

    And then when people come over, it's nice and ready.

    That's a great recipe, and I'm really excited to try it.

    And I think that this will be a great one for people to try in the church as well, so that they can host maybe a few families over for a dinner.


    Well, thank you so much for sharing with us today.

    I am encouraged by you, and I just want to say thank you.

    You're welcome.

    Thanks so much for listening, Faith Bible Church.

    Today, I want to encourage you to let your love be genuine, to outdo one another in brotherly affection, and to show hospitality.

    Catch us next time for another interview highlighting hospitality in our church.

Jessica Horning

Living Faith hospitality editor Jessica Horning is a wife and mother of two boys. She owns a business teaching sourdough classes. Contact her at

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