At St. Michael’s, two things we’re great at are fellowship and food! So this summer, we are bringing the two together as we focus on reaching out to our friends and neighbors who may not know Jesus or have a church family.
Acts 2 describes how the earliest Christians “had everything in common” and regularly “broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts.” We want to share with others the common life of table fellowship—hence, Common Tables!
The idea is simple:
Find 2-3 other St. Michael’s individuals or couples and plan to get together to share a meal. (For example, you might want to get together with people who live near you, or with whom you share a common interest.)
Each person or couple invites someone they know to join them—someone who doesn’t go to church or may not know Jesus.
You all enjoy food and fellowship together. No agenda. No pitch. Just a chance for some of the unchurched people you know to get a taste of the fellowship (and food!) we at St. Michael’s do so well.
Sometime later, you ask the person/people you brought to the meal if they’d like to come to church with you.
Do pray and ask God to bring to mind who would be a good person/people to invite.
Do tell the person/people you’re inviting that you’re gathering with some friends from church. We want to be forthright and transparent; no bait-and-switch games here.
Do keep things simple. No need to bring out the fine china and silver! Burgers on the back porch, wine and cheese, even your favorite takeout—anything’s fine. The point is to share fellowship, not to put on an elaborate dinner party.
Do act normal. If you’d normally say a blessing before the meal, then do it. If you wouldn’t, then don’t. If you’d normally talk about God or faith or church in your conversation, then do it. If you wouldn’t, then don’t. This isn’t about making a four-point gospel presentation to people; it’s about inviting them to experience authentic community and fellowship among Christians.
Do follow up. If your group all seemed to enjoy each other, try getting together again. Even if not, a phone call, text, or email to thank them for coming means a lot.
Do invite the person/people to church. It should be simple and low-pressure. A few days or a week after your gathering, try something like this: “I’m so glad you came to dinner at John & Jane’s house last week. I saw them at church yesterday and they mentioned how much they enjoyed meeting you. I wondered if you would like to come to church with me next Sunday?”
If they say no, graciously accept their response. “No problem. You’re always welcome if you ever decide you’d like to.”
If they say yes, great! Consider offering them a ride, or just look out for them and be sure to greet them that Sunday morning.
If they say yes but can’t come on the date you mentioned, try to find another date. People are more likely to follow through on a specific commitment than a vague “sometime.”
Do continue to connect with the person/people, even if they don’t want to come to church! People are people, not projects. We want to love and serve people well regardless of whether they ever walk through the doors of St. Michael’s.
Don’t feel pressured. You’re asking someone to lunch or dinner. The worst they can do is say no. And if they say no, you still get to enjoy time with other St. Michael’s folks!
Let us know how it goes! Swap stories at coffee hour. Tell Erin about what you’re trying. Encourage each other. It can be hard to try something new—but we’re all on this journey together. Even better, God’s on the journey, too!