Thank you for being willing to host a table gathering! We want to make sure that you feel prepared and supported. This packet will give you ideas and tools that you can use to make your gathering a success.
First and foremost, PRAY! Pray that God would use your home and table for His Kingdom and purposes. Also pray over which person to invite. Maybe a neighbor, co-worker, friend, or acquaintance. Who is the person that God has put on your heart?
Once you have someone in mind, invite them over in whatever way is comfortable for you. If you are struggling with wording, or what you might say, here are some suggestions that may help:
“With this pandemic and the lockdown starting to lift, our church is encouraging us to start being more intentional about getting together with people and invite someone over for dinner. I was hoping that you could join us for dinner on (date & time).”
“Now that it’s okay to meet in small groups, we have been wanting to have people over for dinner. Are you available (date & time)? Our church has been talking about how important tables are to our lives and we wanted to make that a bigger routine in our house.”
Mentioning the church is optional, but it would be good for people to know that you aren’t trying to sell anything, and just be upfront about the importance of community (getting together). If for whatever reason, they don’t feel comfortable getting together or just aren’t interested, it’s okay. Pray about another person to invite.
Everyone you know is at a different place with their relationship with God. Some may not be interested at all, and some may have a strong relationship that you didn’t even know about. We’ve put together four short videos each revolving around the idea of ‘the table’ that could be used as an ice-breaker, to help guide conversation, or even just bring up the subject of church without being “preachy”. Use these videos however you see fit. Maybe you could send a link to one of the videos to your guests before they come, or maybe you could watch one together as you talk about how important the dinner table has been for you personally. If you don’t see a need for the videos yourself, then don’t worry about it!
Once you have set a date and time that works for you and your guests, make sure to prepare some food! If you love to cook, great! If not, no problem. Order pizza or get some takeout the day of and don’t worry about it. It’s not about the food as much as it is about the people and the time that you spend together.
The day of your get together, be sure to spend some time in prayer inviting God to join you at the table. Once your guests arrive, you can start conversation with some of the prompts below, by watching one of the short videos together, or simply by starting the meal and jumping in whichever way works for you. Remember, there is no motive here. The get together IS the motive.
- (If you sent them the video with the invite) “Were you able to watch that video? What did you think? Can you relate at all?”
- “How have you been coping in this shutdown? Has it been lonely?”
- “How did you and your wife meet?”
- “I know that you work for (fill in the blank) but how did you get into that line of work?”
- “Have you watched any good shows or movies during your time at home?”
The secret to talking around a table is to share stories. Telling a story of your own (how you met your spouse, something that happened at work, etc.), prompts everyone to relate to their own stories. Some are more willing to share than others, but even the most introverted will at least begin thinking of similar stories of their own. Lectures, cutting people off, and “one-upping” someone’s story are very rarely a good idea.
After meeting, if it would feel comfortable to have them over again, do it! Eventually, you may even get to the point where you would feel comfortable having them over on a Sunday morning to watch the service and have lunch. But remember, the purpose is not to push church or God, the purpose is just to build relationships and allow the Holy Spirit to do His job.
A great way to continue building the relationship is to follow up a day or two later and thank them for coming. If they shared something that they are struggling with, by all means let them know that you are praying for them. Regardless of their beliefs, nobody minds being prayed for.
Thank you for BEING the church and for opening up your home and your table!