The Front Porch- Launching A Regular Shared Meal

community evangelism mission

The Front Porch

What is the first and most important rhythm for creating community?

We believe it’s a regular shared meal.

That’s it - eat together regularly with the same people and take that time to connect.

Some call this open supper, open dinner, open table, meal sharing, potluck or family dinner.

Whatever you call it, we think of this as the "front porch" of the community, the place where people begin to feel comfortable and make relational connections.

Establishing a rhythm like this takes perseverance, skill and time - time to develop this pattern as a regular, sustainable part of your life.

In the early stages it may look like starting and stopping this rhythm or doing it every month or every other week, but the goal, even if it takes years to achieve, is a weekly open meal.

So when you’re ready to get started, here are the initial steps to creating a meal as the front porch to your community.

Pick an evening and a time.

Look at your weekly rhythm and find a weeknight where you feel you’ll have the most energy for this kind of hosting.

Send out weekly invites.

At first this is going to sound like "one off" invites...

"Hey we do a potluck open supper on Thursday nights at 6pm. Would love to hangout with you guys. Is there a Thursday coming up that would work for you?"

If there is a strong connection you can let them know this is a regular thing.

"We’re trying to do this dinner every week. Would love to see you guys come whenever you’re available.

Pay close attention to who comes back.

It's those people who are leaning into relationship.

Any time there is no one new at an open supper, just make sure everyone from your group has at least invited one person.

What to Do During the Meal

We like to kick off the meal and have whoever invited someone just introduce them to the group.

Say a brief prayer and dig in!

During the meal, connect with people. Get to know them. Make them feel at home. Personally get people drinks.

As things start to wind down, those who are in deep conversations continue - those who are not, start to clean up.

Optional Ideas as Things Wind Down

Any good news - Ask the group if they had anything happen recently that they are celebrating. Ask the kids too.

One prayer need - If it looks like everyone attending are believers, offer to pray for one specific request. "Does anyone have an urgent prayer need that’s on your heart?" Get the kids involved!

Game time - Sometimes people feel more comfortable if invited to connect over an activity that’s easy to jump in an out of like: cornhole, spike ball, a quick card game, catchphrase if you want to do a group game.

Whenever you have an obstacle or a frustration or a confusion emerge around this rhythm, ask how you can improve it instead of giving up.

Is this a rhythm you feel ready to try?

Write out a plan and discuss with your spouse and anyone currently doing life with you, and begin to create an environment for people to experience the front porch of the kingdom community that God is building through your home.

Need some coaching?

We'd love to to provide coaching for your household and help you on your journey toward seeing a healthy kingdom community emerge in your home.

Check out our coaching intensive, A House For Community for more information and to apply!

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