A little while ago, I wrote on the power of food as it relates to being formed into community. Because of our technological age, which is premised on easy everywhere, we have somehow become less connected. Authentic, transformative relationships seem harder. One of the most beautiful aspects of eating together is in the mutual recognition of the beauty in each and every person.
Because of our technological advances and the celebration of human ingenuity, another issue we face is our hubris in thinking we are in a much better place than people before us because we don’t need to rely on each other as much. This can especially be seen in how we approach food. For most of us living in developed countries, food is easy everywhere. We can go to a myriad of not only restaurants but also grocery stores and purchase almost anything our hearts desires.
But in eating together, we are reminded that this is so far from the truth. As we come to the table we are reminded of our call to live lives of mutual submission and interdependence with one another. In her recent blog post, Gina pointed out that a great way to have more fun as a small group, and get people to show up, is to eat together. After all if I bring the chips, and you bring the salsa, we sort of need each other. Not to mention that it is impossible to have a potluck by yourself.
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Eating together not only reminds of us our connectedness with the people around the table, but eating, in general, reminds us of our dependence on all of creation, from the land to the animals to the farmers to the food distributors. This small sample does not even consider the plethora of people who made the equipment for us to cook with. Norman Wirzba describes it this way, “To offer food to another expresses a profound insight into the gifted and interdependent character of the human condition.”
Here is one fun way to practice and illustrate this profound reality with your small group: Have a stone soup party. The idea is that everyone contributes one item for the soup, but the kicker is that you do not coordinate what people bring. Some people might bring vegetables, some meat, some beans, some, who knows what. But the idea is to work together to create something unique, whole, and tasty out of the diversity and uniqueness of each ingredient.
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