Simple Guide To Great Dinner Parties
Jesus’ simple plan to reach the world was to have meals with people who were far from God. We want to be a part of that mission and plan. but we struggle to know how to do it, here’s a short guide to great dinner parties as a part of our BELLS practices here at Redemption Hill
Invites are specific, personal and open.
Great dinner parties start with the courage to step out and say: Would you come eat with me(us)? You have to take some initiative, put yourself out there and see what they say. Almost everyone will say yes, and the vast majority of Americans will never be invited into the home of a non-family member.
Be specific. No one will ever make it to a dinner that is ‘sometime’ but they might show up on Tuesday. Set a date and invite them, if that date doesn’t work, take your calendars out and find a date that will. I like to invite 10-14 days out. It is enough time to plan but not enough time to back out.
Be Personal. Don’t send a group text. Best is in person, next is a phone call, last is a text, never in a group. Tell them why you want them to come to dinner: “Hey, you’re new to town, would love to introduce you to some of our friends”, “We’ve been working together and my wife wants to meet this ‘Jason’ that she is hearing about”, “We are working hard to meet all of our neighbors, and we’d love to have you over.”
Serve dinner at the table.
Now this may sound nit-picky, but buffets are bad for dinner parties. When you go to the counter to serve yourself you are robbing the community of serving one another. You are staggering your eating times and making conversation an optional part of the functional part of getting food in your face. Prepare 2 or 3 courses (Salad, main, dessert) and set one out at a time. pray together as an expression of your family culture, pass the serving plate. This slows down the eating experience and helps conversation flourish.
Make people feel at home.
This may seem intuitive but when they come give instructions for what to do with shoes, take their coats and tell them where you are putting them, point out the bathroom, offer a drink, tell them when you’ll be sitting down to eat and when to expect other guests. Anticipate their needs and care for them like a beloved family member.
Finish the meal prep together.
Don’t be ready to eat when people arrive. Ask them to help set the table. Have them help you put the leaf in the table. Ask them to hold your baby while you finish the food. Being a part of the preparation makes the food taste better and makes people feel less like strangers and more like family. If they offer to bring something, have an idea of what they can bring and ask them for help. People want to participate and this is a great way. We like to ask for drinks, salad or rolls for our guests to bring.
Be intentionally prepared for conversation.
As a host be ready to have things to talk about at the table. Things you and your guests are interested in. Here are some starter suggestions:
What does your work look like week in and week out?
Did you see x-game this week? I was blown away by x.
Did you see that story in the Statesman last week about x, what do you think about that?
Did you grow up here in Boise? Where are you from originally? What did you like about that place? What do you like about the Treasure Valley? What do you not like about the Treasure Valley?
I have been working on this project on my house would you like to take a look?
Stay at the table a long time.
There is something connecting and safe about sitting around a table. We like to clear the table for dessert or wine after the main course. This marks a shift in the evening and keeps us connected around the table. Taking a while to eat is good for the digestive system and even better for building community.
Reading the Scriptures
Learning the Bible in Community
We are learning to follow in the way of Jesus together with regular practices, one of the most important is to learn Jesus, what He said, what He did, and the story of God working through people to accomplish His plan.
The Bible was never meant to be read alone. It was meant to be read and understood as a part of a community. We are joining together in an annual reading plan to read and discuss together what the scripture means.
Download YouVersion’s Bible App on iOS, Android or go to Bible.com, and then click this link: www.redemptionboise.org/read to join the party.
It doesn’t matter where you jump in, just join us on the journey.