Potluck dinners are quite common to have at church. Years ago we scheduled them on a monthly basis at our church, but over the past few years we’ve discovered how nice it is to have potlucks every week. Church potluck meals, sometimes called potluck dinners, fellowship meals, or just potluck for short, have a lot of advantages. Of course, the most apparent one is that it provides a free, nutritious meal for anyone who’d like it but if you look a little deeper you can find that there is more going on at a potluck than you may think!
Church potluck dinners have a lot of advantages other than just eating. Although eating should be a pleasurable experience, when it’s coupled with the wholesome environment of the church, it can really be a blessing for your entire congregation. If your church does not have regular potlucks, here are some great reasons why you might want to reconsider.
1-It gives everyone an opportunity to participate
Potluck dinners certainly are a way to get the church members to participate in a common effort. Even those who don’t feel comfortable cooking the food can bring other items to the potluck, such as seasonings, napkins, paper towels, baggies, fresh vegetables (you don’t have to cook those!), bread, plastic ware, etc. Everyone can contribute something, even it’s just setting up tables or helping to clean up afterwards.
2-It’s a good chance to get to know members
How often do you attend church week after week and find out that you really don’t know everyone there? We spend several hours in different worship services once or twice a week but after that we often spend little time getting to know each other. Potluck dinners are a get way to get to overcome that. Make it a point to sit with different members each time you have your potluck dinner. Give yourself a chance to truly interact with those you may not be close to.
3-It’s a chance to get to know your visitors
One of the main reasons we started having weekly potlucks was to provide a way for our visitors to have a hot meal before they leave. The potluck meal is been another way to help them feel welcome. It shows them that yours is a caring congregation. Never neglect an opportunity to sit with your visitors and eat with them. Engaging in conversation with them is a great way to witness to them and make new friends.
4-It provides an opportunity to work together
Potluck dinners require sharing and giving, both individually and collectively. Although there may be a only few people who are responsible for organizing the dinners, everyone gets to work in a cooperative way and it benefits all. We make a schedule so we know exactly who is on “kitchen duty” for the week, but many other church members bring food each week just to help out. We’ve just learned to work together to make sure there is enough food for everyone.
5-It’s a learning experience
One thing for sure that you will find at any church potluck is good variety of food. This can be a good learning experience, as we often share cooking tips and recipes among us. Sometimes we have thematic potlucks. For example, we might choose a day to just have “Soup and Salad”, or we might decide on an all-Mexican cuisine. Many of our church members are vegetarian and some even adhere to a vegan diet. This challenges the members to not only be creative in what they prepare but it also teaches us to explore new menu ideas and learn what may or may not be appropriate for certain menus.
6-It helps provide for unity among the members
Christ expects His children to be loving and united. A potluck dinner brings us together as a family, a united body. Although our cultures, backgrounds and experiences may be all different, the goal is for us to be one family, united in the Spirit. This is how the church grows. This is what makes us strong. A potluck is just one of many ways that brings us together as one.
7-It provides a meal for someone who may really need one
You’d be surprised how many people may walk through your church doors and be truly grateful that you are offering a meal after the worship service. People come from all walks of life and the church should always be a place they can come for help and encouragement. Never think of the weekly potluck as just another meal. It truly is a ministry in its own right.