“Five Healthy Meals for a Church Planter”
By Ed Compean
Consider the meal. The second statement God made to humanity was about food. Eating was an element in the fall of humanity. Food is was made an Intrigal part of the Passover and Levitical offerings. Jesus dined with sinners, provided thousands of meals and instituted His New Covenant with a supper. We all eagerly await another supper with Him.
Food is fellowship and an important part of church planting. This is played out in numerous ways, but there are at least five healthy meals church planters should partake of.
Once a core group is established and discipleship is happening, make appointments to break bread with the mayor, high school principal and other civic leaders. You will be surprised how many will be willing to at least meet for coffee. Share the vision of the church plant, ask how you can serve the community and be sure to ask how you can pray for them personally.
View this meeting is similar to getting an annual physical from your doctor. You may not have anything wrong, but when there is a need you already have an established relationship. When a civic leader is looking for spiritual leaders, they will already know you.
Unless you are working among an unreached people group, most communities have some type of pastoral alliance or fellowship. If possible, seek them out and eat together.
These men, and sometimes women, will not all have the same philosophy of ministry as you. That’s okay because the suggestion is not to partner in ministry as much as join in prayer for your community. These people will have incredibly valuable insight into the spiritual strongholds and challenges of your community.
Leaders in the Church Plant
Beginning as soon as possible and continuing as often as possible, share meals in homes with the church leaders. Don’t eat out or meet at coffee houses, but make it a point to break bread in homes.
A restaurant is a missed opportunity for true fellowship that is usually only found in a home setting. Being in a potential leader’s home allows interaction and observation family dynamics which will never happen in a restaurant.
Two goals are being reached in having food and beverages after every church gathering. The first is creating an entry point for people to exercise their spiritual gifts as they serve others in hospitality.
The second goal is a simple pause. As people pause to enjoy a coffee or baked good, you and other leaders have an opportunity to engage them before they get into their vehicles. It’s a time people can share a moment and hopefully plan for more time together.
As often as the church plant takes communion they join together to remember the importance of our Lord’s death, burial and resurrection. As soon as the first baptisms are held and the church is formalized, it is time to eat of the Lord’s Table on a regular basis.
It’s important for the church plant to early on understand the language of 1 Corinthians 11 explains the communion meal is to be taken together. It will not only unite the body together with each other, but with Christians around the world and, of course, with Jesus Christ.
Psalm 34 tells us to taste and see the Lord is good. The post resurrection appearances of Jesus always included meals. At the birth of the church they broke bread from house to house. It follows that eating together is strategic in establishing of fellowship and worshiping communities.