What if the attenders of your class could do something that adds no time to their schedules but produces results? What if they simply ate a meal, ate dessert, or drank coffee or a coke with guests? They are going to eat anyway! Why not use that time for God, the class, and the church? Why not invest one meal each month to connect with guests?
In Invite Guests for a Meal, I shared about my experience as a class guest:
My wife and I needed to change to an earlier time for Sunday School. We visited one class for our age group and decided we needed to check out the other one. We were welcomed warmly by the second class. My wife, a middle school math teacher, knew a couple of the ladies. I recognized some faces but knew no one.
Before the lesson started, the class secretary asked if we wanted to join the class. Even though we replied, “not yet,” we both liked being asked. We enjoyed the lesson and interaction with the group. Several took time to speak with us before we left the class.
Then on Monday, we received a call from one of the couples in the class asking if we would like to come over for a meal. I already had a commitment for that Thursday but we were open the next week. We enjoyed a great meal and some delightful conversation. We laughed and shared stories together. We discovered some mutual interests. One of those was a son close to the age of our youngest.
After visiting the class a couple more times, we joined the class. Looking back, we might have joined the class without the invitation for the meal. But the meal provided an important early relational connection (especially for me).
Invite guests to your home. Invite them to restaurants or coffee shops. Invite them for a convenient time for both of you. This could be 6:30 AM for breakfast. Or it could be a quick lunch or a leisurely dinner. Contact with guest to extend the invitation could be in person at the close of class or within 2-3 days. Quick follow up usually helps to keep their interest higher.
During the meal, dessert, or coffee, get acquainted. Ask questions, but avoid appearing nosy. Listen well. Remember potential affinities that are uncovered during the conversation. Share any with other class members if appropriate. Invite them to a class fellowship. Share prayer requests and your Sunday School testimony, if appropriate. Enlist attenders who are willing to eat with guests. Create a rotation so that every guest is cared for, followed up, and invited for a meal, dessert, or coffee/coke.
Then watch your guests return for the second and third time. Watch as they join your class. And don’t be surprised if they also want to invite future guests for a meal! What would you add to this idea in order to make it more effective? Share your ideas and your experiences. Invite. Eat Connect. Care. Grow. Be revolutionary!