This week’s habit (of the 5 habits of highly missional people) is “E for Eating.”
Once upon a time, there was a young woman in her late 20s. She had not grown up in church; her family was not anti-religion but just one of the many that had no real connections with a church. What we call “un-churched” when we study demographics. Her family, however, did love music, and she had been in the band in high school and had learned to play the clarinet. That will be important in a second.
She had a new job and made friends. One friend was heavily involved in a church and told her that there was a cheap meal to be had on Wednesday nights. She was saving her money, so this sounded like a good idea. She began to go and made further friends. They also had an orchestra, and didn’t she used to play clarinet, and wouldn’t she like to play for them on Sundays?
And so, because they fed her, she went.
It didn’t take long for the messages to begin to sink in. Things she had been resisting all of her life. Giving up control. Depending on something other than herself.
One day, she found that she was asking questions, and the next thing she knew, she was being baptized.
Oh, and eventually she married a minister.
Janica will tell you that if it had not been for food, she would not have gone to that church on Wednesday nights. Not gotten involved. Not become a Christian.
Eating is a communion all on its own. Beyond the ritual we perform in the Lord’s Supper, eating together makes us part of one another. When we grow together, we let down the barriers that keep us from change and are able to share what is important.
Don’t get me wrong, we don’t feed people so that they will come. We feed people because we love them and want to be part of their lives. People can tell the difference between a bribe and gesture of good will.
So, if you want to connect people with Christ, the first thing you have to do is make a real connection with them.
Something as simple as a donut can change lives.