We’ve been receiving more great questions lately, so I thought I’d share a few of them here in another FAQ round-up:
Where do you gather for worship?
In July of 2018 we started living into a pop-up model of gathering, changing our location from time to time. To find out where we are gathering this week, check out our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MadisonvillePotluck/.
What should I wear to a Potluck worship?
Most of us seem to come to worship in comfortable, casual clothes. Some of us come directly from our workplaces, so we come in our work clothes, whatever they may be. This week I wore my church camp t-shirt and jeans. Someone else wore a plaid shirt and khakis because he had come directly from a meeting. Another wore her work attire of a dressy shirt and dress pants. Others wore t-shirts and jeans.
Where else can I read more about Potluck Church?
This weekend I was at Christmount, in the North Carolina mountains, for a gathering with ordained and lay Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) church leaders from the southeastern United States. At almost every meal someone asked me about what goes on at Potluck Church. So, maybe it’s time to do another FAQ round-up. Here are quick responses to three questions:
What do people bring to eat?
Potluckers bring what they can or want to bring. Some quickly grab fresh fruit or vegetables from the market. Some have their crockpot work all day to create a great soup or stew. Some make old family recipes or their favorite casseroles. Some pick up drive-through pizzas or bags of tacos. Some make big dishes that they would never make for just themselves. Some make treasured comfort foods their moms or dads used to make. Some assemble more than cook. Some deliver more than prepare. We bring what we are inspired to offer.
What is your worship like?
We light a candle, thank God for our food, eat, talk about where we experienced God recently, discuss what God might have for us in a Bible reading, pray for each other, share communion, do dishes together and go home. Hopefully, this blog post on our order of worship (http://www.potluckchurch.com/potluck-church-blog/a-dinner-church-order-of-worship-or-liturgy) gives you a more complete sense of how our worship unfolds. To the right of this post you’ll also see the how-to and hosting categories of the blog. There you’ll find posts that go into more detail. Or better yet, just come visit us!
Is Potluck Church a part of a denomination?
Yes, we are excited to be a church in formation in the Kentucky region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). We are a people of the table who believe in the radical inclusion that the Lord offers us all. You can learn more about the Disciples denomination at www.disciples.org.
As we approach our five-year Potluck Church birthday, it’s amazing to see how many others have joined with us in the dinner church movement. God has made something old new again. Seeds planted and scattered have started to take root, and it’s an honor to get to watch them grow. Many have looked to St. Lydia’s and its planter Emily Scott for inspiration and generous encouragement. Next year, Kendall Vanderslice’s new book, We Will Feast,will offer us a sense of how dinner church has grown and developed in faith and practice over these last few years.
In 2015, Bud Tillinghast started an ecumenical dinner church website and two Facebook groups (one for broad conversations about the historical and theological underpinnings of dinner churches and the other for practical, how-to conversations). If you are just beginning to think about spreading a table for worship in this way, let me encourage you to set aside some time to dive into the deep web of connections that Bud has woven at The Dinner Church Movement Facebook page. You’ll find stories of discernment, wandering, and a wonderful diversity of possibilities for what God might be calling your church’s table to become.
The Dinner Church Movement:https://www.facebook.com/Dinner.Church/
Dinner Church Workshop: https://www.facebook.com/groups/505900006237734/
Kendall Vanderslice: http://kendallvanderslice.com
If you were to visit Potluck Church, you might witness something like this:
[We welcome folks by name and invite them to get a drink.]
Light the Christ Candle
[We ask for a volunteer light the Christ Candle, and we say, “We light this candle to remind us that Christ is with us in this very room.”]
[We invite someone to pray for the meal.]
Fill Plates and Eat
[First-time guests are invited (and sometimes cajoled) to go first.]
Announcements and Birthdays
[When we have no desserts on hand, sometimes the birthday candle gets lodged in a fried chicken wing.]
[We ask, “Where did you experience God since we last gathered?”]
Introduce Topic or Theme for Discussion
Read and Discuss Scripture and/or other materials
[We ask: “What is your prayer?” Prayer joys and concerns are shared, and then a volunteer offers a prayer for all that has been shared.]
Preparation for the Breaking of Bread/Communion Meditation
Breaking Bread (Communion)
[We explain that we’ll rip off a piece of the bread, dip it in the cup, and then serve your neighbor. ]
Words of Institution
Sharing of the Bread and Cup
[Either a volunteer serves as a deacon serving each person around the table, or we simply pass
the plate and cup, serving our neighbor around the table.]
“What do you do when there isn’t enough food?” people sometimes ask about Potluck Church. To date we’ve never experienced that challenge.
The challenge we face is discerning how to faithfully address our leftovers. Some will take their dish home to share with others in their family or to have for lunch the next day. Some will swap a few servings with other potluckers who especially enjoyed their dish. And some nights there is great excitement when a potlucker knows of a neighbor or friend who might benefit from a home-cooked meal, and immediately we all start grabbing our polka dot to-go containers and filling them with servings of an entrée, and veggies, a slice of dessert, and some extra carbs—because who doesn’t need extra carbs when life is challenging? It’s a thrill for us to share this meal will others and to send a message letting them know that we are thinking of them.
Recently after breaking my arm, I was the recipient of polka dot to-go containers of summer gazpacho, corn salad, chia seed chips, and homemade chicken salad. More than an abundant meal, it was a sweet reminder that I was remembered and loved. God bless the leftovers!
Alan Donegan of PopUp Business School recommends asking the following questions before you consider taking out a loan to start a business, and the same questions could serve us well as we consider starting a new ministry:
Maybe you need meeting space, a website, legal services, carpentry, or furniture. Many of these seemingly insurmountable steps in your vision of what you are going to need for your ministry can actually be obtained for free.
Because of the generosity of others, Potluck Church has received free legal services, website design, graphic design software, logo design, business cards, hand sanitizer, paper products, bins, start-up grants, candle lighters, grocery gift cards, leadership training, planter coaching, table decorations, fresh table flowers, and more--all for FREE!
And, thanks to the generous people of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Madisonville, Kentucky, we’ve borrowed over four years of meeting space, dishes, utensils, glasses, Bibles, Wi-Fi, a TV, a dishwasher, tablecloths, tables, chairs, sink, refrigerator space, restrooms, and utilities. (Thanks again, FCC Madisonville! We are forever grateful.)
In the beginning of starting a new church or ministry, it’s so easy to feel like you are all alone in an impossible calling, but the truth is none of us are alone. All around us are gifted people that God is also calling forth to join in the divine work, and when their callings and yours align, God creates an amazing synergy that makes us all greater than the sum of our parts. Lead with a generous sprit willing to share your own talents with others, and start seeking and asking for what you need.
So, can you start a new church or ministry for free? YES, by the grace of God and the gifts of God’s people.
I’ve always admired people who have read the Bible cover to cover. It’s a grand accomplishment that requires disciplined dedication. I’ve started reading the Bible in this way many times, but midway through Exodus my daily discipline turns into an occasional practice that never survives through Leviticus.
A few months ago I heard someone reference the “snowball” model of debt reduction. Basically, the model is that when someone has a list of debts, this model suggests that it’s more effective to pay off the smallest debts (by amount) first. While mathematically a strategy of paying off debts with the largest interest rates first is a solid approach, a new study from researchers at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University found that the emotional motivation gained from paying off accounts through the “snowball” method led to better results long-term. (See http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/news_articles/2012/snowball-approach.aspx.)
This study got me thinking. What if I aimed to read the Bible as a snowball? I googled “Bible reading checklist” and printed off a checklist that has a check box for every single chapter in every book of the Bible. Then I started with the book that had the smallest number of chapters—Jude! In one sitting, I read a whole book of the Bible. Yay! And, instantly, I was hooked. The Bible Reading Snowball is working!
So here is a challenge to you. If you’ve been longing to be a regular scripture reader, consider joining me in the Bible Reading Snowball as we roll from Jude all the way through Psalms. No snow required.
written by Rachel
Set a table, invite Christ and others, leave an empty chair, serve up some powerful questions, and break bread.