Invite them to your home for dinner
Want me to give you some insider information? Lean in close and I’ll tell you……………………..your pastor’s social calendar is not full for the next 10 years. While he/she may be very busy with church obligations there are probably very few scheduled dates that entail breaking bread with a member of the congregation around the family table. At least that was my experience.
When my husband and I pastored a smaller church we were occasionally asked into a church member’s home for dinner. We always (well, usually) jumped at the chance to gather in the person’s home to share food and fellowship. I promise you that I never judged a woman on her cooking skills, the beauty of her table, or the size of her home. We were just happy to spend time with people and to get to know them on a deeper level. We always left feeling loved and encouraged.
We’ve also been at some very large churches. During those years the dinner invitations to join a family in their home were few and far between. Dinners out at a restaurant were more frequent occasions, but not as many as one would think. When talking with other staff members we discovered the same thing. We came to the conclusion that people didn’t issue invitations due to assumptions that we would be too busy to attend or that we wouldn’t be interested in an invitation to join someone in their home. That’s a pity because all of us, whether in a tiny church or in a mega church, are looking for connections with others.
The early church stayed busy visiting from home to home breaking bread together. That’s how the church was built, it’s in our DNA. Yet in our modern churches we seem to have forgotten the importance of fellowship over the dinner table. Sharing a meal, sharing stories, and sharing ourselves builds community. Who doesn’t want to be a part of a community?
Do you hesitate to issue an invitation to your pastor for fear that you would be turned down? Then start off by making yourself known to your pastor. Make a point of speaking to him/her each week. Make a point to talk with the spouse. Show that you are interested in going deeper than a 3-second conversation while walking out the door. Do you have children? Ask the children’s pastor to your home or the youth pastor. Don’t be afraid to ask! Pastors aren’t scary people. They like to eat just as much as the next guy, maybe even more!
I also want to encourage you to keep asking if you’ve been turned down a time or two due to other obligations. Sometimes a spur of the moment invitation works better than trying to schedule a time two, three, or four weeks down the road. Be flexible. Be spontaneous. Even the act of issuing an invitation is an encouraging thing. After all, that’s the point of all of these 52 Ways – to be an encouragement to your pastor.