Over 20 years ago, Will and I started Austin Christian Fellowship. As the church grew, I started to miss looking across the aisle and knowing people’s names ~ and their stories. I had this idea of having the whole church over for dinner so I could recapture the intimacy of the early days in the life of our church.
So I started inviting people over one table at a time …
When people would come over to our house, they’d sit down and we’d have a simple meal. And Will and I would ask them questions. About their life. And their loves. And where they were with God.
The vision for what we were doing in our home, with our church – is straight out of the book of Acts.
It’s Acts 2:46 and it says:
They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts.
Because of this, I called our dinners – 246 dinners.
These 246 dinners, only happened one table at a time. But over the course of many years – we sat down with literally hundreds of people at our family table and experienced some truly amazing things.
Here’s what I learned at our 246 dinners. It wasn’t about my cooking or how clean and pretty my house was that made a difference. It was the act of inviting people in, making them a part of our family – and the Church – by talking and wondering about God in a bigger way.
I had no idea the impact those 246 dinners would make. No idea how people would be changed by a simple dinner and deep questions about God.
There was the 64 year old man at our table, when asked, ‘What’s your God story?’ realized he didn’t have a God story. But he wanted one. There was the 20 year college student who sat in astonishment listening to questions and answers, realizing he never once talked with his parents about God at the table. And the young mom, who broke down in grateful tears because she understood for the first time how God had been affectionately stalking her for years.
Those meals. And those questions. They changed me too. Because of the connection and vulnerability experienced with those people in my home.
I have learned people want to think about God out loud – but they’re not always sure how to do it or where to do it. And mostly, they’re intimidated. But at the table, over food, there’s this ease.
The table is a beautiful place to talk about Jesus.
I would love for you to have that kind of connectedness with the women in your community. I want you to have those Acts 2:46 moments. So I want to invite you to be a part of a ministry I’ve been blessed to lead with my new friend, Shauna Niequist, over at IF:Gathering.
It’s called IF:Table
IF:Table is a place to share a simple meal and dive deep with people over life stories and Christ centered conversations. It’s a place to find time connectedness with the women in your community.
We’re inviting you to host a dinner with us at IF:Table once a month in your local communities.
The vision is really simple. It’s just
Your challenge is to invite 5 women over for dinner. They can be neighbors up the street you’d like to know better. Or the people in your carpool group. They can be 5 college girls you know need a warm meal and home away from home. You invite them over for dinner and for 2 hours discuss 4 questions about God and life.
Shauna and I are going to provide some recipes for inspiration at IF:Table. And we’re going to give you those 4 questions to help you have deep conversations about God at your table.
It’s going to be an amazing time in community around this IF:Table … because really, we’re going to be gathering together from all over the country and the world!
So if you’re ready for the next step, head over to IF:Table for all the information. I’ll see you there!
And y’all. Please check out IF:Equip … a weekday study of the Bible with women like Jennie Allen, Jen Hatmaker, Ann Voskamp, Christine Caine and so many more!