It is important for believers to break bread together. It is important for believers to reflect the great Creator by being creative with the dishes they bring to house church. It is important to look at the dinner as a way to serve one another and to really enjoy each other’s presence.
God created us to be in complete and total fellowship with Him, because He has perfect fellowship with Jesus and the Holy Spirit. We crave this type of fellowship with other believers because of how God created us. Saying that you do not desire community or fellowship as a believer indicates where your heart is and your separation from the Father. One of the great ways that Apex Community Church gives an opportunity for believers to create this fellowship is through a network of house churches. These smaller, more intimate gatherings allow for life-on-life discipleship and bring glory to God through spending time together, encouraging one another and teaching the Word.
A huge part of a house church meeting is the dinner. This typically happens at the beginning of the meeting. Members bring dishes to share with each other and then the house church follows the example set for the fellowship of believers in Acts: “And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God” (Acts 2:46-47a). I spoke with a BeACON (the “e” is silent, so yes the house church is called BACON) house church leader, Josiah, about the dinners in order to learn what goes into the planning, why house churches bother to have dinner and what he has learned from participating in and helping plan these dinners.
Josiah has been involved in multiple house churches since early 2010 and now helps lead the BeACON house church (and yes, this house church loves to have breakfast for dinner as one of their regular meals). Josiah does not mince words when it comes to house church dinners, but speaks frankly and honestly by saying that they are pretty annoying to plan: “House church dinners can be one of the most frustrating things about being a shepherd. Everything about it is annoying. You have to navigate the minefield of different dietary requirements, tastes, moral dilemmas, picky eaters. Then there is the whole contributing factor . . . Then there is the whole chaos of trying to bring together all the different parts of a meal from a salad to a protein to a dessert.”
As a house church member myself, I can totally relate to what he is saying. Sometimes there will only be one dessert for twenty people, or another time everyone will bring bread. As a culture that really centers our days around food, we need to be conscious, creative and generous when it comes to breaking bread with our close Christian community. This includes making accommodations for members with dietary restrictions and making sure the theme for next week is decided before leaving the current meeting so people have time to plan. Without semi-careful planning and very careful thinking about how you can serve others with your dish, the dinner will be haphazard at best. Josiah touched on this point as well: “You just need to show up with something that says you care about your family and you want to have fun eating with them. A meal where everyone brings their best leads to an attitude that spills over into content. You participate, you bring something, you put some thought in it. You don’t disparage someone else’s offering. You enjoy each other’s presence.”
I asked Josiah if he had a favorite house church dinner embedded in his memory, and he said that a Lord of the Rings theme was really fun--people contributed things in the shape of circles, fish - and he brought pints of ice cream. He also said that they spent a couple months on Sesame Street: “This week’s dinner is brought to you by the letter ___.” This is an idea that I am going to have to share with my house church!
It is important for believers to break bread together. It is important for believers to reflect the great Creator by being creative with the dishes they bring to house church. It is important to look at the dinner as a way to serve one another and to really enjoy each other’s presence. At Apex, we have been blessed with an amazing community of believers and a great way to experience that community is through becoming part of a house church and eating a meal together.
Author: Elaine McKinley