I’ll just throw it out there. Here it is. The burning issue of the day. I want this blog to be way ahead of the curve. I want us to tackle this hot topic here before The Christian Chronicle gets hold of it.
“The Growth and Decline of the Church Potluck”
I love a good church potluck dinner. Theologically speaking, I defy you to show me a better way for a church family to live out its divine call to meet, fellowship, encourage, and share. Is there anything better than sharing a common meal in potluck fashion?
What a beautiful church-as-body model. Everyone gifted with different gifts. Everyone bringing their best gifts to the common table. All those different gifts coming together in one extravagant embarrassment of a massive meal. Potlucks celebrate our different gifts. Potlucks recognize our diversity.
What a wonderful church-as-fellowship model. Sitting by and sharing a meal with brothers and sisters with whom you don’t normally spend much time. “Who made this cherry pie?” “Did you get some of this spaghetti thing?” “I have no idea what this is.” It’s amazing to me that younger people blame the older people for what’s wrong with the church and the older people blame the younger. But once we sit down to share a meal together, once we start to visit and talk about our kids and grandkids and vegetable gardens and vacation plans, we realize we’re all on pretty much the same page about almost everything. Potlucks foster unity.
What a wonderful church-as-sacrifice-and-service model. “No, keep your seat, let me go get you some napkins.” “What do you want to drink?” “Have you seen my kids?” “We need help folding up these tables and stacking up all the chairs.” “Let me carry that out to your car.” Potlucks foster Christ-like attitudes of looking to the interests of others.
I love everything—EVERYTHING—about church potluck dinners. We held one here at Legacy two Sunday nights ago. Over 400 people showed up. Tables and tables of food. We could have easily fed 800. There were entire tables of desserts that didn’t even get touched. We ate loudly. Laughing. Hollering across rows. We sang devotional songs together. Again, loudly. Enthusiastically. Something very basic, something very first-century-church about worshipping God together around the tables. We shared communion together. Again, something very, very first-century about eating the bread and drinking the wine in the context of a common meal; remembering our Lord as we consider his body, his church, our brothers and sisters sitting right next to us and across from us.
What’s not to like about the church potluck?
But church potlucks, I’m afraid, are out of style. Of the 400+ at our potluck last week, there was one group of people conspicuously absent: people my age and younger.
We have 80 in our Young Families class. (Don’t make jokes about my being in the young families class. As I recall, my parents kept going to the Young Marrieds class at PGrove even when I was in high school.) And I only counted five from that class who were younger than me at the potluck. There were plenty of singles there and lots of young marrieds without children. But it seems that couples in their 30s with young kids almost completely stayed away.
So, what’s the deal? More than anything, I’m just curious. Is the church potluck, even with all its (according to me, I guess) benefits of positive reinforcement of the Christian values we hold dear, about to disappear? Is it past its prime? Why? I’d like for everyone reading this post to submit some kind of potluck comment. What you like or don’t like about church potlucks. Why you go or don’t go to church potlucks. The good, the bad, and the stuff in that blue dish over there.
For an excellent story on the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly 50 years ago, check out this link. Texas Monthly’s Michael Hall goes back to Clear Lake, Iowa—the site of that last concert and the place from where the plane both took off and crashed—and delivers a comprehensive look at all the events surrounding what he dubs “the first modern tragedy in America.” He interviews people who were at the last show and the man who leased the plane to Holly. It’s a long read. But it’s excellent.
And, belated congratulations to Bob Hayes. I had him on my show from the end zone at Cowboys camp in Austin back in the mid-90s and called him “Bullet Bob” on the air. He corrected me, “It’s Blimp Bob now!” No, no. Hayes will always be the bullet, the world’s fastest human, the man who forced NFL defenses to come up with zone coverages, the original Cowboys #22. Roger Staubach or Don Meredith should introduce his representative in Canton this summer, not sister/half-sister/friend Lucille Hester. That’s eleven Cowboys now in the Hall of Fame. Hopefully Cliff Harris will be next.