“[Jesus’] mission strategy was a long meal stretching into the evening”.
Sharing the gospel over food is a time-tested part of Christian ministry - beginning with our creator who came to eat with people like us!
Luke’s gospel is full of stories of Jesus eating with others. Jesus shows that meals are about more than food. He uses meals to display community, friendship and welcome, especially to those considered to be beyond the reach of God. This way of doing ministry also points to a greater welcome and hope beyond this world: a future kingdom which includes a banquet (Rev. 19:9).
What is a Meal with a Message?
A Meal with a Message is a chance to invite your friends over for dinner and discuss faith in Jesus!
We want to offer hospitality because we know that we have ourselves experienced a generous welcome from God. But it’s also a meal with a purpose. It’s the chance to share something of Jesus and our faith with a view to inviting friends to ask questions or discover more.
Meals with a Message are a particularly great opportunity to share the gospel with other science students, as they allow you to address some of the more niche questions about faith that your coursemates might have. It would be easy to host one with other Christians on your course, or with your Science Network Hub or Impact Group!
Excitingly, you can tailor the message aspect of your evening to the topics that your guests care about. Are your coursemates all eco-warriors, or sci-fi nerds? Why not have a message element that connects the gospel to the things they value?
There are different ways to deliver the message. Here are some ideas:
Give your testimony
Since your guests know you, an easy way in would be to share with them how faith in Jesus has changed your life. Perhaps you could talk about how knowing God transforms the way you approach science. Watch Sam Chan’s ‘How to share your story’ for pointers!
Watch a video
If you want something a bit more neutral to discuss together, or there’s a particular question you want to address, you could watch a video. Take a look at these videos exploring entropy and meaning or making sense of suffering, or check out the short conversation starters from the Science & Eternity project.
Invite a guest
Is there a Christian lecturer on your course, or a scientist in your church who you’d love your friends to meet? Invite them along and ask them to deliver a 5-10 minute talk after dinner, with space for Q&A during dessert.
Hosting the meal and inviting friends
Once you’ve decided on a message, the meal should be fairly straightforward to organise! Here are a few things to think about as you consider the practicalities.
If your house/flat/halls doesn’t have enough space, try asking someone else in the CU if they’d be willing to host.
It doesn’t have to be gourmet! Remember that recipes with less time in the kitchen will mean you get to spend more time round the table (slow cookers are your friend here). If you are worried about cooking or have few facilities to cater, just order a takeaway.
Pray about who to invite. Your lab group maybe, or some friends from a society? If you’re hosting a meal as a Hub or with a Christian friend on your course, you can each invite a few friends and enjoy getting to know new people. It’s worth having at least one other Christian from CU come if possible, so you can do mission as a team!
Be personal: let friends know why you would love them to be there. It’s important to be clear in your invitation that there will be a talk or discussion, rather than surprising people with a gospel message that they weren’t expecting. Here’s an example of how you might invite someone:
“Hi James! I keep thinking about what you said in our conversation about [topic]. I have a friend who specialised in [that topic] who is in town on Wednesday – I’d love for you to meet her. She’ll be sharing about how she approaches it as a Christian. Come to my house! I’ve invited Jonny and Grace from [our course] too. I’m making pizza bases, so just bring your own toppings.”
Just get in touch with your Staff Worker or the Science Network Coordinator, who would love to pray for you and offer any support.