Gone are the days when Christian Reformed people would routinely visit with fellow church-goers over a big Sunday dinner in someone’s home.
“It’s a busy world,” said Marilyn Bouwer, a long-time member of Bradenton (Fla.) Christian Reformed Church. “It doesn’t seem like people visit as much as they used to.”
So Helen Evanson, hospitality committee chair at the church, came up with a plan for their members to be more intentional about hospitality.
Evanson started Dinner for 6 + 2. Couples and singles sign up, and she organizes them into groups of six. The group takes turns meeting in different people’s homes for a meal. At each meeting, the host has the option of inviting two additional people.
“Some suggestions for the ‘plus 2’ include new visitors to our church, neighbors, or anyone you’d like to introduce to your church friends,” stated the sign-up flyer.
Bradenton CRC has an interesting mix of long-time church members who know everything about each other and an influx of new members who have a need to get to know the church.
“People were very friendly, but we didn’t know each other very well,” said Barb Woodburn, who joined the church about five years ago.
Many of the newer members have signed up for the dinners. “It has helped people new to the church to feel at home here,” said Evanson.
Long-time members like Bouwer have been enthusiastic participants as well—she and her husband have participated in all seven of the 6+2 dinners that have been held so far. “I highly recommend people opening their home,” Bouwer said. “You can get [non-believers] to come to a home more easily [than to a church building.]”