This was a brief entry I wrote for an advent devotional for an organization called Frontier Fellowship. I was asked to write under the title “The world is waiting for community”.
Once a week, my family’s little downtown apartment fills up with people who make me better. I need them. For nearly twenty years, we have hosted and made dinner for our friends and ministry co-workers every Monday night. As the ministry has grown, so has the Monday night dinner crowd. I love them. There aren’t enough chairs for everyone, so people sit on the floor. We eat and talk and it’s a happy chaos. My kids are usually entertaining a few people while everyone waits for me to finish cooking. Someone inevitably spills something. There are loud-talkers, shy corner-seekers, vegetarians, young people, old people, presbyterians, pentecostals, baptists, wine drinkers, teetotallers, students, teachers and artists. We love each other and we’re always getting better at it because we’re following Jesus together. Monday night dinner isn’t only a time to relax together. It’s a chance to spill things and be known together. It’s also an opportunity to extend invitations. There are often new visitors joining us for dinner. And so the group and the ministry grows. Meeting and eating together stirs us to love.
When I read about Jesus at a table with his friends, I think about Monday night dinner. Our group gathers because there are people in the world who haven’t had the opportunity to hear the good news about him. I want people in those places to be as happy as we are at those dinners. The world is waiting for community. Our ministry aims to invite people to our tables from the world’s least reached nations because we love. We train, send and care for missionaries because we love. Dinner together stirs us toward that love.
We need community and the world is waiting for community that loves. If our prayers and hopes are only for our own benefit, maybe they could be stirred up to bigger and better things. Invite others into your life and prayers. Hang out with them and be stirred up by them. Invite them to dinner.
Director – Hillside Missions Organization
Director – World Horizons USA
I love road trips with our teams of staff and interns. We often rent big vans and drive to events for our organization. Here are some of the rules.
1. No human gaseous emissions.
2. No touching, lap-sitting, massaging, head-resting on/with a person of the opposite gender – unless it’s your spouse.
3. No headphones. Be with us.
4. The driver chooses the music.
5. No ketchup.
6. No chain restaurants. We will eat good food.
7. Garbage always goes immediately into a garbage bag.
8. No uninvited backseat driving.
9. No whining.
10. An arbitrary number of good-will points is awarded to those stuck in a middle seat.
- You are not your audience. Everyone does not think like you do. Don’t make bad assumptions.
- Rhyming or starting each point with the same letter doesn’t make your message more memorable. It makes it seem cheap.
- Avoid cliches always. (n.b. We should only get to use some version of “life is a journey” once in our life. Let’s assume you’ve used your chance.)
- We probably don’t ever need you to tell us how the dictionary or “Webster” define anything. Never use any version of the phrase “according to the dictionary…”
- Avoid using “you” when you mean “I”. (e.g. “When someone yells at you, you feel angry.” should probably be “When someone yells at me, I feel angry.”)
- If it’s boring for you to write or say, it’s probably boring for us to read or hear.
- Velveeta is not cheese.
- Don’t use more words when fewer will suffice.
- You can put cream and sugar in your coffee, but you’d be wrong.
- Inspire creativity in yourself by getting out of the ordinary routines. Fill your head with new stimuli and then create.
- Never read from your notes or recite your own words from memory while speaking. Talk naturally through your ideas.
- Never be the hero of the stories you tell.
- Find opportunities to reveal your passion and personality in your speaking. But don’t forget to be gracious.