I read somewhere this week that a primary activity of Jesus was eating with others; good meals with bad people! It got him in a lot of trouble, but it's what he did consistently. He shared meals, time, and love at tables.
Last week we ate together....well! There was no program, just celebration. It takes work, planning, setting up, preparing and cleaning up. When we debrief these church meals, something is always wrong, missing or could be done better. In many ways it's almost easier to not encourage church meals because of the legitimate administrative challenges.
But.... they accomplish so much, as the photo shows. Families who are new to the church stay and sit with others they don't knowyet. College students are joined by a "grandparent" couple and get to know someone outside of their demographic. Kids run around shrieking and squealing and lighting up the air with laughter. People share telephone numbers and emails. They linger in conversations longer than after church on the patio with a quick cup of coffee.
Maybe a new ministry team could be: meal ministry!