“How can we help busy women form meaningful, Christ-centered connections with one another?”
That was the question several women’s ministry leaders pondered together at a leadership lunch last week. As we talked about creative ways to set the stage for women to build supportive relationships with one another, it reminded me of the seed of a great idea I’d seen at a church in Austin, TX. It may be something that your women’s group might want to try as you plan for the upcoming year.
Connection Event: Surprise Suppers
Here’s how it works: Several hostesses are enlisted to prepare and serve a simple supper for 5 to 7 women. It’s held in the hostess’ home on a designated evening that’s Surprise Supper night.
Attendees sign up in advance to participate in Surprise Supper night, with a registration deadline several days prior to the evening so that an adequate number of hostess homes are prepared. (If a woman is reluctant to attend alone or wants to bring a guest, the option of signing up with a friend to take part in the evening can be helpful. Those who sign up together go to the same host home for dinner.)
Women meet at the church at 6:00 on the evening of the event to receive instructions, including directions to the home where they’re going for dinner.
Supper groups may be determined by either randomly drawing names the evening of the event or pre-assigning women to a home. (Pre-assignments may be shared with hostesses or may be kept as a surprise to both the hostess and her guests.)
When participants gather at the church at 6:00, attendees receive a card that says something like this: Welcome to Surprise Supper! You are going to 123 Smithton Street (map included). The phone number is 123-4567 if you need additional instructions. Supper starts at 6:30. See you there!
- Women going to the same location may want the option to carpool from the church to the host home.
- This event may be free or a small donation for the hostess (to defray the cost of the food) may be requested.
- There’s no agenda other than sharing a meal and having conversation that builds connections between women.
Romans 12:13b simply says: “Practice hospitality.”
Surprise Supper is a creative approach to help women practice and participate in the gift of hospitality. In the process, they get to experience meaningful, Christ-centered connections in an intimate, in-home setting.
I’d love to hear if your group gives this a try. . . and of any creative twists you add to the event!