Have you ever wanted to talk to your friends on a deeper level about things OTHER THAN school, work, the kids, the latest movie, or as a last resort...the weather?
Why not INVITE GOD TO DINNER? “Dinner Clubs” are simply parties with good friends where God is part of the conversation. A few years ago, I asked the priest who brought me into the Church if he would be willing to give short and thought provoking talks over dinner. I had a few neighbors and friends that I believed might enjoy hearing him and was hoping that getting together on a regular basis would be a great way to build community.
At first we met six times a year around a holiday. Then we decided to start the GEORGETOWN DINNER CLUB and meet each month. We now invite different priests to come and give talks, mainly about marriage and family and to share helpful spiritual tools that make life work.
The results have been wonderful! No surprise... the women have formed deep and lasting friendships. But an even greater accomplishment is this-- so have the men! We all leave feeling uplifted and encouraged and have had lots of fun in the process. It has been so inspiring that new groups are starting to form from the original first one and so the love is spreading from friend to friend and family to family.
The holidays are a great time to start these kinds of Dinner Clubs. People are so in need of LASTING PEACE, LOVE and JOY around the holidays and because it is a holiday party, it gives everyone an "excuse" to try it. These dinners give us the opportunity to give the best gift of all to our friends- our love of God.
Don’t just entertain this season… join us in the INVITE GOD TO DINNER INITIATIVE! BE BOLD! You never know who will say yes! And whether it is once a month or once a season, you will never regret throwing a party and having GOD as your guest of honor.
How do you do it?
Choose a spiritual topic that will be of interest to you and your group--something encouraging or equips you for dealing with life. Keep the topics positive and Christ-centered. Marriage and family are always a draw, or if you are single think about topics that encourage you. (See Dinner Club Tab for topic ideas.)
Invite a priest or another qualified speaker to prepare a 15 minute talk on the topic you’ve chosen. [He/she may have topic suggestions as well.]
Pray and then make a list of people you think might want to come for dinner: couples or singles, but friends and acquaintances you feel inspired to encourage and share the love of God with. Be bold! You may be surprised who says YES! (A snappy invite is always helpful- try evite http://www.evite.com or paperless post https://www.paperlesspost.com.)
Enjoy dinner together (either provide it or make it a potluck... or even go out together. You will need a quiet/private room). During dessert have your speaker stand up and share for about 15-20 minutes on your topic.
When the speaker is finished, invite those who would like to speak to share something that they felt was enlightening about the talk they just heard. Lead with questions that are positive and encouraging, such as: “Please say one thing you love about your spouse” or “How did you first meet and fall in love?” or “What are things your family does to encourage one another?” or “How do you get your kids to go to church?” or "What is your love language?" (Touch, Words of Affirmation, Time, Gifts, or Acts of Service).
After about 15-20 minutes have the speaker close with a prayer.
The Dinner Club concept is so simple! As the group bonds, you may also do things together outside Dinner Club, like feed the homeless, Christmas Carol, help a neighbor in need, or volunteer together at Catholic Charities.
The Dinner Club is a wonderful and positive way to build each other up in the Lord and create loving community and family ties with other families. Here is a little encouragement from St. John Paul II:
"Now more than ever, in a world that is often without light and without the courage of noble ideals, people need the fresh, vital spirituality of the Gospel. Do not be afraid to go out on the streets and into public places, like the first Apostles who preached Christ and the Good News of salvation in the squares of cities, towns and villages. This is no time to be ashamed of the Gospel (Cfr. Rom 1,16 ). It is the time to preach it from the rooftops (Cfr.Matth 10,27 ). Do not be afraid to break out of comfortable and routine modes of living, in order to take up the challenge of making Christ known in the modern "metropolis". It is you who must "go out into the byroads" ( Matth 22,9) and invite everyone you meet to the banquet which God has prepared for his people. The Gospel must not be kept hidden because of fear or indifference. It was never meant to be hidden away in private. It has to be put on a stand so that people may see its light and give praise to our heavenly Father." St. John Paul II,Denver, 1993
Go to the DINNER CLUB TAB for more information and to read the notes from our last dinner entitled “The 10 Commandments for a Happy Marriage” by Fr. John Hopkins. Perhaps share these with your priest and see about creating your own Dinner Club. You never know whose life you will touch by the simple sharing of a meal in an encouraging atmosphere of love.
God bless your efforts! Let us know how it goes, we will post good ideas and pictures on the Dinner Club tab of this website as we hear about them. My friends Katelin, Maribeth and I are writing a book filled with exciting how to's and inspirations- yours may be chosen to be one of them! To post, go to: firstname.lastname@example.org
“Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.” Luke 24:35
YIPES! The idea of hosting YOU for dinner scares me to death! And yet, You are here every time I sit at a meal or open my door to friends. I just don’t always make a point of acknowledging You. I want to share Your love with others, but I am not sure how they will take it. Please take all of my nerves, fears and inadequacies, and let me place them at Your feet. Give me the grace to be BOLD and step out in love and in trust that, if You inspire me to do this, YOU will enable me to do it! May it all be to Your great glory and for the love of You and my neighbors, because the greatest gift I can give You is loving them, and the greatest gift I can give them... is loving You.
I ask this in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.