college ministry dinner for 10

This week’s Fridea, as you’ll see, could actually fit multiple purposes. Like any method, the key is deciding what purposes need to be accomplished first – then (and only then) determining your method. So like all Frideas, I urge you to apply this one only if it fits purposes you’ve discerned in your ministry!

(And if you are interested in other random – and often pretty crazy – ideas for college ministries, the whole Fridea list is right here.)

This week’s Fridea? Provide an opportunity for a small group students to attend an evening of eating, conversation and other fellowship with students and even ministry leaders.

I’ve actually heard of this idea – often called something like “Dinner for 10” – in other contexts, and it’s quite flexible, depending on your purposes (see below). To get started, though, here’s is how I originally heard the idea this week (from Abby Goins, a staff member of the ONE28 campus ministry at SMU).

Their idea is to host a dinner at the house of a staffperson, inviting 4-6 “fringe students” who haven’t plugged in to small group involvement yet. Along with those 4-6 students, a handful of well-involved students will be invited to the dinner. The evening might also include games, watching football, or other hangin’ out – all with the hope of bridging students from the edges of the ministry into the “relationship stream.”

Clearly, this is a step beyond an on-campus or post-activity meal. Instead, it gives a common college ministry idea (free food for students) an “upgrade” – in this case, with a little more time, a little more formality, a little more purposefulness, a little more “fanciness,” and an offer that’s a little more surprising.

So there’s the basic idea, which isn’t too shocking but could actually accomplish quite a bit, it seems.

Of course if we explore the edges, we see other possibilities, too.

the edge of who: You could also invite…

  • Any students who want to get to know their leaders better. (A Vice President at Texas A&M used to do this – all you had to do was sign up!)
  • Groups of students to sign up together.
  • Adults – from the church (or local churches) – to eat along with the students.

the edge of where: You could also hold this…

  • At a restaurant – especially one that’s slightly “fancy” or out-of-the-ordinary.
  • At a park (“self-catered” or provided).
  • As a progressive dinner (appetizer one place, meal another place, dessert yet another).

the edge of why: You could also do this for the purpose of:

  • Helping college students mingle with each other (including with the opposite sex) – a method I’ve seen in Young Adult ministry.
  • Helping any students get to know the ministry’s leaders (particularly in a larger ministry).
  • Helping students get to know the pastors (in the case of a church-based ministry).
  • Helping students spend time with adults.
  • Teaching “dinner skills” (known as an “etiquette dinner”); this is important real-world training, particularly for those close to graduating.
  • Holding an intervention. (Just kidding – probably…)

You can also explore the edges of What and When if you’d like, but that’s some sense of how far this Fridea can stretch! Any other ideas?


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  1. Pingback: raising expectations #3: better brainstorming | Exploring College Ministry blog (daily notes about our field)

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