Launch Pad 21: Run a “Meal with a Message” Event

Recent decades have seen the relentless march of coffee shops through our high streets. What accounts for their popularity? One of the co-founders of Starbucks once said his vision was for it to be a “third place”—neither home, nor work, but a place to linger in between.

There are loads of other such third places—pubs, cafes, curry houses—and your community probably has one or more. And they’re great places for evangelism. We live in a time when many of our non-Christian friends have no experience of church and can be suspicious about entering into “our” space: so let’s go to their space!

Over the years at Solas we’ve helped many churches put on low-key evangelism events in neutral venues. One church in Inverness ran a meal in the local hotel: church members invited friends and it was packed to capacity. After the dinner there was a short talk and lots of people later signed up for the Alpha Course.

More recently, Andy Bannister helped a church in St. Alban’s organise an event in a golf club. Again, food was served, then Andy spoke on “Finding Hope in a World of Chaos”. One guest said afterwards “this was a fantastic evening … I really enjoyed the talk”. Another said to the Christian who’d invited them that they’d love to do The Word-One-to-One.

How do you run an event like this well? Here are some principles we’ve learnt over the years:

  1. Book a local venue that serves food (either a meal, or coffee and dessert etc.)
  2. Advertise that there will be food plus a short talk.
  3. Consider selling tickets in pairs: Christians can then buy a ticket for a friend.
  4. Keep the talk short and relevant.
  5. Have Q&A afterward.
  6. Use the event to launch e.g. a Christianity Explored or Alpha Course.

Just like the Christians found in the book of Acts, when we go where people are, God shows up!

And if you need help, reach out to us at Solas; we can offer advice, ideas, and if you need it, supply a speaker for your event!

Prayer: Lord, please inspire us at our church to reach out of our four walls and put on an event in a ‘third space’. Thank you that you’re the missionary God who goes before us. Amen!

Previously: Launch Pad # 20 Host a Pre-Marriage Course, Meet and Serve non-Christian Couples

Next: Launch Pad #22 Get the Word Out!