6 Reasons For Supper Clubs
There is a common experience among many Seventh-day Adventist young adults–perhaps young professionals and graduate students particularly. As they embark on the new phase of life that is more adult than not, they often move to a new town or city and join a new local church. And it doesn’t take long to realize that something is different.
Maybe they are the only young adult at their new church. Or maybe they just left an Adventist mecca where everything was about reaching the young Adventists, and now suddenly that isn’t the focus of their new congregation. Or maybe they were part of a tight knit community of Adventists at a secular university, but find that type of community lacking in their new church “home.”
Resonate with this? Let me share with you a solution to the discouragement that often results from the above scenarios (and many others) that a couple of friends and I stumbled upon a couple of years ago. I had recently moved following my graduation from law school and fell prey to the feeling of isolation in my new town. The solution? Supper club. It worked for us; here is why I think it will work for you too.
It’s a simple reality of life. In order to keep running, our bodies need fuel, in the form of calories, consumed through real food. As young adults, though, we often are too busy/tired/lazy to cook ourselves a good meal–or even go grocery shopping. But we still need to eat, and most people, introverted or extroverted, prefer not to eat alone.
It was discussing this conundrum–the need to eat and socialize versus the business/laziness continuum that my friend Laura and I first thought about having supper together on a semi regular basis. What if we held each other accountable to do a little grocery shopping and eat a healthy meal or two if the reward was we got to eat those meals together ? Thus was born our Breaking Bread Supper Club. As you’ll see in #5, it turns out we hit a nerve with this thought, and our group quickly grew larger than we expected.
2. The easiness factor
But young adults are busy/tired/lazy. We are also frugal (hello student debt, among other financial constraints). So we decided to go all Adventist on our supper club and set it up potluck style.
We created a facebook group, invited friends in the area, found one who was willing to open their apartment for an evening, choose a theme (see #4 below), and asked people to comment on what they were bringing to share when they RSVP’d. Little more than 15 minutes of organization regularly resulted in huge, fabulous meals. We frequently had leftovers that were then saved for Friday night vespers at one of the participant’s local churches.
Having a supper club on a semi-regular basis gives people something to look forward to. And anticipation, my friends, makes life more exciting. This is especially true for those busy young adults. By deciding to host our supper club twice a month, it was scheduled often enough that it was something regular that people could look forward to, but spaced out enough that the club didn’t over crowd our schedules and exclude participation in other activities.
Add to that inspiration links on your invitation for people to get an idea of what they will be sinking their teeth into next time they see each other, and you are assured commitment from your members.
4. Because Supper Club is fun
Our supper club did meals based on themes to help people narrow down their options of what to bring to a particular potluck. Some of our themes included: Soup|Salad|Bread, Pizza Night, Gourmet Veggie Dogs, Paninis, Tex-Mex Night, Breakfast for Supper, and a Thanksgiving Meal.
Seeing what people will bring within the theme is exhilarating (fulfillment of the anticipation!), and you may find it hard not to share what you had for supper. Bring a camera, or use your phone, and snap some shots of your masterpieces. Warning, though, once people see the pictures, they will want in on the action. Your club attendance will grow.
This is not something that we did, but if you are finding your supper club nights to be a success, you may want to start a blog that includes information for upcoming supper clubs, how to join your club, photos from the most recent event, information about your group (how did it get started and why does it exist), resources and recipes, and how to start your own local Adventist supper club.
On a similar note, encourage people to bring recipes for what they prepared. Part of the fun of supper club is being able to relive it when you go back home to eat.
Something about food brings people together, and in our experience hosting a supper club, this was definitely true.
It does not take a lot of people to start. We started with three people, and it grew. Six months later we had at least 16 people who would participate in our club. Because we embraced the potluck style and rotated between people’s homes, each member of our supper club felt invested in and ownership of the club. Once you create that kind of community, amazing things can follow.
Supper club is especially great because it builds community between churches. Our club had representation from at least 2-3 local churches in a 30 mile or so radius. As a result, we created a network between different local churches that both prevented the feeling of “I’m the only Adventist young person around” and promoted collaboration between our local churches.
A supper club may start out as something more “in-reach” focused–making sure fellow Adventist young adults are eating and have a community to be a part of. But as that community is built, your group may realize, good food, good friends–who doesn’t want to be part of that?
You have now created a safe space to bring interested friends to meet other Adventists, allowing them to get to know your foodie friends in a non-threatening environment.
Supper clubs do not need to be fancy. They don’t need a lot of people to start. But the early Christians were on to something when they got together regularly to share a meal, and it had incredible results for the spreading of the gospel.
“So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2:46-47, NKJV