By Chris DeVille
Over the years I'd heard of home groups in Xenos hosting outreach events called Conversation & Cuisine (C&C), but I'd never considered organizing one myself until Phil Franck and Sherri Fojas asked me to prepare some discussion materials on freedom of speech for use at future C&Cs. The idea with these events is to invite friends who might not be open to attending a Bible study. Instead, you have a dinner party that includes a discussion on a cultural topic of interest Developing materials was a fascinating exercise — I liked the challenge of being thought-provoking but not inflammatory, trying to play the role of the objective moderator while also nudging people to think about the bigger spiritual questions beneath the surface of the debate.
To test out my content, in January I hosted a C&C of my own with some people from my home church. Since we put it together on short notice, rather than a full-fledged dinner we did Desserts, Drinks, & Discussion. In addition to seven workers from our home church, we were able to welcome three non-Christian guests plus a girl who recently received Christ in our group. I had hoped for a bigger event closer to the size of a home church meeting, but I ended up enjoying the intimacy that resulted from everyone sitting around a table together. The discussion was vigorous but not too contentious, and it lasted well over the 45 minutes I had planned for.
In terms of obvious fruit from the experience, God used it to deepen our bond with one of the guests, who had been out to an outreach Christmas party and one home church meeting previously and has attended more social events and Bible studies since then. Notably, one of the other guests was a staunch atheist who'd been out to my college group years ago and was invited to this event by a worker who had no idea of his friend's previous experience with Xenos. It was easy to see how God could use this event as a bridge to help these people dig deeper into spiritual truth and Christian community. I'm looking forward to moderating another C&C with a different home church in February.
To learn more about how your home group can utilize the Conversation & Cuisine model and see sample topics go to xenos.org/outreach/conversation-cuisine.