Discerning Mission

An Evangelism Experiment - Popup Dinner, Anyone?

Courtney Young is a graduate of Luther Seminary - M.Div. with an emphasis in Congregational Mission and Leadership.  Missional, a Millennial, and a new mother, Courtney shares her thoughts with us here:

The third thing we were to take away from Rethinking Evangelism was an evangelism experiment to actually try, for realz, when we got back home.

Table setting at Twin Cities Popup DinnerAs we were considering what we might do, these words of wisdom stuck out to all of us -- let these experiments be an end within themselves.  Nadia Bolz-Weber shared that early in her career as a church planter, she was wearing herself out trying to put together all these cool outreach events hoping that people would see the coolness of her church community and join them. After exhausting herself, she decided to chill out and let these events be ends within themselves. To me this idea means that you go out into the world and enjoy your faith and enjoy where it leads you. You need to have your faith speak to you before it can speak to others.

So here's my evangelism experiment. Feel free to steal it, but I want to know how it goes. A couple weeks ago, I got to attend the first annual Twin Cities Pop-up Dinner. For those of you who don't know what a pop-up dinner is, it is like a flash mob, but instead of spontaneous dancing or singing, it is a dinner party that pop-ups somewhere in the neighborhood with tens to hundreds of people all wearing white, and it disappears the same day as if it were never there. Even before I had actually attended, I knew that I wanted to do this, but with a church community. Now that I've attended, I am even more excited to try it. 

A guest seated at the table, Twin Cities Popup DinnerWhat excites me about this idea is that it gets people out of the church building and into the neighborhood in a non-threatening way for both neighbors and congregants. I loved the easy multi-generational and interracial aspect of this event. There were people from all walks of life and together they created something magical. I am excited by the creativity and variety that this event encourages. Guests bring their own food and table decorations. At first I thought that this sounded like an awful lot of work for an event that you pay to attend, but now that I have seen the beauty that we created, I would have it no other way. If someone had been in charge of providing for everyone, then we wouldn't have gotten to enjoy each other's visions for the evening. We wouldn't have gotten to see all the different foods and flowers that helped to contribute to the magical fullness of this experience. I fell in love with this event when a man released floating white lanterns into the starry night sky to waft along the Minneapolis skyline. I cannot wait to see what else people might come up with.

What are your experiments? How did they go?     


Photos courtesy of Courtney Young

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