Plan a back yard BBQ that includes the entire corps family. This will emphasize the importance of gathering around the table for fellowship as suggested in Hebrews 10:24, 25, “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of His return is drawing near.”
Prayer and Refreshments
Scripture – Hebrews 10:24, 25
Devotional—“Gathering Around the Table”
“Come, Let us all Unite to Sing, God is Love”
The Salvation Army Song Book #8,
If possible, hold this program outdoors. Find a picnic spot, or host this in the back yard of one of the women’s homes. If this is difficult, create an outdoor experience inside.
Indoor/outdoor decorations can be as simple as covering the tables with plastic red or checkered red and white tablecloths. Other ideas:
- String lights across the ceiling to create a starry night atmosphere.
- Place plants and garden pots around the room.
- Set small flower arrangements on each table.
- Place balloons at the tables.
- Create signs identifying the refreshments.
- Decorate a chalkboard listing the games listed.
- Place homemade cookies in jars as favors for the women to take home.
Use the grill for hot dogs or burgers, with watermelon and cake for dessert.
Games for Everyone
Set up games that everyone can play. Consider having an area with games for the younger children who might find the regular games too strenuous.
- Potato sack race
- Bean bag toss
- Three–legged race
- Hula hoop contest
- Egg and spoon race
- Ring toss
For other suggestion check the Internet. Following are a couple of sites:
Award medals or certificates for the winners of the various games. Medals can be purchased from the Oriental Trading Company for as little as $4.99 per dozen. For the younger children certificates of participation could be awarded so that everyone is recognized.
Gathering Around the Table
Gathering around the table may seem like a foreign concept these days. And yet, it is something that is incredibly important in building relationships, having open forms of communication and simply keeping the family together. When I think of this concept, I think of the many times I gathered around our family table as a child. I remember the importance of our meals together. I remember waking up and sitting around the table for breakfast as we shared in our first interactions of the day. I remember our evening tea times when at the end of a long day we gathered around the table to share conversation and participate in family devotions. The idea that gathering around the table began and ended our days was important to our family. In fact, it was sacred. I now have a family of my own and I’ve been given the opportunity to continue in that same tradition. This is not a new concept, as its importance is scriptural.
In the Old Testament we read of numerous accounts of God’s people gathering together as a part of Israel’s offerings and festivals. In the New Testament, we take our lead from Jesus who not only gathered around the table of friends but also sinners. We read in Luke 19:1, 2, 5 the story of Zacchaeus: “Jesus entered Jericho and made His way through the town. There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich. When Jesus came by, He looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. ‘Zacchaeus!’ He said. ‘Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.’”
God calls us to fellowship with one another. It is an imperative aspect of our calling as Christians. We read in Hebrews 10:24, 25, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the day approaching.”
Gathering around a table allows us to encourage each other and to share the Gospel with unbelievers. It helps us to set aside the mundane things and enter into deep conversation of importance. It encourages us to get a better perspective of others as they share their stories and concerns. Gathering allows us to see the Father who longs to be with us and to celebrate His presence. Unfortunately, sitting around the table these days can often seem trivial, as the busyness of the day tends to take over those sacred moments. And yet, I believe God is calling us to gather despite our busyness. One day we will gather with our Heavenly Father and all the saints in Glory, but until then what better way to gather than to take our place as a family around the table speaking of God’s love. So will you gather around the table?