Mealtimes are some of the most valuable and underutilized times in a pastor’s schedule.
I think I sensed that intrinsically, but Keith Ferrazzi helped me understand its full importance in a book titled Never Eat Alone—and I would recommend it highly. He’s obviously coming at it from a corporate and networking standpoint. However, his value for people comes through. For pastors, the book is easily adapted to the realm of ministry.
I eat alone sometimes, but not often. Those six hours a week (one and a half hours, four days a week), are too valuable to spend alone.
It’s not that I don’t like being by myself. In fact, I kind of love it. But, I am an extrovert who enjoys being around people—and I’ve found I can get more pastoring done during lunch times than I can on a Sunday.
There’s something about sharing a meal together that opens the door for good conversation, and I can’t tell you how much simply eating breakfast or lunch with someone has blessed our church over the years.
Some of the deepest partnerships and best ideas have come out of those simple gatherings.
It’s not about “networking”—though there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s about enjoying people.
1. Staff members.
Our staff team eats lunch together virtually every Monday. I’ll also try to spend some one-on-one time with each staff person once a month.
For those of you with larger church staffs, this obviously doesn’t scale. So, just use common sense. Ditto this for your elders if you have them. It’s well worth the energy to spend time here.
2. Members of the church.
I try to schedule at least one of these per week. It may be there is something we need to discuss.
More than anything, it’s just trying to bless people with genuine care and fellowship over a meal. People are so much more open between the Sundays—it’s a great time.
Sometimes, people will ask me. Most of the time, I simply ask them.