Over the past few years, we've had a lot of change and new faces in our congregation. "Meet, Greet, and Eat" events have helped create new connections as we practice the spiritual gift of hospitality. Leading up to the event people can sign up to be either "guests" or "hosts" for a meal. Matches are then made and sent out along with contact information so that details can be coordinated. On the date of the event the hosts host guests for a meal in their home.
This type of event is fairly easy to coordinate and can be done with a small or large number of participants. Below are some resources and directions if you'd like to try do something similar in your context. If you give it a try, I would love to hear how it goes. I'd also be curious to hear what your church is doing to create opportunities for connection and community building this year!
Planning a Meet, Greet, and Eat Event
Preparing for the Event
- Select a date for the event (we picked a Sunday lunch after church). Determine a cut off date for registering for the event that gives adequate time to make and send out matches (we had a cutoff date of the Monday before and sent out the matches on the Tuesday before)
- Create promotional materials & sign up forms for the event (Facebook and Instagram graphics attached for a Fall event - we also have Christmas, Spring, and Summer graphics that can be shared for others to use - all graphics designed by our summer intern using Canva). We ended up using a combination of digital and paper sign up options, making paper sign up forms available after church for several weeks before the event.
- Ensure event is advertised and listed in all the places your church uses to communicate events along with details on when and how to sign up (in service announcements, social media platforms, website, bulletin boards, newsletters, bulletins, etc.)
- Collect sign ups in one spot as they come in and send out a quick note to those who register via paper registration form to let them know that their registration has been received and update them as to when they can expect to receive their match.
- Go through the registrations and start matching up guests with hosts based on who may enjoy connecting with each other. It may be helpful to have two or three people who know the church well do this together. A few things to consider when making matches:
- Age of children
- How close people live to each other (geographic proximity can make for an easier connection)
- How well people may already know each other - part of the goal is to create new connections and try to match people who may see each other on Sunday mornings but don't know each other well
- Send out an email to connect people to each other and share contact information
After the Event
- Send out a follow up email to hosts & guests thanking them for participating and getting feedback on what went well and what could be improved for the next time the event is offered.
Wording for Event Announcement
Reconnect with old friends and meet some new ones! Choose to be a host or a guest and we will pair you up with other congregation members. Hosts will host the guests at their place for lunch on [DATE]. Once you are paired, we will connect you with your group over email and you can coordinate with your host/guest(s) on any specifics you'd like to discuss. Please sign up by Monday [DATE], matches will be sent out Tuesday [DATE].
You can register online here: [LINK]
Email to Connect Matches
Subject: Meet, Greet, and Eat Connection!
Thank you for signing up to be a part of Meet, Greet, and Eat this Sunday. We’re looking forward to the new connections meeting, greeting, and eating together will create!
We've paired you together for lunch after church on Sunday, [DATE]. [Host Names] will be hosting [Guest Names] for lunch.
[any allergies or special details]
You now have each other's contact info so you can discuss any specifics before your meeting. Hosts, please share your address and what time you'd like the guests to arrive and any other specific details, including if there's anything you'd like them to bring. Guests, please share if there are any other details it would be helpful for the hosts to know or check in if you have any questions!
As a reminder, if anyone is feeling unwell or sick please cancel or reschedule for another date.
We hope this lunch will be a wonderful experience for every one of you!
Subject: Meet, Greet, and Eat Feedback
Thank you for participating in the Meet, Greet, and Eat opportunity this past Sunday! We hope this lunch was an enjoyable experience for you, and maybe that you got to know someone you hadn’t known that well before!
We wanted to reach out and ask if you have any feedback for us for future events like this. We’d love to hear how it went and if you have any suggestions to make it better!
If you'd like to participate again, the next Meet, Greet, Eat event is scheduled for after church [DATE] and you can sign up here: [LINK TO NEXT EVENT]
Thank you again for participating,