Why the Dinner Church?
Innumerable people live in need or isolation, but they aren’t interested in the traditional church. They’re ready for a fresh expression, an incarnational approach that meets them where they are. People need food, and they need company. That’s why the Dinner Church exists, to step into the need that exists in our neighborhoods for the love and power of Jesus. Ever notice how much of Jesus’s ministry is done at a table?
Interestingly, Jesus’ dinner table theology still works today. There is something very powerful that occurs in lonely people when they are invited to a table full of food that Christ paid for. Many church leaders are finding that when they start serving a Jesus dinner, the room starts to fill up with more isolated people, strangers, and seculars than they have seen in decades. In so doing, a divine spark starts to occur that can only be explained by Revelation 3:20, which makes it clear that Jesus still likes having dinner with sinners. He just needs his followers to set the table.
This is the essence of Fresh Expressions, the expression of incarnational ministry. When people are being fed, being welcomed to a table and cared for, then there is a platform for community, and those who may not know Jesus have an opportunity to learn more. That’s what it’s all about.
About the Collective
The Dinner Church Collective desires to be a meeting point for church leaders who are looking to expand their church into nearby social circles that are presently being underserved by the body of Christ. While the Dinner Church vision finds its theological roots in the house church of the book of Acts and the Agape churches found in the Epistles, its present-day resurgence reveals that this way of doing church still resonates with secular populations–two millennia later.
The Dinner Church Collective feels a strong heartbeat to re-introduce church leaders to the power of a “Jesus dinner table”. They do this by making handbooks and video materials available, by conducting Dinner Church Encounters (which are 1-day training events held in numerous locations across the country), by hosting Seattle Immersions (which are 3-day training experiences held in Seattle for deeper-level observation & training), and by coaching church leadership teams who are facing decline, navigating a season of transformation, or desiring to develop a city-wide expansion strategy.
Lead Presenters, Verlon & Melodee Fosner have been in church leadership for 35 years, and for the past 18 years have served a 93 year-old church in Seattle, Washington. In 2004, when their long effective church began to decline, they felt called plant an Agape’ Feast Church in a nearby urban neighborhood. Within a year, they had hundreds of Seculars as friends, gathering around their tables, and talking about Jesus.
What began as an urban Dinner Church spread into a multi-site Dinner Church, and then expanded into a national Dinner Church Network. In 2014, Verlon received a Doctoral degree for his research on “The Dinner Church of the Apostolic Era”, and has written three books on the subject – all of which are available on this website. Then in 2016, Verlon and Melodee joined the Fresh Expressions US team to lead the DinnerChurchCollective initiative. Verlon and Melodee have three married children, five grandchildren, and two grand-dogs.