“If we lived like a family, how often do you think we’d eat together?” I asked. Some said every day; others said once a week.

“Keep in mind, we are also missionaries, sent by God to eat with others. It’s not just about us,” someone added.

This process revealed some unhealthy patterns in our group due to the busyness of life and the isolation in which many found themselves. Some rarely sat down to eat as a family in their own households, so eating regularly with others was a big challenge. We agreed that we needed to find a rhythm that would work in light of our present realities, while also pushing us to grow in caring for one another over a meal.

Adam recommended at least three meals a week: one where all of us would eat together, with each of us contributing to the meal (we eventually called this our family dinner); one where each of us would eat with some others during the week (this could be a coffee, a drink, or a night out as couples); and one where we would eat with some people who didn’t yet know and believe the love of Jesus. We agreed on three meals out of our twenty-one meals a week. This seemed doable, yet it required all of us to rethink how our schedules reflected our love for one another.

Someone else added, “Let’s continue to serve one another by providing meals during unique situations, like the first couple of weeks after one of us gives birth to a child.” We also reminded one another that when summer arrived again, we would likely spend more time cooking out in the backyard and hanging around the fire pit together once more. This would be a great time to invite people not yet following Jesus to hang out with us. So we wrote that into our agreement as well.

Jeff Vanderstelt, Saturate: Being Disciples of Jesus in the Everyday Stuff of Life (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2015).