Stories

How can food help you share your faith?

Date posted: 19/05/16

DD_Wide

 

Good food, sports friends, gospel conversation. For many Christian sports students, the everyday task of an evening meal has been seen as a great opportunity to share something of the good news of Jesus with their teammates. This past term has seen 'dialogue dinners' happen across the UK with rugby players in Manchester, footballers in Edinburgh, american football players in Exeter and badminton players in Bristol among many others, all engaging in genuine gospel conversations whilst tucking into a home-cooked meal.

At first, hosting a dialogue dinner can sound like a daunting concept "Have my team round for a dialogue dinner?! I can't cook! I've never had them over for food before! How do I word the invite? What do I say on the night? What if they ask a question I don't know the answer to?!" However, the reality of a dialogue dinner almost always leaves the Christian amazed and exhilarated by how the evening unfolds.

A proven pattern for the evening involves the Christian sports player hosting the meal at their home and then inviting their sporting friends with a clear expectation of a meal, a time to hear about Christianity and an opportunity to ask questions. Some meals have involved a Christians in Sport staff member assisting the student with a short gospel explanation and answering questions. Almost inevitably the Christian sport student will explain their testimony of what Jesus has done in their life, either in answering a question or starting the evening off.


Read a guide about how to run your own dialogue dinner by downloading the Sports Mission Pack. Click here to request your download.


An exciting moment in most dialogue dinners is when the sportspeople in the room realise that they all know each other, they feel comfortable in the environment and they move over the 'nothing to lose' line and ask as many questions as possible. It's then when 'interested Ian' asks the question he's always wanted to ask, and 'hostile Holly' gets to express her views of Christianity and 'unsatisfied Sam' probes with questions about what 'life to the full' truly means. It's such a thrill when genuine Jesus-centred discussions move through the gears and you're on your toes to see what God might do with it all!

Jos, a Christian rugby player at Manchester University said this about his dialogue dinner with his teammates:

"It really is just so normal! There you are sat down in a room with your mates eating a top meal and just simply chatting about Jesus with them! They loved the meal and the low key atmosphere to chat freely and question Christianity. They're not finding it weird and despite my initial fears, many really thanked me for the opportunity to be honest and real with each other. You'll be truly amazed who the Spirit brings and how He opens up their hearts to His word and makes peace with His gospel.”

 

For many, the dialogue dinner has just been the start of a journey in discovering more about the good news of Jesus. Afterwards, some friends have attended church with their Christian teammate, others have started reading a gospel together, others have continued with weekly meals reading parts of John's gospel and discussing its truth and meaning to life. What, at first, felt like an almost impossible stage of evangelism to get to, is now being described as one of the most natural, normal and genuine ways to give your sports friends the opportunity to hear, consider and discuss the truth of Jesus for themselves.

Mark, a runner at Birmingham University said:

"The best thing about doing a dialogue dinner is the dialogue! There were so many amazing conversations on the night and afterwards that never would have happened otherwise. I'd recommend others do it because it's bold and intentional. It shows sacrifice to prepare food and host a dinner and it really gets across to your mates how much you want them to know about Jesus, not because you want to feel validated but because you love them and want to see them saved."

 

So, why don't you pick up your bible in one hand and your recipe book in the other and host your own dialogue dinner?! Take some time to think through the best environment for your friends to feel at ease, be transparent in your invitation, faithful in prayer, be bold in your explanation of Jesus on the night and get excited for what God will do! 


DaveSmall


Dave Hampton, University Team Leader
Dave helps lead the university work at Christians in Sport. He lives in Bicester where he plays for Bicester Rugby Club and attends St Ebbe's Church, Headington.