There is no substitution for quality, face-to-face time around a table. This is true with family, friendships, coworkers, and so very important as we live in community. At UCM (University Christian Mission), time around a table is foundational for the relationships formed.
Every Monday evening, college students from many different cities/countries and all walks of life come together to not only eat, but to help prepare the meal together. They spend this time in the kitchen laughing good naturedly. Arguing in silly voices about whose recipe is better, or how badly someone botched the “suggested” amount of a certain ingredient. They sit in Dale and Lisa’s dining room, spread out among four plastic tables; catching up on their week, course loads, relationships, families. Sharing life.
They help clean up and transition into a time of student-led worship and small group discussion. This time is so life-giving. In order to invest in real community, it takes more than laughter and a meal around a table. Sharing burdens and life is a byproduct of the invested time together. As an outsider to this group, I was very impressed by the following…
This group is so welcoming to outsiders. They are warm, fun, generous people with a heart for the people on campus in their proximity. They love each other, and sincerely enjoy spending quality family time together. Their small group discussions were so earnest and sincere. That only happens after initial time is put in getting to know each other’s hearts. God is at work at UCM, and Chattanooga’s college campuses are blessed by their presence.