Dinner Church Collective grew out of a problem that Verlon and Melodee Foster were facing in Seattle. Their robust, storied 90-year-old church was dying a slow and quiet death.

With this gift of desperation, they began to experiment with new forms of Church. After a few missteps, they stumbled into a simple practice.

It was a practice that piqued the interest of non-Christians and Christians alike.

It was simple and affordable.

It was a practice Jesus used with his disciples.

It was a practice that the Church Fathers developed to reach and disciple believers across the ancient world.

A meal, music and message.

In the next few years, their church reorganized around these simple principles. They now gather in 10 locations in Seattle, around a warm meal and the stories of Jesus.

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A Nationwide Movement

Soon, Verlon and Melodee found themselves hosting church leaders and missionaries from around the country.

As word got out, they something similar: simple, effective, and powerful mealtime gatherings that were growing into churches!

Likeminded gatherings already existed in places like Detroit and North Carolina. They found immediate camaraderie with Fresh Expressions US, a movement of pioneering churches, experimenting with new forms of Christian community, created for people who may never go to an established church.

In 2018, these new friends banded together to launch the Dinner Church Collective and train a new generation of mealtime missionaries.

Our Team

Dr. Verlon Fosner

Dr. Verlon Fosner is a movement leader who works with pioneering leaders and organizations to guide them through the process of starting their own network of dinner churches.

Verlon believes that new and effective missional movements will break out when leaders recapture Jesus’ methodology of sharing the gospel over a meal.

Verlon led an established Seattle congregation to reimagine itself as a multi-site dinner church called Community Dinners.

Along with his wife Melodee, Verlon has trained leaders from around the country to start their dinner church networks around the country.

Verlon holds a Doctorate of Ministry from Assemblies of God Theological Seminary. He is the author of “Dinner Church”, “Dinner Church Handbook”, and “Welcome to Dinner, Church”.

Melodee Fosner

Melodee Fosner is a trainer, mentor and friend to who works alongside Verlon to pass on their hard-won lessons in how to start dinner churches.

Inspired by Hosea 11:4, Melodee believes that God wants his followers to join him in leading “cords of human kindness”, and bending down to feed the those who are hungry.

Melodee’s greatest accomplishment in life has been creating a nurturing home where their children were led in the ways of Christ. As the Dinner Church vision began to unfold, the example of their own family table served as the palette of what the church could look like.

Melodee holds a bachelor’s degree in Ministry Leadership from Northwest University.

 

Mark and Mary Cryderman

Mark loves to build, and follows the “Form Follows Function” style of creating. So, when the opportunity came to start new churches in Detroit, Mark let the function (community) determine it’s form (food!) That led naturally to the creation of Detroit Dinner Church.

Mark dreams of planting a Dinner Church (or other Fresh Expression Church) in each of the zip codes of Detroit (26) and after that, each of the neighborhoods (96).

Mary is the artist of this team! She is an accomplished water color painter and teacher. She oversees the food preparation for all of the Detroit sites.

As part of the Dinner Church Collective Training Team, Mary and Mark enjoy training Dinner Church leaders across the U.S. And back home in Detroit, they often host interns, individuals and small groups who want to learn more about Dinner Church.

Isaac and Jaime Olivarez

Isaac and Jaime founded Urban Outreach Denver in 2012 and planted a Thursday night dinner church called Community Dinners, a church for Denver’s homeless and marginalized in 2013. UO Denver is located in Five Points, an inner city Denver neighborhood historically known for crime, drugs and poverty, but that is currently experiencing a resurgence of economic growth. Isaac and Jaime also launched a Monday night “Community Dinner” for kids called Little Rascals, and host a summer kids camp, short-term missions teams, back-to-school outreaches, as well as Thanksgiving and Christmas outreaches. Isaac and Jaime have been married 16 years and have three kids: Isabella (12), Abraham (8) and Nasya (5). They also have a Goldendoodle named Rocky.

Daniel & Angela Altimus

Daniel and Angela reside in York Haven, Pennsylvania with their two sons, Luke and Shane. Daniel is the pastor of Common Ground and Angela oversees their food team as well as working to coordinate the leadership program of a local hospital system. Since planting Common Ground in 2013, Daniel and Angela keep busy working with their team to seek the welfare of their community and reveal Jesus Christ.

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“15 Dilemmas Every New Faith Community Faces (and How the Dinner Church Addresses Them)” 

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