Apr 14, 2022.
Christians the world over are focusing their hearts upon what Jesus won for humanity 2000 years ago. As I write this blog, it is Thursday of Holy Week, and something very important happened today! Yet, this significant milestone sometimes gets skipped – The New Passover.
#JesusStories: On the evening before Jesus was crucified, he gathered his disciples for a Passover Meal, which is included in all four Gospels (Mt. 26, Mk. 14, Lu. 22, Jn 13). While most Jews would be gathering for their Passover meal the next day, Jesus would not be able to join as he had an appointment with the cross that day. So instead, he hosted the disciples’ Passover celebration the evening before. Once in the Passover room, Jesus altered the script. Rather than following the historic liturgy from the Ha Lachma, he changed the focus of the evening from ‘Remember God’s miraculous rescue from Egypt‘ to ‘Remember me‘. While he left the historic directive of inviting the strangers and the family-less in tact, he shifted the reason for the remembrance. Toward the end of the evening he referred to the moment as forging a “new covenant” as he held up the cup. Further, he told them to “do this” whenever they come together. In this way he instituted The New Passover, which would serve as a vision of Christian Gatherings going forward.
There is little wonder why the book of Acts comes on the scene with story after story of Jesus’ followers meeting around tables; they were practicing these New Passovers just as Jesus’ instituted. These Gatherings were thickly practiced around dinner tables until the Constantinian turn in the fourth century, and then were intentionally pressed out of the life of the Church until uttering its final gasps at the end of the seventh century, never to return to the Medieval Church.
Dinner Churches that are rebirthing today are not innovations, they are a theology that dates back to Jesus’ formal institution of the New Passover that first Holy Week. This is not only the scriptural warrant for Dinner Churches the world over, but something worthy of prayerful meditation for all Holy Week participants. “Lord, thank you for giving us the New Passover table before going to the Cross. We are forever blessed by this vision of gathering with each other and with you at these tables.”
#DinnerChurchQuotes: When Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me” he meant ‘Do table in remembrance of me’. (Leonard Sweet)
#PracticalStuff: How are you training your new team members? And how are you keeping your current team members inspired and refreshed? We can help with that. May 14th, we will be having a virtual Team Training/Refresh Day from 9am – 2pm (pacific time)/12 Noon – 5pm (eastern time). This will be a great chance for you to gather your team in a room, watch the 45-min sessions on a big screen, then engage in discussion questions with your team four times throughout the day. What do you think about ordering snacks and pizza and having a team refresh day on May 14? Registration for this event will be available @ www.DinnerChurch.Com next week. Click Training button. Does your team need this?
Blessings & Boldness,
Dr. Verlon and Melodee Fosner have led a multi-site Assemblies of God Dinner Church in Seattle, Washington since 1999 (www.CommunityDinners.com). In this decade when more churches in the U.S. are declining than thriving, and when ninety-six churches a week are closing, Verlon and Melodee sensed that a different way of doing church was needed for their 100-year old Seattle congregation. It soon became obvious that they were not the only ones in need of a different path. They joined the FX team in 2016 and founded the Dinner Church Collective. And then in 2019 founded the Dinner Church School of Leadership. There is a lot to be gained when church leaders begin to see open doors in the American landscape that they had previously overlooked. Therein lies the journey for those who will forge a new future for the American Church.