by Martin Duffy
Interact Magazine 1998
Volume 9 Number 3
It’s sometimes difficult for us to believe that there are many people in our community with hungry hearts who would respond to the right approach. That of course is the key: finding the right approach!
A number of us at the Mosman Baptist Church (Sydney) were concerned about reaching people in our local community. We began to pray for God to open doors and enable us to share the good news about Jesus. We prayed for ideas that would help us link up with unconverted people. I woke one night with a ‘bolt from the blue’. Why not hold ‘singles dinners’? Although I was initially a little uncomfortable with the idea, I presented it to the elders with the conviction that this was God’s answer to our prayers.
Implementing the Idea
After gaining the elders’ support for the idea, we placed an advertisement in a number of local newspapers (cost $75.00) which read:
‘Single? Christian? Come along to a dinner for single people to meet other like-minded people. Make new friends, enjoy conversation….’ Phone Martin on 0418 458 005 to inquire.
For the first dinner approximately 20 people phoned, of whom 12 attended – a perfect number for the first event. We found a restaurant which could arrange seating for a dozen or so people at a round table. By the grace of God, the owners of the restaurant (Sweet Emma’s at Balgowlah) were committed Christians who bent over backwards to ensure that the evening was a success.
On the night of the dinner two of the more gregarious Christians from our church accompanied me, welcoming and seating people. Throughout the evening I moved around speaking to people and surprisingly only three of the attendees were born again Christians. It became obvious that in today’s society the term ‘Christian’ is all-embracing. It is commonly interpreted as ‘clean living or ‘decent’. I attempted to steer conversation towards our respective journeys, incorporating a brief testimony.
At the evening’s end, all were invited to attend our evening service on the following Sunday. This service was seeker-oriented with the sermon aimed at examining what the Bible says about the human need for relationships and community. Most people who attended the dinners also came to the service.
After a modest beginning the dinners now regularly attract 40 people. A core group of around six members of our church now attend these dinners and instead of buttonholing people, we simply try to share our story of journeying towards faith in Jesus Christ. Mosman is an area with a large number of single and often lonely people and the significance of this ministry lies in the fact that our church has been able to move into the community, presenting the good news. By the power of God, lives have been transformed and made alive in Christ, and my prayer is that by the grace of God this may continue in the months and years ahead.
Martin Duffy is currently an intern with the Baptist Centre for Evangelism and Global Mission, NSW.
© Martin Duffy (1 November 1998)