This summer promises to contain opportunities galore for many of us to meet up with friends and family again. The upcoming tidal wave of social events will be a unique time to gather safely with others as the appetite (pardon the pun) for social interaction, and particularly to eat together, will be at an all-time high.

In many cases, communities are craving togetherness, chit chat, seeing faces in person and having deep conversations. We have come to realise, more than ever, that the most important things aren’t things at all, but rather people and relationships which are to be valued, cherished and invested in above all. This pent-up desire to sit down and simply enjoy meals together has been building up during our months-long state of suspended interaction.

As we look to build and rebuild physical connections with others, it’s good to be reminded that God is the king of creative ideas, and His creative and inventive flair has been deposited into us. Even when Jesus was on the earth, He used so many different ways to teach, for example, His parables were multi-layered, with seemingly endless learning points even for us today. He also used many different ways to heal: spitting on the ground to make mud for a blind man’s eyes is unconventional to say the least (John 9:6). He even used different ways to share a meal, choosing to eat one-on-one with new friends like Zaccheus or eating with 5000 others (most likely a lot more) who He didn’t really know.

I often think Jesus must have left His disciples perplexed by how much He kept switching up the pattern for carrying out His mission on earth. The variety in His methods in such a short space of time was huge and yet always effective. And Jesus’ spirit of creativity and innovation is still alive in us today.

As a passionate entrepreneur myself, I love seeing people implement their business ideas ranging from the small and niche to the big and bold. There is something amazing about watching small creative ideas turn into fully incubated businesses that are unleashed into the open, and I’ve seen some initiatives involving food during the pandemic that have been so creative. 

I recently received a voucher for a cooking class with a new social enterprise called Migrateful, an initiative set up for refugees to introduce people to their cultures through food. This innovative idea gives refugee cooks opportunities for others to understand them better by telling pivotal stories from their past, often intrinsic to the dishes they prepare. Around the dinner table is indeed the ideal place to get to know people better.

This is just one of many innovative ideas involving food that have come to fruition during this pandemic. Creativity around cooking and sharing food has taken on a new dimension in this last year as necessity has proven to be the mother of invention. Restaurants being closed and tighter restrictions on eating together at home has led to some amazing initiatives including meal kits, virtual cookalongs, banquets at home and online cooking classes, showing just how colourful and creative we can be when it comes to food. And that’s why sharing food and the gospel go hand-in-hand.

While the gospel message has remained the same through the ages, the way it has been transmitted is being done in increasingly new and inventive ways all the time, just as Jesus modelled in His ministry. There isn’t one way to prescribe how the Great Commission is carried out, just like there isn’t one way to even cook the same dish, let alone present it or even eat it. Our cooking, our hospitality and our witness to Jesus are open to creativity, not just to welcome guests to our table, but also to share faith in a way that is attractive and nourishing for them.

So, just as our conversations are now buzzing with everyone’s most anticipated meals post-lockdown, we can also become gospel foodies’, excited about the creative possibilities for sharing our faith with those we share a table with and seeing what God wants to do in those spaces around good food.

To discover more about sharing faith and food, head to Simply Eat or join our upcoming free event, Simply Eat Online.