Real Answers From Real Ministers' Wives

Recruiting Volunteers For Meals

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Q. I am looking for a creative idea on how to get your congregation to sign up to cook meals for special occasions at church like: church anniversary, monthly birthday party, pot-luck, etc. It's been like pulling teeth. A sign-up sheet doesn't work. They don't sign up and I (pastor's wife) end up cooking lots of food. HELP!

I have learned that everybody loves to be praised for a dish they cook well. So get with the ladies and gents (because some men cook better than women) of the congregation and make it a fun thing. Tell them that you want to increase fellowship among the brethren and to do this you all are having a church get together. Everybody is required to bring a dish, and the person with the best dish gets a $10 gas card or something.

Also, just like someone else said....just tell of your venture then make a suggestion and tell them you'd love for them to bring it. Contrary to popular belief....lots of people want to be recognized by the "first lady" so getting personal by going to them and asking is almost a surefire "yes." I had one sister tell me one time that turning me down would be like turning down an angel from Heaven with a specified message just for her. Amazing what people think of you.

That's why it pays to stay sweet and lead by example. You want something done, you start it off....then solicit help through meekness. ;)

A while back our church was providing the meal for a local group and I was going to do the cooking. I don't mind doing the cooking, but I can't afford to do it. I passed around a little offering basket at our Bible study. Everyone knew what it was for and put in a little extra change or whatever. Well, after several weeks I still didn't have enough to cook a meal for a group of 15 adults! Now what I do is pass around a list of items I need and people sign up to bring- one bag of rolls, one pound of deli ham, a dessert that serves 8, a bag of lettuce, two bottles of diet soda, etc... (If I need two of something, I just put it on the sign-up twice.)
And, yes, I have had to approach people individually to sign up!
Another idea that has worked... the fellowship committee selected a menu (lasagna, salad, garlic bread, dessert and drinks) and found people to bring those items. (Our members don't mind bringing something, I just think they don't like to cook!)
I've tried making the entire dinner and then just putting out a donation basket. Now, the donation basket has worked at some of the churches and not worked at others! (One church advertised that any extra monies put in the dinner donation basket would go to a certain mission project.)
I've had luck picking a theme for the dinner. We've had German dinners, Mexican nights, breakfasts, salad luncheons, etc...
I believe opportunities to fellowship are vital to our lives as Christians... keep looking for a solution!

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