Dinner Church

The Southern Michigan Conference in partnership with the Dearborn Free Methodist Church are continuing their commitment to launching a series of church plants in the city of Detroit. Detroit is a significant city, and Mark Cryderman, the pastor and ministry leader over dinner church plants, strongly believes that the conference and Dearborn church have an opportunity to change the heart of the city.
If you read popular books about church planting, you may find authors advising church planters to pick prosperous suburban communities with new housing and high-income residents. Organizers of the Detroit plants, however, are targeting high-density/low-income neighborhoods. They are learning from the Harbor’s efforts in Taylor and similar ministries in Seattle.
The dinner church is one that is foundational cross-cultural. People from all walks of life have an opportunity to eat and to hear the Gospel.
People in these neighborhoods often feel shame when they first come, but it is our joy to replace their shame with hope. Residents may not look like they are in poverty because they are not homeless, but many struggle to pay their rent and buy groceries.
It is our charter as Free Methodists to align ourselves with the people who have been forgotten, lost and left behind.
The Detroit church plants will use the “dinner church” approach. The intent of dinner to church is aimed at people who would not go to church on a Sunday morning under any circumstance. Whether it be their upbringing or their culture, the dinner church is aimed at people who don’t even have the transportation to come to church. Dinner church isn’t just about serving people a meal, but serving them the bread of life as well.
Each dinner church will include arts and recreation for children. The kids’ arts and rec program goes from 3 to 5, and then at 5:15, we start serving dinner for them and their families.
The approach is similar to how the early church met during the first 200 years of Christianity. Through testimonies and people’s stories, we believe that we will most effectively reach people in urban settings. With one church plant in Detroit, Mark Cryderman has a vision for three more dinner churches by the end of August 2017.
The dinner churches will take place in rented community centers, but Cryderman said organizers hope to “develop a ministry center where we can disciple and train new Christians and new leaders and from which we can deploy bivocational site pastors.”