One of the opportunities that has been on the front burner of the Interim Church Administrator’s plate is Wednesday Night Dinner (WND) at RRCB. From the first day on the job, this has been a topic of conversation by staff and church members alike. After four months, WND is still a challenge to resolve. I suppose with a little imagination in reading Acts 6, we can see that WNDs were an issue even with the early church.
In modern times, I am not sure when WND became the rule rather than the exception, but most churches today have difficulty having Wednesday night functions without a meal to help busy church members.
There are four basic methods churches use in providing WND: 1) hire a cook/staff to prepare the meal, 2) have the meal catered, 3) have food trucks deliver the meals, 4) or a combination of 1 and 2. Besides deciding how to do WND, a church must also decide what philosophy will guide the pricing of the meals.
One philosophy is to price the meal based on a fixed predetermined fee, while another is to price the meal based on actual cost. An important variable of the pricing philosophy is whether or not the church will subsidize the cost of the meal through the operating budget.
Besides method and pricing, the variables of what type of foods (healthy or comfort) and how much food to prepare are very important issues that drive a successful WND. Generally speaking, before method, pricing, types of food, and how much to prepare can be decided, a church must answer, “Why have a Wednesday night dinner?”
There is not room enough in this blog to explore all the reasons that churches have a WND; but at RRCB, the most important reason is to provide a meal that will encourage busy families, no matter what the size, to come and participate in the Wednesday night programs and ministries. There is also the fringe benefit of the koinonia that takes place when church family gathers together to share a meal.
“State of the Union” messages are popular this time of year, so this is the state of the WND at RRCB. Our method is to use Ukrop’s catering with paid staff and volunteers to prepare and serve the food. Our pricing philosophy is to not subsidize the cost of the meal with the operating budget (This is a major challenge when we charge a fixed price and the cost of food continues to go up!) We prepare enough food for those that contact the church by 11:00 on Monday morning before the WND plus a few extra to accommodate guests and last minute attenders. The food type is comfort food with a healthy salad and a children’s meal option.
WND at RRCB is an evolving ministry that will always be in a state of change. What woks today may not work tomorrow, and the needs of tomorrow are yet to be determined. This you can be sure of: it is still on the front burner of the Interim Church Administrator. I welcome any comments you may have to improve our WND, firstname.lastname@example.org.