In Church Communication

Church Dessert Auctions and Potluck Fails


I have a confession to make. I do not enjoy potluck dinners and dessert auctions very often.

The exception to that would be when they make people label who brought what food or dessert. I think that should be a requirement for anyone submitting their gorilla bean casserole for taste testing at church. Yes, gorilla bean because I promise you it will come back and hit you with a vengeance.

I realize that people enjoyed meals together and went from house to house in the book of Acts. I realize they probably cooked for each other and shared each others food as there was probably not a BBQ restaurant waiting to cater every church meal.

But where does it say that we have to partake of your Grandma’s famous Pea Soup to be able to have fellowship? How about I bring my dish and you bring yours. The two will never touch of course.

Or we can also use the time-tested excuses of “I am currently fasting pea soup.” or “I ate pea soup before I came.” Or, better yet, actually stop by a restaurant before you come and eat first. Then you have a real legitimate excuse PLUS you are full. Double win.

The same thing applies to desserts, but it is a lot less risky. You do not have to try very hard to make a terrible tasting pickled beet. But it is a lot harder to make a terrible chocolate chip cookie, although I have seen people do it.

The same accountability rules should apply though to both potlucks and dessert auctions. Even though I realize that people are volunteering their time, money and resources to bring a dish. They should have to put their name on it.

They should own it. You baked it and decided it was good enough for the entire congregation. So the next time you decide to concoct a Radish Souffle with Rhubarb Garnish we are going to put an 11″ by 17″ sign in front of it with a picture of your face. That way as I am going down the line I can at least have a choice if I want to live dangerously.

To me, the biggest Church Dessert Auctions or Potluck Fails would be the ones less labeled.

As a church staff member in the past, I have been in charge of many church dinners and events featuring food. And, of course, I have participated and partaken in many, many more. As much as possible we always avoided the potluck and catered in. But that is not always possible in every situation.

The “Bring your thing from home” approach will be with us deep into the Tribulation. So we have to deal with it. Just be responsible and print labels, or better yet pictures, to place beside each dish.

If the idea of labeling the food helps change the approach at your church, all I can say is “you’re welcome”.

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