Approximately 200 community members in Summit, Arkansas gathered at ‘The Table,’ a community wide dinner, on Saturday, April 9, 2022. Summit Bible Church hosted the event with the hopes of getting to know the community, hearing their stories, and sharing the good news of the Gospel. Their intention was to, “Not ask anything from them but to give and put on display the grace of God,” said church planter and Summit Bible Church pastor, Jon Smeltzer.
In preparation for The Table, Summit Bible Church rented tables and chairs, bought plates, cups, plastic ware, tablecloths, decorations for the tables, as well as the menu items for the dinner that featured pork tenderloin with sides and pie for dessert. The Table stretched about 300 feet down Emmanuel Street in front of the church.
Church members put signs up in town and personally invited every household in Summit with a save the date letter in their mailbox, later they went door to door and gave each household a personal invitation. Smeltzer asked Summit Bible Church’s sending church, River Bible Church, to serve dinner to the guests to allow the church body to focus on developing relationships, creating an inviting environment, and sharing the Gospel to visitors.
Because of the relationships built at this dinner, several Summit community members have been attending church consistently and have invited others as well.
Smeltzer got the idea to host the event from fellow church planter, Joey Cook, during a church planting training session. Community outreach events like this community table are important to strengthen communities and the churches within them.