On this page you will find all of the details you need to know about the Adventure Dinner. Click the following section headings to jump to that section.
Adventure Dinner FAQ's
What is the "Adventure Dinner"?
The Adventure Dinner is a gathering of friends, over great food and drink, for the purpose of interacting on significant life and God issues. Normally, it takes place in a non-threatening environment like a home or restaurant where the guests enjoy eating, meeting each other, laughing and sharing their thoughts. It’s a real discussion about basic life issues, not a Bible Study or a church gathering. Our objective is to help our friends examine their philosophy of life. Many people have never carefully evaluated their beliefs, and the Adventure Dinner provides them a comfortable environment to do this.
We use the “power of food” and stimulating conversation to reach out to valued people (who may not darken the door of a church) who are within the circle of our natural influence. The food is so good (and interestingly presented) and the conversation so stimulating (they feel understood and valued) that they ask for more. One test of our success is guests asking, “Can we do this again?”
The event will serve to build common ground (food is a universal language!) that stimulates new kinds of (spiritual) conversation. People need to feel valued, understood and stimulated to explore meaningful questions while exploring culinary adventures.
What Happens at an adventure dinner?
We won’t give out too many secrets, but we can say there are usually four courses, accompanied by a gentle conversation prompt that matches the food theme "Around the World." The food is exotic, yet palatable. It's food that is truly an "adventure" that you can't normally order at a restaurant off the menu.
Course #1 "Spark the Palate" - Finger food with drinks. Example question: "Describe your family dinner table when you were a kid. I’m hoping you might give us a bit of a snapshot of where you came from."
Course #2 "Refreshment" - Appetizers/Sides. Example question: "“What brings you refreshment? What really makes your soul feel alive?”
Course #3 "Meaty/Hearty" - Main course. Example question: “What are some of the meaty questions/issues you are currently wrestling with or have always wanted to kick around? Questions like, 'Is there meaning to life?,' or 'what happens when this life is all over?' We have a lot in common, but each of us has a worldview and beliefs we hold to. As we toss our ideas on the table, we’ll all be sorting out ideas choosing what we want to grab and take out the door with us. So let’s commit to: 1) give & take discussion (no lecturing) where a little friendly disagreement is welcome and 2) going for about 45 minutes to enjoy the rack of lamb, plus give ourselves a breather before dessert."
Course #4 "Spike the Palate" - Dessert. Example question: "What are your thoughts on the whole experience tonight - food, conversation, topics, etc.? What's your one take away? Would you want to do this again?"
Who Do I Invite?
The success of the Adventure Dinner from the human perspective is the product of having the right people in the room.
Invite people with whom you have relationships. Generally, these relationships are found in four areas: biological, geographical, vocation, recreational.
The criteria for identifying the people in your network is as follows:
You know them on a first-name basis.
You have regular contact with them.
They don’t seem to have a personal relationship with Christ. They may say they are a Christian, but don't seem to know Christ. See below for more on this.
You feel they are responsive to you, or would be open to cultivating a relationship based upon common ground. Common ground is defined as areas of shared interest, background, experience, ability, or life situations that serve as the basis for developing relationships.
There are two main types of people in Middle Tennessee that we find enjoy coming to an Adventure Dinner. The "seeker" and the "cultural Christian."
- The "seeker" generally can be described this way:
Self identifies as a non-believer, yet is interested in exploring questions of God
This category would cover everyone who self-identifies as an atheist to agnostic
May see little to no value in church participation/attendance
May identify as “spiritual” but not religious
The "cultural Christian" generally can be described this way:
Self-identifies as a Christian
Likely church attender and knows "the language"
Evidence of a personal relationship with Christ may be hard to see or non-existent (ex: desire to read and obey the Bible, awareness of the Spirit’s work in their life, a desire to share the gospel, other biblical evidences of true conversion)
May question the security of their "salvation"
May be confused about the gospel message. Likely cannot articulate the simple gospel message if asked. If they can, this person usually will also make comments that contradict the gospel (ex: “I hope I make it to heaven,” “I’m doing my best to keep the commandments,” “I am a pretty good person, so God is pleased with me.”)
Has not been discipled in any serious manner. Nobody has shown them how to live “Christianly.”
Because of the individual’s confusion, it is hard to tell what they really believe.
How Do I invite A Friend to the Adventure Dinner?
Principles for inviting people:
Pray for your friends before you invite them.
Identify and list your network of seeking friends.
Invite those you don’t think will come as well as those you think will come.
Be honest. Describe the evening as a dinner discussion which will examine God and life issues.
Plan to invite people with whom you have regular contact (take them to a sporting event, have them over for dinner, attend a concert, etc.).
Be sensitive to the people God may bring across your path over the next few weeks (acquaintances, new friends, etc).
Know that if you invite five guests, normally at least one will be free to attend. This is a normal ratio.
Come even if your guests do not!
Process of inviting people:
Use the provided digital or physical invitation we've created. Include the digital version in digital communications. Use the physical invitation as a reminder once you get a commitment. Write a short handwritten note and mail that along with the invitation, it adds a nice personal touch.
Do your best to get a firm commitment as we have catering to prepare for. Offering to ride with your guest often helps to get them there.
Let them know that they are coming to a fun night of conversation, but that they aren’t required to participate in the discussion. They can just come listen if that is what they are comfortable with.
Give them an idea of the rough breakdown of the night's schedule, as noted above. Let them know that it will be fun!
Follow up your invitation with a phone call/text message/email to confirm they are coming.
How to Respond to Common Questions Your Friends Might Ask
Who leads these discussions?
The discussion moderator is someone who has studied in this area and who enjoys leading these groups. Usually it is a Search staff member.
Are these dinners sponsored by a church?
They are not church sponsored. It is not the goal of the group to get people to join any particular church. There are many different beliefs represented in these groups.
What is the real purpose of these discussions?
We want to help people think through their beliefs. As various viewpoints are presented, biblical Christianity’s perspective will also be discussed.
Do I have to talk? I don’t know if I can verbalize my beliefs.
No. If you come and listen - great! There may be someone else at the discussion who will have similar beliefs. So come and relax! And if you want to throw in your viewpoints - great.
Is someone going to try to convert me?
No one can force anyone to believe anything they don’t want to. Part of the moderator’s job is to make sure no one forces their viewpoint on anyone. This truly is a conversation with great friends over great food and drink.
Is this a religious discussion?
Not exclusively, but it will be focussed on topics that relate to God and life. No one religious perspective will be represented exclusively. It is just a group of people trying to think more clearly about their beliefs in a discussion format.
What are some topics that might come up?
- Is there a God?
- Is God even relevant anymore?
- What is the purpose of life? Who decides?
- Why do bad things happen to descent people?
- What happens when this life is over?
- How should we live while we are here?
- Is there an explanation for the morality that most of us share in common?
- Anything else that you want to discuss
No, I’m not interested I am an atheist.
That’s fine. It will help to produce a dynamic discussion if the atheistic position is represented.
Is this just a setup so you can corner me with your Christian position?
No, there is no hidden agenda. Our real goal is to have a stimulating discussion on belief systems. Socrates said the unexamined life is not worth living. In a lot of ways it is also true that the unexamined faith is not worth believing. The Christian perspective will be presented as an alternative for discussion, along with the other viewpoints represented.
Come on, I know you, you’re always trying to convert me. Do you mean to tell me this is really an open discussion?
Look, I admit I have not been a good listener in the past. I’ve argued and probably turned you off. I’ll admit that I’d like to see you believe what I believe. But our real intent is to evaluate all of our belief systems in light of biblical Christianity. However, this is not a set up just for Christianity, other viewpoints will be discussed.