Simple Sunday Lunch Ideas (+ tips for simple hosting after church)
After reading the book The Hospitality Commands by Alexander Strauch, Jordan and I decided that we would try using Sundays right after church as a consistent time for extending hospitality. We felt like it was a great way we could serve our church and love the people who came to visit - most of the time people who were new to us! This isn't typically the time we have our friends over, but rather, wanted to keep that space open for investing in people who maybe found themselves new to our church, or someone we had never gotten the chance to meet before. We call this Sunday Noons, mainly because Alexander Strauch called it that.
In order to keep Sundays feeling and operating like a true Sabbath for us, we don't do this every Sunday. It's easy for our Sundays to become full with our home group and sometimes a meeting back at the church later that evening, so we need that down time after service to rest. On Sundays when we aren't meeting with our home group though, it's a great time to extend hospitality.
Meal ideas and how to:
- have meat prepped in advance and slice up any veggies you want for topping as well. Keep in the refrigerator until after church and then just grill up the patties. Pair with a big salad or big pan of roasted vegetables that can also be prepped in advance.
- Buy some good quality focaccia or other kind of herbed bread from the bakery. Slice and assemble panini's in advance. Keep it simple with a good cheese, basil, tomato, and deli meat, with an aioli spread or balsamic vinegar. Then simply grill in a panini maker or on the grill after church. Pair with a coleslaw, that can also be prepped in advance.
- Brunch food
- Scrambled eggs, pancakes, bacon, coffee or juice, and a big bowl of fruit. To prep this meal in advance, you could scramble the eggs and leave them in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap until after church. You could also have fruit already in a serving dish, and line a baking sheet with parchment and lay bacon on top to easily bake in the oven when you get home. Also if your pancake/waffle mix is able to be made in advance, you could do that too! For a pre-made pancake/waffle mix, I love the brand Kodiak Cakes.
- Chili and cornbread
- Make the cornbread in advance to easily pop in the oven when you get home. Make the chili the night before and keep warm in the slow cooker set to the warm setting.
- Frittata and salad
- Both of these things can be made ahead! You could slightly under cook the frittata and finish before people come over, or bake the whole thing after, OR simply bake ahead and warm up in the oven for a few minutes.
- Kabobs, fruit and salad
- Marinate meat the night before and assemble kabobs with meat and veggies. Lay out a big bowl of sliced watermelon and a big salad.
Other helpful tips:
Set out plates the night before or just use paper products that are easy. No extra cleaning on your sabbath and quick to set out.
Give everyone a job - flip the burgers, load the dishes, stir the scrambled eggs, set the tables. It might feel rude to ask guests who you've never met before to do a job, but actually it serves our guests by allowing them to feel like they can contribute, which in turn helps them feel more comfortable. Think about it, don't you feel a little awkward when everything is pristine and done for you? If you want to get really cute about this (or just give yourself some accountability to actually do this!) try these table tokens.
Make sure you ask if anyone has food allergies before the come over! This happened once to us, and I was so glad I had a grain free pancake mix available because the woman's daughter had celiac. It felt great to be able to serve her daughter in that way! Food intolerances are a big concern in our local community, so I pretty much prepare for that by making things as close to Paleo as possible (it seems to be safest bet here in our town). Know your local community, and serve them accordingly!
Have a few glass carafe's of water already in the fridge. Set the coffee pot on a timer so it's ready when you get home. Basically, anything you can do ahead to make hosting after church easier is key!
Have you ever extended hospitality after church? What was your experience like?
I know it can feel REALLY hard to do this, but I promise after doing it myself, it is so worth it. And in this way, we can practice hospitality to strangers which is what biblical hospitality is all about.