As a Bible study leader, you have many responsibilities. You primarily concern yourself with feeding your flock spiritual fodder, but the flesh also requires sustenance.
You can do much better than a box of donuts and a pot of coffee in the church basement. With a little creativity, you can put together an event that people want to attend for the food alone — while feeding their soul as a bonus. Here are six tips for preparing food for your next Bible study.
1. Remember, Safety First
Serving a large group of people means adhering to proper food handling techniques. For example, you should keep hot buffet food at temperatures of 140°F to avoid bacterial growth. If you’re expecting a legion, you can keep cold foods in the refrigerator, putting out a small amount at a time and replenishing the stock when it gets low.
Are you bringing in outside food, like pizza? If so, you still want to keep it toasty until everyone arrives. You can even keep the boxes warm in a low oven — they won’t catch fire until they reach 400°F. That way, your guests who arrive late can still enjoy every bit as much of the ooey-gooey, cheesy goodness.
2. Check for Potential Food Allergies and Dietary Restrictions
Bible study is all about fellowship. You want everyone to be able to participate. However, those with food allergies or dietary restrictions could feel left out if you fail to consider their needs.
However, you can make many dishes do double duty. For example, you can find recipes for paleo-vegan snacks that will please those on low-carb and cruelty-free eating plans alike. Please label everything and bring along an EpiPen in your first aid kit in case someone with a severe allergy needs immediate intervention.
3. Provide the Right Supplies
Hopefully, you wouldn’t host a Biblical barbecue without a hefty stash of napkins. If you did, the folks responsible for doing laundry might get more than a bit irate at all the stains.
At a minimum, you’ll want enough plates, cups, and utensils for everyone. You can find eco-friendly bamboo if you go the disposable route. Otherwise, it’s more green to use standard plates and cutlery.
You’ll also need serving supplies. Bring plenty of spoons and perhaps a silicone utensil rest to keep the spatula for each dish separate and minimize cross-contamination.
4. Bring a Little Extra
It’s a smart idea to send invitations complete with RSVP instructions to get a headcount for how much food you need. You don’t want to exclude some members or run out of goodies before everyone has a chance to eat.
How much you need depends on whether you plan a few snacks or a full meal. For example, you should plan on approximately 1 pound of food per person if you have a barbecue. Estimate about 1/2 pound for children. Most adults can eat two to three slices of pizza and children one to two.
5. Portion and Distribute the Leftovers
Even if you measure well, you might have leftovers. Please don’t waste that food when people are in need. If you plan to distribute what remains among the various participants, ensure you have plenty of storage containers or bags.
If you have quite a bit to share, you might consider donating what remains. After all, charity is an act of Christian kindness. Before your Bible study, connect with homeless shelters and food pantries that will put your excess goodies to best use.
6. Make Cleanup Less Burdensome
The only unpleasant part of any party is the cleanup. Luckily, you can minimize the mess with a little strategy. Create soaking stations for plates, for example. All you need is a large plastic container, some warm water, and dish soap. Leftover food bits will lift off, making washing the dishes easier.
Also, include trash and recycling bins around your banquet area. Going potluck-style also helps minimize cleanup a bit, as each participant takes their offering plates home to their dishwashers.
Follow These Six Tips When Preparing Food for Your Next Bible Study
You sometimes need to nourish the body before you can feed the soul. Follow these six tips when preparing food for your next Bible study for an event to remember!