Creating Meaningful Get-Togethers

Thanks to Ruth Langkamp for writing up this Great Idea for Faithward.

Langkamp’s suggestions are based on Priya Parker’s excellent The Art of Gathering. If you haven’t already, please read this book! As Langkamp asserts, ‘Parker offers a human-centered approach to gathering that can help us design experiences with greater care, clarity, and creativity.’

Langkamp then sums up three of Parker’s essential points for more hospitable gatherings, including:

  1. Embrace a specific, disputable purpose
    1. What is the need in your life right now that by bringing a specific group of people together you might address?
    2. Related: Why Mutual Respect Calls for Authenticity, Vulnerability, and Humility
  2. Cause good controversy
    1. A good gathering works to avoid both unhealthy peace and unhealthy conflict.
    2. What might causing good controversy look like for you?
  3. Create a temporary, alternative world through the use of ‘pop-up rules’
    1. address multicultural, intersectional differences/realities with ‘one time only constitutions for a specific purpose’
    2. address ‘intentionality weariness’ by grounding gatherings in Jesus’ way of intentional hospitality

As Langkamp concludes, ‘Meaningful gatherings take courage, but gathering well is a learnable practice. We have an extraordinary moment before us here to pause, observe, and reimagine how we gather. How might we move into fully embracing one another and lean into being more hospitable people? That answer is critical because how we gather, especially as Christ followers, is part of our calling to love, to serve, and to empower, and to see Christ in one another.’