WE NEED SOME CHURCH POTLUCK RULES

I love church potlucks, but someone needs to lay down some official “potluck rules.” I think there have been times in the past that I’ve jeopardized my soul by lying during church potlucks. How do you lie at church potlucks you ask? When women look at my plate and ask, “Why didn’t you get any of my beets today?” And I have no choice but to answer something along the lines of, “Oh, I didn’t see them,” or “My plate was too full and I didn’t have any room for them.” You can’t hurt a woman’s feelings and tell her that you’d rather poke yourself in the eye with a stick, than eat a nasty beet that she’s fixed. :)

Honesty I’m a good eater and I like nearly everything. In fact, I’m not even a picky eater when it comes to food, but besides beets, sweet potatoes are another thing in my book that shouldn’t be consumed by humans.
As the Lord would have it, He placed Mrs. Sweet-Potato smack dab in the middle of my congregation. She was one of the sweetest little old ladies that God had ever created, and did she ever put me to the test. She made sweet potatoes for every potluck meeting. Every single one! It wasn’t enough for her to just ask, “Did you get any of my sweet potatoes today?” She’d actually place them on my plate. Yes, she’d wait until I got in line, then she’d get her bowl of vile orange goo, and she’d place a big glob of sweet potatoes on my plate.
The first few times this happened I was able to cover the sweet potatoes up with something else, then I didn’t have to look at them or eat them. That was something I learned as a kid when we had turnips (another story, another time). Everything was okay with the “cover up” plan, until the potluck Sunday that she placed a big spoonful on my plate and handed me a fork and said, “Taste these, you’re going to love these.” She stood there waiting. Right then everything just stopped and went into slow motion. She was watching and waiting for me to take a bite, and I was searching for a way out of it. Holding my plate in one hand and my fork in the other, I thought to myself, “”This would be the perfect time to hear someone scream,” “MY HUSBAND IS CHOKING, SOMEONE DO SOMETHING!”” But there was no way out of this, I was going to have to take a bite.
As she watched, I took my fork, placed a small amount of sweet potatoes on it and shoved it into my mouth. At that point I was wondering if God knew that He was testing me a little more than I could bear. I quickly swallowed and simply said, “Mmmm,” with a smile on my face. That was good enough for Mrs. Sweet-Potato. She smiled and went back to her table and ate.
There was no avoiding this little lady that God had placed in my life, so for the next few months we replayed the same scene over and over. She’d place sweet potatoes on my plate and stand there until I tasted, smiled and said, “Mmmm.” A simple smile and a “Mmmm,” was always sufficient for her. Not once did she ever say, “Do you like them?” or “Are they delicious?” So I never felt like I was dishonest.
For the longest time I thought God and this woman had it out for me. But it didn’t take me long to realize she was simply a sweet and precious little old lady who wanted to know she was still a good cook.
Do we still need some church potluck rules so I don’t have to eat things like sweet potatoes and beets? Heck yeah!

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Article by Trey Morgan

I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast. Read 1182 articles by
20 Comments Post a Comment
  1. That Girl says:

    I think we should have a minimum temperature for food served at potlucks. I HATE room temperature squash casserole. The health department would not allow a restaurant to serve food below a safe temp so I think that should be in the potluck rules!

  2. John Roberts says:

    Great post! After 40 years of church potlucks, I've seen the good, the bad and the ugly. I happen to really enjoy sweet potatoes, but luckily I've never been at a church where brussel sprouts were a mainstay!

  3. Scott says:

    Reminds me of a story I need to put on my blog about congealed salads . . . Watch for it on Thusday 😉

  4. TREY MORGAN says:

    That Girl – Oh, I hear you on that one. I'm last in the potluck like 98% of the time, so my plate heads for the microwave at each potluck.

    John – Brussel sprouts … (shiver).

    Scott – Looking forward to it.

  5. Preston Belt, Beautiful Downtown Lockney, Texas says:

    Rubarb Pie! I can't get past the stinch!!!

  6. Marty says:

    Rule #1: Let the young people go through the line first. Just once. We get tired of eating all the left over sweet potatoes from people like Trey.:) Great post!

  7. Donna G says:

    I am with you on the beets and the sweet potatoes….they do not look like food and should be avoided…

    I am not real big on any of those large beans (lima, butter beans etc) or any kind of custard either….

    There is no way to control the temp of the food unless you have the meal first…or the meal is the meeting…you know a real 1st century concept…

  8. Anonymous says:

    I have never had a problem telling someone I do not care for such and such a food, but if I liked it, I probably would enjoy her/his dish.

    I am in agreement about lukewarm food that should be served hot or cold – cold is harder to control since the invention of microwave ovens. But I never thought of the health consequences of it.

    Jeanne M.

    In another circumstance, I have never cared for coffee or tea, but when visiting someone who offers one of those to me, I ask for a glass of water, which every home has, and enjoy the visit along with any others there.

  9. JDH says:

    I don't like stringy meat like brisket, roast, etc. However, at every meal there seems to be an abundance of them. My rule would be that every potluck MUST have at least two containers of little smokies in barbecue sauce.

    The lukewarm food problem can be easily fixed. Wal-Mart has these wonderful glass baking pans that come with their own carrier. The carrier has pockets for ice packs and microwave packs (included) to keep food either hot or cold, depending on the need. Food stays piping hot or freezing cold for at least a couple of hours.

  10. Stoogelover says:

    Having been a preacher for 30 years of my life, I've been in the potluck war zone more times than I can remember, but I decided early in the ministry to just tell people, "No, I didn't try your dish because I don't eat that." It was simple and no one put out a contract on my life for not tasting their food.

    I agree we should have published rules that include: Take smaller helpings so everyone can have something to eat. Don't come back for seconds until everyone has gone through the line at least once. Don't ask anyone to try your food. Just put it out and let nature take its course. Let guests and older members go first, and serve them if need be. Parents need to take care of their children instead of letting them run wild.

  11. Su says:

    Deviled eggs. Every other family must bring deviled eggs, because there are never any left by the time I get through the line. For years, I didn't know what my own grandmother's deviled eggs tasted like!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Bless the food and give thanks and eat. many children in the world would be glad to take your place in line.

    grandma sweet potato

  13. TREY MORGAN says:

    Donna – I think I'd like to hang out with you. We have a lot in common.

    Jeanne – Good way to handle it.

    JDH – AMEN to the little smokies … I can eat a million.

    Greg & Su – I like those rules. I too NEVER get any deviled eggs. They are always gone.

    grandma sweet potato – you speak from the grave? :) Just let me know where to mail my portion of sweet potatoes. :)

  14. Gary says:

    Absolutely no pushing of dishes on anyone. Little old ladies like grandma sweet potato just can't help themselves though. As to the little smokies, do they all have to be drowned in the same nasty sauce?

  15. NB says:

    Beets, brussel sprouts, rhubarb, and mincemeat pie – yuk. BUT… I have a sweet potato casserole recipe that you would love! Really!!! :)

  16. vanilla says:

    What? What? You're hating on three of my favorites, beets, sweet potatoes and turnips?

    Mama told me it takes all kinds.

  17. Rodney says:

    Great stuff, Trey! Put a link to it on my blog.

    Blessings!

  18. Anonymous says:

    Remember to teach your children manners at home. I taught mine not to play during potlucks and visits, wait until later, don't push and never ever say yuk!
    I had a son who didn't like cornbread dressing now it is one of his favorites. When he finally tried some of mine as a teenager, he said this dosen't taste like the school cafeteria's. It never did. I used to eat everything, now I can't and don't. I had beets -about four slices, six green beans, and three fish sticks today. I know there are hungry people in the world, and I am not as thankful as I should be but just one day could I have sweet potato casserole and cornbread dressing. I'm shooting for a well Turkey day on Thanksgiving. Oh, I also want to tell you that I appreciate preachers who don't mind helping with the clean up. I've seen you, but not many. I think that is a Jesus washing feet ministry.

  19. Amanda Sanders says:

    I cannot believe so many people feel this passionate about Church Potluck. Maybe there should be a class about this at the Tulsa Workshop? 😀

  20. Glenn says:

    Andy Taylor would have pretended to like them and smiled that great big smile of his — but he was a perpetual liar.

    So, put on your best Andy Taylor smile, and choke 'em down… be upfront and tell them you don't like sweet potatoes, period.

    Maybe a Sunday morning topic?

    "Congregation, I have something to confess… I've never liked sweet potatoes, in any way, shape or form. I'm sorry I've pretended for so long. Please forgive me, and please never ask me to eat them again." 😉

About Me

Trey Morgan Here are my thoughts about marriage, family, raising children, humor, faith and the life God intended for us all. I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast.

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Trey Morgan
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Husband, father and cancer survivor & Senior Minister for the Childress Church of Christ. Tweets about life, marriage, Texas Rangers and randomness.
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