Potluck Etiquette and Life in Our Fishbowl Link-Up!

I have been cooking and baking for church potlucks for YEARS. Now, I know I am not all THAT old but since I was about 10 I've been contributing with my mom for potlucks. After my dad became a pastor however, the food we prepared GREATLY increased. 

Let me just add that our church does a phenomenal job in preparing food for potlucks! We had a fantastic one last night and I came away stuffed to the brim and even asked for a couple of recipes! Both signs of a wonderful potluck! 

Some churches I have been to however, are not all that great. So there are some common rules of etiquette to bringing food to a potluck for everyone and then an additional set that may be helpful to you Pastor's wives out there!

Potluck Etiquette for Everyone

1. Bring food for everyone you are bringing to the potluck and everyone you invited to the potluck. If there are 5 people in your family bring enough food that will satisfy their needs. You obviously don't have to eat your own food but that way there is plenty to go around. If it is only you - just bring one dish, not three little ones :0) 

2. Bring your favorite food! If you love it, others will too! 

3. Stick to proven new recipes. It's okay to try new recipes just make sure that they are tried and true - for example your sister gave you the recipe because she loves it! 

Check out this ranting review potluck dish from www.womenlivingwell.org!
4. If you can't tell what's in it, LABEL it please! I don't know how many times I've passed by a casserole because it is unintelligible and they go home with just a few servings scooped out of it. A card on a toothpick, or a folded card beside the dish, even masking tape on the spoon! Just label it! 

Potluck etiquette for Pastor's wives
(At least for those that don't have social committees to do these things for them!)

1. Bring twice as much food as your family can eat! Just in case others don't follow through or people who usually bring a lot of food get sick or are on vacation. 

2. Scout out the church kitchen. You may have someone in your church who already does this and if so that's fine - just check and make sure there are plates, cups, silverware and that the kitchen is clean and ready to go. If you are missing something call someone and ask them to pick it up or get it yourself. 

3. Delegate for Holiday potlucks especially for Thanksgiving potlucks. You somewhat want all of the bases covered. Pies, Turkey, Potatoes, Gravy, stuffing. I think this Pastor's wife learned the hard way and did NOT delegate this Thanksgiving and while it all turned out perfectly, it would have been nice to know if other people were bringing the other components. 

4. If you struggle with cooking, do not despair! This may take an extra little dose of humility on your part but tell a couple of key people that you typically don't cook very much and that you may need extra help in the food department. Then when potlucks roll around think veggie trays, cheese balls and crackers, potato salad and cole slaw, chocolate cream pies. All of these things can be found in your local grocery store and you can still be the hero of the day. I have yet to have a homemade pie that tasted better than some of those frozen pies out there! Sometimes they are even cheaper than buying the ingredients yourself. 

5. It's okay if other women bring food that the pastor loves. I have seen some women bring the pastor's favorite dishes in lieu of their husband's favorite dishes. THIS IS OKAY. Remember your husband is the pastor and they want to show appreciation for him. Oh and if your husband rants and raves about a certain dish, just ask for the recipe. It's okay and your husband will thank you for it! 

After reading this set of guidelines just remember that every church is DIFFERENT and the people in it are different. These are just some ideas based on the numerous churches that I have been a part of. What ideas do YOU have for potlucks? Any special recipes to share that have gotten rave reviews at your own potlucks? If so, please share in the comments!!

Ministry Wives Link-Up!!

I've gotten a few questions regarding Chaplain's wives and YES they count! Of course they count!!! 

Therefore if you are a Ministry wife: Pastor's wife, youth Pastor's wife, evangelist's wife, Missionary wife, or a chaplain's wife, LINK-UP a recent post not just your blog - ANY TOPIC - so we can blog hop and meet one another! Oh, and be a sweetheart and include this button so other Ministry wives can get in on the fun too and so you will qualify to be featured! Please make it apparent somewhere on your blog that you are a Ministry wife! 

Stringer Mama's Blog

In HIS Grip, 


  1. Or you can be like me, and let everyone know right away, that you don't cook! You are incredible! I will never be the one to meddle in the kitchen, and thankfully, others do not have that expectation of me.
    And you are right, buying something at a store is just fine!

  2. This is so helpful! My husband is a house church leader and we are do all these things but on a smaller scale. We're having a potluck coming up soon and I'm such a newbie! Thanks for the fantastic tips :)

  3. This is a great post! My life group holds potlucks all the time (because I love them and suggest it at every turn)


Your comments are such a blessing and encouragement to me! If you have a question or comment that you would like to ask, feel free to comment below or email me at Ann@StringerMama.com! I look forward to hearing from you!