The Power of the Table
Recently I have been encouraging the women in my church to gather around the table. We have been looking at the life of Jesus. You see, Jesus knew the power of the gathering around the table and He used it as a part of His ministry. If you look at the example He set, He was either going to a dinner party, at a dinner party, or leaving a dinner party. I believe this is a spiritual discipline that many of us either overlooked, have forgotten about, or have become overwhelmed by altogether. But tabletop discipleship is a spiritual discipline that is absolutely vital to the lifeblood of our communities.
What does this look like in our women’s ministries? I just hosted a five-week study in our church on Wednesday nights for all of the women in our church. Each week we would meet together and I would open up the night with an 8-to-10-minute teaching about one of the dinner parties Jesus was at. I called this an “appetizer”. Then we would break into small groups around tables for our “main course”. This was when we would engage in tabletop discipleship. Each table would be filled with women of all different ages, engaging in answering provided questions and Bible reading assignments that required them to go deeper. I challenged them to think outside their comfortable circle of friends and the thought pattern of “this is how we have always done things.”
They would be sent home each week with “dessert”, which was their homework. This would include a Scripture to memorize, some sort of self-reflection, and an action that would need to be taken. We ended each session with a live cooking demonstration. Each week we covered something different from appetizers to side dishes, main dish and desserts to tablescapes, and yes, taste-testing was involved!
By the end of the study, our girls had walked through why Jesus used the table, who He had at His table, and how He used the table, not just as a place to eat but, as a part of His ministry. This helped to change their view of the table, seeing it as tool. We empowered them to learn how to host along the way. We equipped them with recipes and hosting tips and tricks to give them the confidence to begin inviting people to their table.
Like Jesus, we must invite others, not just our inner circle to have a seat at our table. We must invite our neighbors, those who are searching, those who are lost, those who are looked down upon by the religious. They, too, must find a seat at our table. There is life change waiting to found at the table. Intimacy, waiting to be shared at the table. Worship, waiting to be poured out at the table. Purpose, waiting to be discovered at the table. The invitation is just waiting to be given by you. No one is excluded from this. If we are to be Christlike, then we are to have others at our table.
The Power of the Table is Entry Two of June's microblog series on ministry to women entitled Serving Sisterhood. Email blogger Crystal Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about her
series she wrote and recently taught at CrossPoint Women (Sand Springs, OK). Come back each Wednesday to read from a new guest blogger about this crucial and timely topic.
Crystal Williams is a happy wife and the mother of two vibrant, highly imaginative children. She is blessed to live out her calling and lifelong dream of being a housewife, a stay at home mom and a homeschool teacher to her children. She likes to be referred to as "The Williams' Home Engineer" and "God's Favorite Daughter".
Crystal's passions include, first and foremost, Jesus and her family. She also enjoys decorating and transforming mundane moments into magical experiences. Crystal adores everything "Southern" as is evident in her effervescent personality, her humble character and her "Old Soul" charm. Her home is where she's most comfortable, however, where she thrives is in her ability to lift up spirits and bring hope to whomever she encounters.
Although Crystal has faced numerous, difficult challenges throughout her life, God has proven Himself Faithful through it all. Her life and those of her beautiful family are evidence of God's hand upon them. They are walking miracles. Crystal is full of faith and this is expressed through her fervency in worship towards God. All of this coupled with a lifetime of serving in ministry and the gifts in which she walks, gives Crystal the unique disposition to minister in a way which encourages, challenges and simply softens hearts.