For those of you who may be new to Church Around the Table, or those who are looking for a refresher on its purpose – when we began this experiment last Fall, here is what we were thinking:
The primary purpose of “church around the table” is for blessing. Blessing one another in ways that increase our sense of God’s presence and activity in our personal lives. Blessing those in our circles of influence – family, friends, neighbors, co-workers – wherever we can build close relationships where we can listen, care and be a blessing. This kind of blessing is difficult to bring about in a traditional Sunday morning worship setting. So, we have been meeting as groups of about 7 to 12 persons, mostly around the dining room table, during our normal Sunday morning worship time, to see how God might speak to us in such a setting.
When we gather as groups around the table, we participate in the life of the Spirit of Christ identified in Luke 10 where Jesus asked his apprentices to do three things in their communities – 1) offer “peace” or blessing to those in the house; 2) offer healing; 3) eat together – and when you have done these things you declare that the kingdom of God has come near. One surprise has been that our average total attendance with Church Around the Table has been higher than our average attendance otherwise. Sixty-two persons are participating. We are not planning to do away with regular Sunday morning worship as an outcome of this experiment. We are not planning to become a church of house churches. We do want to learn how God might use this setting – for spiritual growth and perhaps to invite persons who may not be comfortable in a traditional worship service.
Everyone will have opportunity to give feedback on our experiences with Church Around the Table as we gather the third Sunday of every month from now until June. I’m curious as to what God will be doing with us in this venture.