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August 11, 2016

“Tabling” Towards Multiplication

By Daniel Im

 *Plus Members can watch this entire Behind-The-Scenes interview by logging in and clicking here.

“Tabling” Towards Multiplication

As most know, the Olympics are in full swing. When the Chinese won the women’s synchronized diving competition, I noticed that one of the divers held up two fingers (her index and middle finger) as she saw their scores posted. She wasn’t doing some secret sign to communicate to her coach; she was actually flashing the universal symbol of peace. What’s powerful about this symbol is that it has the power and potentiality to connect people regardless of who they are or where they are from.

Recently, I chatted with Russ Johnson, Founder and Executive Director of the Table Network, where he described the formation of their network based upon their understanding of the “table” of Jesus. As I listened to him talk—and as I thought about the whole notion of the table—it dawned on me that a “table” is a universal symbol of a place to belong. When we go out to lunch with someone, we sit at a table. When we invite someone over for a meal, we sit at a table. When we go grab a cup of coffee, we usually end up sitting at a table. Tables have the power and potential to bring diverse people together.

As Russ and The Table Network describe it, a table is “an image of the radically inclusive invitation of Jesus to imagine with our hands…[A] place to slow down with others around this ever present mystery.” Because tables offer a place for people to belong, they serve as places where people can hear the freeing message of Jesus, become part of the family of Jesus, and carry out the mission of Jesus.

Table—A Place to Believe in the Message

Tables are a place where conversations happen. Thus, tables can be a tool whereby disciples share Jesus’ message of freedom. However, according to Russ, in order to effectively share the message of freedom, it’s important to understand where people are at. This requires listening to what’s going on in a person’s life. As believers listen to and hear another person’s story, they are better equipped to respond with Jesus’ [gospel] message of freedom in a meaningful and impactful way.

Table—A Place to Become Part of the Family

Tables are a place where families come together. Sure tables are a place to meet guests and strike up connection and friendships, but the consistency of table fellowship signifies a deeper connection other than acquaintances. Thus, tables become invitational places for people to become part of the family of God. By consistently sharing a meal, conversing over a cup of coffee, and engaging one another in meaningful conversations, believers manifest the family (fellowship) Jesus made possible and envisioned.

To read the final point of how tables can be places to carry out the mission of Jesus and to listen to the entire Behind-the-Scenes segment with Russ Johnson click here.This video is part of Plus Membership, so to get full access to it, and much more, I encourage you to become a Plus Member. Click here to see all the benefits of becoming a Plus Member.

Additional Resources:

  • Find out more about The Table Network online and by e-mail.
  • Follow The Table Network on Twitter and Facebook.
  • Download The Table Network’s e-book.


Daniel Im

Daniel Im (@danielsangi) is the Director of Church Multiplication for NewChurches.com at LifeWay Christian Resources. He is a Teaching Pastor at The Fellowship, a multisite church in Nashville. He is the author of No Silver Bullets: Five Small Shifts that will Transform Your Ministry, and co-author of Planting Missional Churches: Your Guide to Starting Churches that Multiply (2nd ed) with Ed Stetzer. He also co-hosts the New Churches Q&A Podcast, the 5 Leadership Questions Podcast, and a brand new podcast with his wife on marriage and parenting called the IMbetween Podcast. He has an M.A. in Global Leadership and has served and pastored in church plants and multisite churches ranging from 100 people to 50,000 people in Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal, Korea, Edmonton, and Nashville. Visit Danielim.com to learn more.


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