The Table partners with Community Dinners, providing a warm meal among friends almost every night of the week in the Seattle area. Together we’ve served over a thousand meals (and counting)!
Follow this link for dinner times and locations: http://www.communitydinners.com/gatherings/
The Table is partnering with Shoreline Community Church in Shoreline, Washington. We are honored to be a part of the SCC family. Here’s some information about how that works:
A new kind of relationship
Today, we think God is prompting us to think about innovative ways to launch and structure new kinds of communities of faith. At the same time, there exist many churches with access to the equipment, venues, and mentoring those communities could really use. New movements face the challenge of legal, financial, and logistical requirements – you hit these road blocks as soon as you start getting more than a few people together regularly.
A few years ago, we began to explore a crazy new idea – what if existing churches could accelerate the development of new communities by leveraging their established resources? We conceived of this as an accelerator or “incubator”, similar to start-up accelerators in the business world. Gatherings could be scheduled at times buildings were currently unused. Existing accounting and legal structures could cover the fledgling group’s activities. Mentoring, support, and prayer could provide spiritual covering. Simply put, we could remove the barriers to starting a new work by partnering with an existing organization. The Table is actively engaged in a grand experiment, testing that idea. In our fellowship, we call this new relationship a “Parent Affiliated Church” or “PAC”.
It all comes down to trust
We feel called to do something new. That means we have no interest in becoming a “branch” or “satellite” of an existing church (those aren’t bad things to be, they’re just not for us). So why would we want to be a PAC? The numerous benefits mentioned above, and dozens more, are of great interest. Having access to these kinds of resources would allow us to focus on our vision, not be buried by organizational details.
The key to this kind of relationship is mutual trust. The Table has to trust that we will be free to pursue our vision and calling, no matter how different it is from that of the parent church. The parent church has to trust that we will act ethically, treat facilities with respect, and not abuse the relationship to redirect funds or volunteers currently dedicated to their work. Both sides have to trust that the other will put the Kingdom of Jesus first. That’s a lot of trust!
We believe we have found exactly that kind of trust relationship with the SCC community. It is refreshing and inspiring to us to be in relationship with a leadership team and congregation that has the foresight to believe America can be more effectively reached with the message of Jesus by creating new kinds of communities, and is willing to risk everything to support those new works. It is our hope that this relationship (and others like it) will provide a model and framework for other established congregations across America to reproduce and grow in a similar way.
Q & A
Q: Do I have to become a member of Shoreline Community Church to be a part of The Table?
A: Nope. You also don’t have to become a “member” of The Table. We’re just not all that formalized and official-like.
Q: How much control will the parent church have of the PAC?
A: Not a lot of control, but a reasonable amount of accountability. Accountability is good. It means we’ll have experienced leaders and an official board ensuring we don’t abuse people or money or power. At the same time, we have a clear agreement that The Table will be free to follow our calling.
Q: Will the official board of the parent church be the official board of the PAC?
A: Yes. For legal purposes, the PAC operates just like any ministry or sub-group of the parent church. The Table will still be free to establish its own leadership team.
Q: If I give money, will it go to the parent church?
A: The best way to answer is to say it will go through the parent church. Funds will be directed to Shoreline Community Church, and can be designated to “The Table.” The leadership of The Table will be free to direct the disbursement of these funds. See our giving page for more info about how we plan to use money.
Q: Why post all these details – who cares about all this corporate stuff?
A: In a word: transparency. By explaining this relationship here, we hope to avoid any confusion and allow folk who join us for a gathering or listen online to understand how things are set up. If you have more questions, we’re glad to talk about those too (maybe we’ll post the answers here).