We're not about global connection, we're about local engagement.
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When life gets turned upside down we often turn to prayer. And prayer works! The Table encourages prayer in your church and it's a powerful way to build connections, especially with people new to your church.
Churches are losing control. People start their own ministries without consulting the pastor. They talk about your church on Facebook using language you didn't approve. They can post to your Facebook wall for everybody to see. They post photos to Flickr and videos to YouTube.
And that's OK.
The social media revolution is taking control out of the hands of the few and giving it to the many. Instead of a lone spokesperson giving voice to a brand, the crowd is speaking up. Organizations no longer have total control. An organic voice is emerging that's made up of the official brand lingo but also incorporates the voice of the masses.
It can be a little overwhelming, especially for churches that have trouble letting go of control. But there's freedom in this movement. Instead of fighting change, churches should embrace it. Instead of micro-managing everything, churches should let it develop.
That's one of the advantages of the Table. It empowers your congregation to do ministry, to recruit volunteers and ultimately do church together. It's ministry, not management. It allows your church to be more organic, working from within as opposed to everything coming down from on high. Give your church leadership a break and instead of controlling everything, let ministry happen organically.
Let the Spirit move. Instead of chaos, you may be surprised to find beauty.
- Let new ministries set up groups and spread their wings. You might be surprised at what gets traction and what doesn't.
- Give people a voice: Encourage them to post on the discussion board and share their views. The pastor isn't the only one in your church with something to offer.
- Watch as needs you never knew existed become voiced and met.
- See new connections develop that never would have happened if the pastor asked the same old people.
Community doesn't happen with top-down mandates. It grows organically. Give up a little control and watch community sprout organically in your church.
The Table removes the barriers to interaction in your community and makes it easier for people to encourage one another. Just ask Jean:
The Table is a free gift to your church. We call it "price less." It's one of the major things that sets us apart. We're not going to be a drain on your budget and we're not here to up-sell you or lock you into some monthly commitment. We've taken money out of the equation. It's part of who we are.
While the Table is free, that doesn't mean a private social network for your church is easy. The Table may be free, but free is not a strategy for your church.
The reality is that launching the Table at your church is a lot of work. It may not cost you money, but it will cost you time, effort and energy. You need to recognize those costs as you consider the Table for your church. We're not trying to scare you away, but help you to understand the gravity of what you're about to embark upon. We think the community and spiritual development potential of the Table can be huge for your church (just check out these stories!). But it's going to take a lot of work to get there. You can't just sign up, send out some emails and sit back and wait for community to happen. Nothing worthwhile is that easy.
Successfully launching the Table requires a solid strategy, leadership buy-in and a lot of work. We've put together a roadmap to show you how it's done. Our lack of a price tag may tempt you to dive right in, but you need to invest the time to plan and thoroughly think through how the Table is going to work at your church.
The Table is a gift to you, but accepting that gift means you have to make the most of it.
We at the Table Project would like to wish you and your church family a merry Christmas. We've already given you the best gift we can: Making the Table free for your church.
But there are plenty of pastors, church administrators, small group leaders and people in the pew who would love the community-building power of the Table, but sadly don't even know about it. Since the Table is free, the only thing holding them back is somebody spreading the word.
This is where you come in: We hope you'll spread the holiday cheer by "re-gifting" the Table. Tell other churches about the Table. Give them a free gift this Christmas by letting them know about the Table. Tell your pastor friends, your family at other churches and your pals across the country. It won't cost you anything and it won't cost them anything. But it will build community and strengthen local churches as people serve, pray and connect with one another. Now that's a merry Christmas!
Below we've drafted some handy text you can use to easily spread the word, though we encourage you to personalize it. People really get excited about the Table when they hear how it impacts people's lives—receiving prayer in the moment of need, getting much needed help and connecting with people in the pew. Post these snippets to Twitter, Facebook or send an email:
- Help your church slay anonymity, champion prayer & squash apathy with the Table. Plus, it's free! Merry Christmas. http://tableproject.org
- Don't just go to church, be church. Check out the community-building power of the Table. It's free! Merry Christmas. http://tableproject.org
- The Table helps my big church feel small. Check it out for your church. And Merry Christmas, it's free! http://tableproject.org
- The Table helps my small church feel big. Check it out for your church. And Merry Christmas, it's free! http://tableproject.org
- The Table helps me remember names at church. You should get it for your church, it's free! Merry Christmas. http://tableproject.org
Thanks for your support and again, merry Christmas.
The Table can be a great way for new people to get connected. It's hard to meet new people and find things like babysitters. It can be even harder at the holidays. But a connected social network can help ease those fears and enable people to serve one another.
Just ask Jamie:
"Our church is too big."
"Our church is too small."
"Our church doesn't even have a building."
If your church is struggling with size issues, the Table can help. The Table helps big churches feel more intimate and connected, while small churches find a wealth of untapped volunteers and resources.
Big Feel Small
The Table can help big churches feel small. The Table helps create community and intimacy that can help your big church overcome the anonymity that happens on Sunday morning. Instead of being overwhelmed by the masses of people, you can find small groups to join, figure out who lives in your neighborhood and discover who shares your interests. Suddenly your church goes from a crowd of strangers to a bunch of connections.
Small Feel Big
The Table can also help small churches feel big. The Table can boost your communication efforts and help you work more efficiently. It's the kind of innovation you normally associate with bigger churches. Your people can connect and are empowered to do ministry without tapping your overworked staff. You can even recruit volunteers more efficiently and share resources. You'll discover a depth of potential you never knew your church had.
The Table can also help house churches, church plants and churches without a building. The Table can offer a sense of place and unity for the church that doesn't have the traditional sign out front. Whether it's just a temporary phase or a core value, the Table can help you build the cohesive community that often centers around a building. Mapping functionality can help you pick a central location and posting volunteer needs can help you organize those Sunday morning set up and tear down times.
Size Doesn't Matter
Community doesn't just happen. You have to work to build it. And the Table can make it easier, no matter the size of your church.
Spread the word about the Table with your own stickers. Plaster your office, your laptop, your pastor's car...
Download Your Sticker:
Table Sticker (1.1 MB, PSD)
Order Your Stickers
Go to stickermule.com to order your stickers:
1) Pick a size: 4x4 or 5x5 (though you could go smaller too).
2) Choose a quantity.
3) Upload the file.
Prices vary depending on quantity, but they're about $1 per sticker for 200 stickers and get much cheaper the more you order.
If you're considering the Table for your church we've put together a roadmap that can get you from thinking about it to enjoying community with your congregation.
It's a four step process:
1) Getting Started: Everything from why you need the Table to building your launch team to getting your leadership on board.
2) Pre-Launch: This is where you grease the wheels to a successful launch by getting staff and groups going.
3) Church Wide Launch: Time to go big and roll out the Table to your entire church with plenty of hoopla.
4) Keep the Ball Rolling: Just because you launched doesn't mean you're done. There's still plenty of work to do. Build on that early momentum and keep people engaged.
In addition to loads of tips and ideas at each step along the way, we point to more than 50 helpful resources, including blog posts, videos, FAQs, PDFs and more.
It's not just a roadmap, it's a treasure map. And the prize is a church community that's more engaged, more connected and more active.
It's always fun to see churches getting excited about the Table, and even cooler to see people praying daily for each other.