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Viewing entries tagged with 'serve'
People often point to Facebook and wonder why the church would even need the Table. Facebook is ideal for outreach, but it falls short at building community. That's what the Table is all about. We encourage churches to use Facebook and the Table together. But the fact is there are things you can't do on Facebook that the Table is designed to do.
Like serving one another.
Serving & Sharing on the Table
The Table's Serve App allows you to post volunteer needs and items to give away or share. It's a way to help and encourage the church to serve one another. When you're posting needs, you can add specific tasks, invite people to get involved and more. When you're giving away or sharing stuff, you can post a picture, categorize what you have available and easily re-post something to loan out again. You can even see a record of how many people have been served or items shared.
It's designed for the church to serve each other. It encourages an attitude and culture of serving and sharing. That's pretty cool.
Serving & Sharing on Facebook
Not so much on Facebook. You can certainly post needs and give away or share things on Facebook, but not very well. You'd have to post those things as a status update, which means the system doesn't encourage you to serve or share, people aren't expecting it and there's no place to go to find a bunch of needs to serve.
You could certainly give away a random item or ask for help with something like moving, and you'll get a response. But there's no culture of serving. It's a one-time thing and it's not likely to happen again.
There are some marketplace apps on Facebook that allow for classified listings like Craigslist, and a few that offer Freecycle-like sharing, but they're pretty buried, not widely used and don't allow for posting volunteer needs.
The Table is designed to squash apathy. We're built that way. Facebook? Maybe it'll step on apathy once or twice by accident, but that's about it.
Of course that shouldn't be too surprising. Facebook is a worldwide social network that's designed for loose connections. It doesn't foster intimate community and that means it's not a good place for serving and sharing to take place. But the Table is designed for that intimate community. It makes serving and sharing natural, the way it should be in church.
A few weeks ago, our VP of Development Josh Lewis sent me a voice memo that he recorded on his phone while driving home. He didn't intend for anyone else to hear it, so he ranted a little, but his passion gave me the chills and I want to share that with all of you. It's important that everybody can see the hearts of the people working here. Our entire team at The Table Project is deeply motivated to help the church be the church, and we think about these things all the time, even when we're driving home on a noisy highway.
I encourage you to listen to the whole recording.
If you're unable to listen, below are some paraphrases from the recording to help you get the gist.
"One of the things I wish people knew about the Table is that when a church rolls the Table out to their congregation... part of what they're actually saying to the congregation is, 'You are all in ministry now'". A lot people don't really get what that means.
"We're Christians. All of us are in ministry. It's not just your pastor's job, it's your job, because it's your faith.
"So now (with the Table) we can see who we are collectively, and we see what the needs are, and we see where the pain is, and we see all of these problems. Generally speaking you'll get two kinds of responses. The first response is, 'I didn't realize there was all this ugliness, and all this pain and all this difficulty. What can I do?' The second response is, 'Be quiet, leave me alone, I'm busy, I'm not interested.'
"That second response is not ministy, it's not church and, pardon me, but it's not Christianity. That's not what Jesus says to people who need him. And we're his disciples. They will know we are his disciples by our love. Not by our ignorance or by our 'leave me alone', but by our love. So make the time, because you are in ministry now."
Check out their welcome video! This church really gets what we are all about!
The most creative entry in our recent Birthday Video Contest came from Imad. Rather than film himself, he used the wacky video animation from Xtranormal to talk about the Table. He shares how he found a substitute for nursery duty, gave away some dirt and prayed for missionaries.
Watch Imad's video:
As kids we learn how to share, but somehow we forget by the time we grow up. As a result our homes are packed with stuff we rarely use. Maybe we use it a few times a year or just once and then never again. Maybe it's time to start sharing again.
Here's how to do it:
- Take Stock: Walk around your house with a digital camera and take pictures of stuff you'd be willing to let someone else use: Tools, camping equipment, media (books/DVDs/video games), sports equipment, baby stuff, etc. (see 10 Ways the Serve App Can Get You Sharing). You don't need to collect stuff, you're just cataloging what you have available to share.
- Post It: Add those items to the Serve App. Include details and any helpful info.
- Start Sharing: As people respond and ask to borrow your stuff, coordinate and make it happen. The easiest thing to do is start bringing requested items to church on Sunday so nobody has to make an extra trip.
It's time for the church to bring back sharing.
Our closets, basements, garages and storage units are packed with stuff we don't really need. Some of it's junk (your broken TV? Come on, get rid of it!), but there's a lot useful stuff in there that someone else could use. If you're never going to use it, maybe it's time to give it away.
You can use the Table's Serve App to post stuff you're willing to give away (read more about how the Serve App works). Not only are you cleaning out your own stuff, but you're helping somebody else out. Plus, the Table is a smaller, safer community than Craigslist, so you don't have to worry about the creepy stories.
Here's how to do it:
- What have you got?: Go through your closets, basement, storage unit, junk drawer—whatever—and see what you have that you don't really need. Grab a digital camera or phone equipped with a camera and take some pics.
- Post It: Add that stuff to the Serve App. Post the photo and any helpful details. We've seen all kinds of stuff posted—a laptop, rose bushes, old Christmas decorations, furniture, even dirt. Remember that one person's trash is another person's treasure.
- Give It Away: As people respond, connect to hand off your stuff. You can always meet up at church and save an extra a trip.
Your junk pile just got smaller and you met someone else's need. Everybody wins.
Bob is the family pastor at Kenosha First Assembly. He oversees the serving ministries and was meeting with his leaders when someone asked, "How do we get the word out and communicate to our people about the needs here in our church and in our community?"
Bob had already done some research and showed them the Table Project. Heads were nodding and faces smiling. Their first question was, "How fast can we get this thing going?"
What's your story?
It's a great example of the church truly being the body.
Seeing the Table in action—and God at work—is so inspiring. Here's another story about the Serve App coming through in a pinch:
Watch Angela's full video for even more examples of how her church is using the Table. This is also another entry in our Birthday Video Contest. Be sure to create your own video and share your story soon—our contest ends next week.
We also talked with Angela a few months back about how her church launched the Table and how it's going. Be sure to read the case study for Zion Lutheran Church.
One of the purposes of the Table at Substance Church in Minneapolis is to allow them to be the church outside of church services. Watch as Substance pastor and Table board member Peter Haas explains how that works with a real example of the congregation serving each other:
Watch Substance: Serve Story (2:02)
"That's the purpose: To be the church outside of church services," Peter says. "I don't know if it would work the same if we didn't have that tool in our church."
Watch the full webinar, How They Did It: Substance Church Case Study, for more on how Substance has utilized the Table.