Got a few more questions? Here’s an utterly non-exhaustive list of some of the questions we get asked occasionally.
Why is it called The Big Table?
There’s a bit of a legacy behind the table thing. A number of us who formed a core group to plant the church used to be part of a small group that met around a big table. We weren’t that small – about 20-30 people met each fortnight. When it came to deciding a name for our community it just kind of stuck. There’s another layer of meaning that’s more profound to us. Jesus invited us to join Him at His table and eat with Him. It’s a BIG table and, because of His grace, we’ve been invited. We also believe that we eat at a table not to grow fat and lazy, but to be energised to get to work. Our times around the table equip us to leave the table and get to work spreading the good news of Jesus. Much of our time together – our eating, drinking, learning and praying – takes place around the table so it is both a social, spiritual and physical metaphor for what’s going on around here.
Are there other tables?
Yes, plenty! First, our gathering is, in part, based around this table metaphor. We think it’s a good metaphor for the organic community we’ve been called to plant.
The smallest table (we call them COFFEE TABLES) are where two to four people (but probably three) gather together. It’s for the purpose of reading God’s word together, encouraging each other and keeping each other accountable to the lives of holiness that God is calling us to. There’s prayer, there’s questions, there’s answers…and plenty of grace and forgiveness. These groups get together weekly or fortnightly in homes/cafés/workplaces depending on what they’ve decided amongst themselves.
The next-sized table (we call them DINING TABLES) are where eight to ten people meet together. These gatherings are at each others houses and include eating a meal together then studying God’s Word together and praying for each other. These are people we do life with day-by-day. We’re not a large community, so these are people we hang out with all over the shop. Along with The Big Table, we see this as one of the places where our faith muscles are exercised as we seek to love and care for those around us and bring others along for the journey.
The largest weekly gathering as THE BIG TABLE in South Perth, Greenmount and Carlisle. They’re times for singing together, learning more about God through the teaching of His Word, taking communion together, giving together, drinking good coffee together, eating together and praying together. There’s lots more that goes on at any given gathering (baptisms and infant dedications among them) but they’re about building deep, authentic community responding to a life-altering message in concert with a bunch of people who are responding the same way. In many ways, this is a pleasure – living out the gospel while pursuing organic expressions of deep unity.
Part of our monthly rhythm of worship is our First Sundays. As we plant more churches, we love the gathering together of these distinct communities in one place together, woshiping God together. These First Sundays are currently held at the rear of YWAM, 10 Gladstone Street, East Perth.
We also have LITTLE TABLES at a Big Table gathering. This is for the kids. We place an enormous value on children and families at The Big Table and want to create a safe, nurturing environment where children can experience the love of Jesus and, in time, enjoy salvation through Him. The times with kids are age-appropriate but include drawing, learning, singing and a little multi-media action along the way.
Our children’s ministry has two main groups: Little Tables and Swifters. The former caters for children aged 3 up to Year Two while Swifters is geared to Years Three to Six.
Earlier, we said there were two answers. Here’s the second. We believe we’re called to multiply and plant other churches. So, as we grow, we don’t see ourselves bursting at the seams until no more folk can come. Rather, we see ourselves planting more Big Tables all over the place; each consistent with the Doctrinal Statement of Belief, Mission, Vision and Values you’ve been reading about right here.
How do I become a part of The Big Table?
We’d love you to join us on this faith journey with Jesus at The Big Table. If we’re a community that you’d like to be part of, and you would like our mission, vision, values and beliefs to shape your own, then join us by saying: ‘count me in, I’m ready to roll my sleeves up and get on mission with you’.
It seems a little different to what I imagined about church. Why?
When we started praying about planting a faith community, we felt the safest place to search for a model for church, church governance, church discipline and a whole lot of other ‘living in community’-type stuff, was the early church we read about in the New Testament. If it seems fresh, organic, or revolutionary, don’t be fooled. It’s the shape of the early church that was planted after Jesus was transfigured. Our hope is that it’s an integrated way of living: because our understanding of Jesus’ desire for us is full and complete wholeness and freedom.
Stop reading! Talk to us. We’d love to tell you more about the communities we’re part of in Perth.