When we get thinking and dreaming about The Big Table, we see a bunch of things:
1. …a community that begins with Jesus, is directed by His Word, and lives in the power and joy of His resurrection and the gift of His Holy Spirit, in anticipation of His return when we will enjoy Him forever. This informs how we live, love, give, worship, talk, work and play.
2. …a leadership with Jesus as the Senior Pastor/Shepherd called by God to exercise biblically-faithful spiritual authority over the community with deliberate recognition of the specific spiritual gifts deposited by the Holy Spirit into each leader.
3. …a community that embraces the broken with grace and mercy and believes each of has fallen short of the glory of God and are broken vessels that, by willing participation, can be restored, reformed and filled by Jesus. We hold fast to the grace that it’s never too late to become what you were created to be.
4. …a community that grows because it is healthy (and healthy things grow). It is a community with a heart to invite people by the hand and bring them into community with Christ and His people so that they can mature, serve and be sent.
5. …a community with a heart to multiply by raising up and growing servant leaders.
6. …a community that values the integration of the whole self and cheers on the formation of mature followers of Christ with a clear sense of who they are in Christ, who they are called to be, and how we are to live in light of his salvation work in us.
7. …a community that is characterised by encouragement and building one another daily—a people who keep ‘open house’ with their time, talent and treasure and see that they are most consistent with a biblical model of community when they are giving, serving and receiving from/to one another.
8. …a community that understands that grace is opposed to earning but not effort and refuses to allow that opposition to descend into a satisfaction with mediocrity or an unwillingness to pursue holiness. A community that willingly says ‘yes’ to Jesus and to living in joyful obedience and humble repentance.
9. …a community that prizes character and perseverance over charisma and performance.
10. …a community that recognises that our lives testify to His glory and are willing to become his hands and feet through every part of ourselves.
11. …a community that cheers on every expression of Christ’s bride, the church, and encourages, without reservation, every community gathering together in His name to worship Him.
12. …a community that is uncompromising on the value it places on Christ, on the cross, on community and on using His Word as our compass but does not seek to wield, nor strut, nor judge those who are on a journey towards Jesus. We pursue the ministry of reconciliation we have been issued.
13. …a community that values the proclamation of the Word in ways that engage the culture in which we live and, while recognising that we are still growing in wisdom and stature, we have faith that by faithfully walking with Jesus through the empowerment of the Spirit, and through diligent study and plain hard work, we can proclaim and point to Jesus powerfully and confidently.
14. …a community that takes seriously the command to love our neighbour and is prepared to wrestle with ‘who is my neighbour?’ for the sake of compassion, community and action, not rhetoric.
15. …a community with leaders who are not infallible but are Spirit-filled and called according to the biblical qualifications for leadership and seek to live and lead in faithfulness to this mandate and model lives of servant leadership that are beyond reproach.
16. …a community with a conviction that it is blessed to be a blessing and is characterised by its generosity and 50/50 giving.
17. …a community that will die for the sake of the cross but will not sacrifice the lives, marriages and families of its people at the altar of ministry.
18. …a community where the Kingdom of God leaks out with salt and light all over the place. In running clubs, community gardens, mothers groups, groups of motorcycle riders, around dinner tables, in espresso bars…wherever there’s people!
19. …a community where the spiritual gifts of its people are encouraged, celebrated, validated and activated so that the body can be built up by these Spirit-issued gifts.
20. …an organic, dynamic structure that begins with the smallest building block of community (2-3) and finds expression through the larger, regular meeting of His people. Foundational to this structure is the recognition of each individual, the promotion of the healthy marriages and the celebration of family in all its vitality.
21. …a community that embraces diversity and intentionally resists the pull towards a monoculture.