I love food. I love the smell of it, the taste, the preparation… And what American doesn’t like food? We love food so much that we have fast food options for when we have to have food now. We can go to a buffet restaurant so that we can have food all-we-can-eat style. God gave us bellies and we certainly like to fill them! Food is good. But what our souls crave more than food is interaction. Ever since Genesis chapter 2, human kind has sought companionship, so God created Eve for Adam! I am no stranger to living alone and I cannot tell you how many times while eating a meal, I desired someone to enjoy it with. The dinner table can have all the food that I desire on it, but there is a void in my satisfaction with an empty chair at that table. We were created for relationships; we were created to break bread together.
Church was designed and instituted to do exactly that: to break bread together and to have fellowship with others. Christ instituted this with the Last Supper, where He sat with His disciples and broke bread with them. The very first Christian churches were small and worship would consist of sharing a meal with one another. Acts 2:44 says of the very first Christian church that, “all who believed were together and had all things in common.” Although small, they were a body of believers.
At Bethel Lutheran, we have an active description of what our body looks like: we are “striving for the heart of Jesus as members of the body of Christ.” As members of this body, we all function as one. We may have different functions, just as a human body does, but we are one connected church. The heartbeat of Bethel Lutheran Church is the community and connections within it.
One of the ways that Bethel has worked to implement this active community is by using a social media tool called “The Table.” This tool has come a long way since the last time our church visited it, and I’m really excited for its possibility in our church today. If we are looking to be active with each other in the breaking of bread together as a body of believers, The Table will help us do that.
In a revamp of this tool, we are looking to utilize the Table’s greatest strength: its group function. At Bethel, we have some amazing Godspeak groups already meeting together and sharing a meal. By making a group on the Table, Godspeak group members can easily share prayer, encouragement, and needs with each other, keeping it private and intimate. Groups can also be created based on need or interest. For example, I went to a church during college that used the Table, and I was able to find groups that were just as interested in outdoor activities as I was! The Table found them for me, and I had the ability to connect with people immediately. This will be a great tool for discipleship and outreach as we welcome and include newcomers.
The Postmodern era identifies itself as having a thirst for authenticity, and some may argue that using yet another social media outlet like the Table would be far from creating authentic relationships. It is important to realize that the Table is only a means to building relationships, and simply a tool to connect people. There are studies showing that if people connect over the internet, they’re actually more likely to connect in person.
If you are already on the internet and you are already using your smart phone, and others are doing the same, it only makes sense to meet people in that realm. Shane Hipps writes in Flickering Pixels, “The Apostle Paul preached in open squares where the people gathered. In Acts 13 it was to the Jews at Antioch in Pisidia. In Acts 17, it was to the literal town square of conversation—Mars Hill. People today aren’t sitting around in debate clubs. They aren’t going to the town squares in the middle of cities. Instead, they’re having discussions on social media. It’s where people are gathering, debating, discussing ideas and connecting with others. Why wouldn’t you want to be there?”
Well, why wouldn’t you? If you haven’t signed up, I invite you right now to do so by going to bethelstpaul.table.org and simply joining! If you already have an account, update your interests so that you can connect with others in our body of believers. Pray, learn, meet, and serve together. That’s the Table. Won’t you gather around?