FullSizeRenderWhat if, instead of church life revolving around the pulpit, it revolved around the table?

That’s a question I’ve been pondering lately—and encouraging others to do the same.

Of course, Jesus went to the synagogue every Sabbath (Luke 4:16), but the Gospel writers spend just as much, if not more, time talking about all the eating He did—and the ministry, teaching, and service He did through it.

Check this out. Luke alone records all the things that happened while Jesus ate:

  • 5:29ff—Levi throws Him a great feast
  • 7:36ff—One of the Pharisees provides Him a meal, where Mary anoints Him
  • 9:10ff—He feeds the 5,000 after teaching them
  • 14:1ff—One of the chief Pharisees feeds Him on Sabbath, where He heals a man with dropsy
  • 15—The Scribes and Pharisees complain that He eats with sinners, which prompts three parables—the lost sheep, the lost coin, the lost son—about what He was doing
  • 22:8ff—The last major experience He shares with His disciples before His crucifixion is a meal—“the last supper”
  • 24:13—After His resurrection, He eats a meal with the two disciples that He met on the road to Emmaus

It is obvious: eating was a significant part of Jesus’s ministry—as it should be for us. In fact, Caesar Kalinowski has made this fascinating observation. He notes how there are three instances in Scripture where the Gospels record that “the Son of Man came . . .” Notice those three instances:

  • “The son of man came not to be served but to serve, and give His life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45)
  • “The son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10)
  • “The Son of Man came eating and drinking . . . ” (Luke 7:34)

“The first two are statements of purpose,” he notes, “But the third statement identifies Jesus’ method. How did Jesus come, serving and seeking and saving the lost? He came eating and drinking” (Small is Big, Slow is Fast, p. 83).

What would happen if we practiced “table evangelism” and “table church”? What would happen if the “fellowship meal” that we sometimes tack on after the “main event” of the “church service” was considered more to be the “main event” than just an add-on? It does, after all, create an optimal environment for organic fellowship and community, where great conversation can emerge and opportunities for service can surface.

So let’s think table more, not pulpit.