Making Room at Your Tables

Encouraging people to start new small groups is a key to getting everyone connected.

In Luke 14, Jesus tells a parable of a man in need of guests for the elaborate banquet he had prepared. To get these guests, he sent his servants out into the streets and alleys of the town to bring anyone they could find to his table. He told them, "Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full."

Pastor Kerry Shook shared this vision on a videotape given to each small group at The Fellowship of The Woodlands (FOTW) in The Woodlands, Texas. Standing in front of a feast backdrop, Pastor Kerry told members that their dream wasn't just to create room at their table, they wanted to create hundreds of tables all around the community that people would be invited to.

Throughout their two-year journey, many members quickly agreed to take a six-week break from their current groups to help plant a new group. Connection Pastor Mark Howell tells of one such couple. Brad and Lisa approached him and said, "We're going to help you, but then we're going to go back to our old group, because we love our group." Just an hour later, after seeing and understanding the need, they came away saying, "I guess we won't be going back."

Now a full year later, they showed the Feast video to their new group and four people stepped up to say that they would open their homes as hosts just as Brad and Lisa had done for them. So today 50-plus people are connected, Howell said, "because Brad and Lisa left their group."

FOTW has story after story of members stepping out in faith to make room at the table in their homes. One large singles group was big enough that they always broke off into subgroups during their meeting time. This naturally developed multiple leaders. After showing the video plea, eight people stepped up to say they would take a six-week break to lead a new group. The leader of another group was hesitant to show the video because his group was just starting out and hadn't been together that long. He was protective of his new members and was sure they would want to stay together. "Just show the video," Howell encouraged him, "and then let the Holy Spirit lead the people." So the leader stepped out in faith and let the Lord lead, and lead He did—five members committed to becoming hosts.

Using the words of a simple story, Jesus painted a vivid picture of what His children's feasts should look like. He wanted their homes to be full with people from their towns. From the leadership all the way through to the membership, FOTW has helped turn Jesus' dream into reality by making room at their tables for the people in their community.

Related

Eliminate Barriers to Community
Eliminate Barriers to Community
Structure your groups for maximum participation.
Develop a Group Strategy
Develop a Group Strategy
Expert advice on creating a custom plan for your ministry
The Power of Vision
The Power of Vision
Articulate a clear vision for your ministry and see the amazing results.
What You Can Do to Develop More Women Small-Group Pastors
What You Can Do to Develop More Women Small-Group Pastors
Despite a plethora of female group leaders, few small-group pastors are women.
The Right Way to Do Small Groups
The Right Way to Do Small Groups
What I've learned from years of small group consulting
The Best Way to Do Evangelism Today
The Best Way to Do Evangelism Today
What church planters can teach small-group leaders