The Table is a collection of people who have been following Christ together for over 10 years. In the course of our journey together, God has been shaping our vision and values for this ministry. To do this He has used his Word, community research, and our personal experience. Initially we started out as a church gathering. We started out small and remained small throughout our history as a church. Being a smaller group helped us be more intimate; we really got to know each other. It gave us a chance to learn the importance of community, trust, and honest transparency. Each of us shared our life story with the rest of the group, and through that we learned that we all had an injury in our life that caused us to tear up when we talked about it. For some of us that injury inevitably took us down a path of addiction to medicate that pain, but each one of us found Jesus (or rather, he found us!).
We also learned about being mindful of the connection between our mind and body and soul. We paid attention to our outsized reactions of anger, fear, and apathy because these things revealed at spiritual need (it works like a dashboard warning light in a car). We learned to tune into our need for rest, exercise, and play. We helped one another find balance between work and leisure. During the summers we would meet at park and just spend time together – no formal teaching or worship, just playing together, just being. We began understanding the value of being in nature with God and finding God’s handywork even in the small things.
We also felt like it was important to start from scratch and set aside all our preconceived ideas about what church was. We wanted more for our church. We wanted to look more like the early church than the modern church. We looked carefully at the Gospels in the Bible and studied how Jesus interacted with his disciples and people outside that circle. We pondered what he said, and thought through the implications for us today. We learned that in God’s eyes a successful church is more about being faithful to Jesus than the amount of people you have. As mentioned before, we were small and didn’t draw a huge crowd, but we did reach a few. While it made a real difference in their life, it made a HUGE impact in our life. The implication for us was that we had a specific mission as a church body. As we looked we saw a pattern. We seemed to have a regular connection with a variety of people in and coming out of addiction, and that was a soft spot in our heart. The result of those few relationships was that it helped us realize our niche, that we were specifically called to focus on people in addiction. When the season was right, we closed as a typical church group meeting to dedicate ourselves to the work of recovery. I spent about a year working with a local recovery program where I was able to flesh out the vision that God had been forming in us for the past decade. The Table PNW is that plan. We know this is what God wants us to do.
This blog will be a collaboration of many of the things we have learned on our journey together. We are all still students of this issue. We do not have all the answers, but we want to share with you what God has shown us.