Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”
Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
(John 1:46, NRSV)
When we were in the beginning stages of birthing Potluck Church, we were fearfully hesitant to tell others about it. What would they think? Would they understand it? Would people serving in traditional churches be threatened by it? Would they judge it? Or judge us for feeling called to help start it?
So, we were very protective of the idea and of our zeal for it. It took a while to trust others with this baby. Over time, God taught us to share it, to be generous with this call, and to take risks to tell the story to others.
Occasionally we still encounter folks who will say something like, “Madisonville? Really? That’s where you started it? A small town in western Kentucky is doing something new?” In these moments I am reminded that something good can come from Nazareth, that God does do new things in places where we’d least expect. And I’m even more thankful, then, for the people who have spoken words of encouragement and inspiration. Thank you, encouragers—you know who you are.
At Potluck Church we gather together at one table. There are rare weeks when our table does not comfortably hold enough chairs. A few weeks ago we experienced one of those times. In a hurry, we added an extra table on the end to allow us to accommodate three more people, but we had no extra tablecloth on hand. To me, it felt like a kids table tacked on the end—like we had two-tiered seating. We joked that those chairs were “the cheap seats.” In hindsight I wish that I had offered to take one of those “cheap seats”—to do as Jesus encouraged and take a lower seat.(“All who humble themselves will be exalted.” Matt. 23:12, NRSV) But that’s hindsight for ya.
Every indoor worship space has a maximum capacity—a population number at which point the room no longer feels comfortable. And the rule of thumb for the traditional church is 80% occupancy of what the pews will technically hold. At 80% clergy are encouraged to either expand the sanctuary or offer more worship services. The warning is that visitors will turn away if the church grows past 80%.
But what is the percent capacity for a dinner church? For a worship where everyone sits at the table? If we are to be a church that claims all are welcome at the table, then an actual seat at the table with space for a plate seems critical to our way of worship.
written by Rachel
Set a table, invite Christ and others, leave an empty chair, serve up some powerful questions, and break bread.