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Excellent suggestion, though that is not typically a spiritual gifts inventory. That is closer to what is called a talent/tithe, tithing your talents. If you or Milissa or anyone else wants a copy and how to use it just let me know as I had a hand in developing one that is used around north Amercia. I will email you a copy that you can modify and use in your own congregation.


Good suggestion but Techsoup requires that you be a 501C3 registered organization which many if not most churches are only an implied 501c3. There is a way around it but to date I have not been able to make it work. Since the local congregation is a "branch" of the parent denomination "CRC", they can use their 501c3. The CRC has a subscription to Techsoup (according to Techsoup) but the CRC office does not know the account number or how to access so those CRC congregations that could be using the great resources of Techsoup can not because they can't get access without going through the long and usually costly process of obtaining their own 501c3. If you know how to get the info from the CRC offices in regard to Techsoup and can share it with our congregation, please do.

At Hope Church for the past two summers, we have rearranged our sanctuary to include tables and invite everyone to grab a cup of coffee and a muffin and sit around tables for the service. At the end of the message, we have one or two questions that everyone is invited to share around their table and learn from one another. As well we have instructions for each person to commit to their own action plan for that week to implement the new learnings from that weeks service.
Rather than scale back in the Summer, we have intentionally ramped up the Summer services to use the more relaxed atmosphere to accomplish things that the more formal fall and winter services can't achieve. While we have no more people in attendance in the Summer we have found that visitors find it more inviting and easier to feel comfortable with the new settings as it is familiar.

I too had some concerns when our worship team suggested this type of format for the summer, but after trying it for the past two years I see that truly it is worship, afterall, worship is not defined by the seats we sit in,but the spirit we come with. Table seem to make the environment familiar to those unacustomed to a church setting and thus remove one barrier to true worship. All of the element of a traditional worship service are present, hymns, prayers, confessions, benedictions, sermons, and scripture, but what has changed is the seating. The early church was very familiar with interaction as those who gathered were expected to take their turn in reading the Word and offering their comments as with Jesus in the temple. I guess the only element that may be foreign to conventional worship is allowing coffee around the tables during the service, but it is amazing how this has been used as an illustration around communion (which is also served around the tables in NT fashion) and people now reflect on Christ's sacrifice not only while receiving the cup during communion, but while drinking coffee during worship and in their homes. I have had a number of worshippers tell me that they never realized that the common elements were given so they would always be in front of them to reminid them. This has given new meaning to even their home worship times.
So I guess that is my long way of saying that I have been convinced that worshipping around tables, fostering dialogue with the message and the Word and sharing in communion fellowship in this setting is truly worship in the truest sense. What started as a move for some practical reasons, has emerged as a theologically teachable moment and living illustration of NT worship.

I hesitate to jump back into the conversation, but must say that if you ever come to Hope Church you may be surprised by the tables as you enter, but you will certainly leave having worshiped. Tables or not, it is not the setting that brings people into worship but the spirit of God at work in the setting. If we really wanted to worship in the way those in the NT times did with Jesus before them then we would all be sitting on the hillside, or seashore or segregated in the temple on the floor. Let us not confuse cultural norms for Christian standards. Worship happens when the people of God gather to come into the presence of God, no matter where that is or what it looks like. The methods may change but the Gospel remains constant.

Thank you for your thoughtful response and clarification. I agree and we did spend quite a bit of time interpreting what the introduction of tables meant and also used Biblical tie ins with table fellowship, communion, and even Temple reclining. We introduced them precisely to be able to share in closer worship communion around the tables, discuss what we had just heard in the message and on Communion Sundays, enjoy the close fellowship around an actual table an not just a figurative one. So thank you so much for your clarifications and words of encouragement.

Coming from the RCA which has permitted Children at the Lord's table for quite a number of years, I applaude the CRC for this move. For me the larger question is why we affirm that Baptism is purely by grace, thus we are able to baptise a child in infancy but the Lord's Supper, which Scripture also affirms is simply by grace, has requirements attached to it. In the past we have used the Lord's Supper as the carrot to move our children to make profession of faith. We no longer live in an era where children can be coersed by the prize of membership or communion.

I am glad that we are coming to the point of recognizing that both sacraments are given for the imparting of God's grace and are not rewards for right behavior.

I still am a stong proponent of all making a profession of faith as scripture strongly tells us that we must profess Christ if we are to have him as our advocate before the father, but I believe the church must find ways to nuture faith that brings people to the point of declaring their faith and not as a reward for actions we would like to see taken.

Therefore, to me the question is not either children being welcome at the Lord's table or them making profession of faith, but is both, but as independant actions.


I think that Fronse is right on target in terms of how you might minister even from home. I have had people in their 80's and 90's make their connections on the internet a blessing to others as they share their heart and allow others to share theirs in return. One of our members also found that starting a time of coffee and conversation in their home has brought the church to them instead of always they to the church. Just a thought.


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