Ministry “With”

Prepositions are a feature of language that are simple, overlooked, and very important. A preposition if you remember from grammar class is defined as: any member of a class of words found in many languages that are used before nouns, pronouns, or other substantives to form phrases functioning as modifiers of verbs, nouns, or adjectives, and that typically express a spatial, temporal, or other relationship, as in, on, by, to, since. An example or three include: “The man ran toward the woman,” “The man ran from the woman,” and “The man ran beside the woman.” Prepositions change the meaning of language in subtle but drastic ways.

If we consider how we speak of ministry, prepositions can reveal how we view the calling before us. At The Table we believe that Christ has called us to express our love of Him through our rhythms of Hospitality, Discipleship, and Blessing. The question becomes one of prepositions.

Will we live the rhythm of Hospitality to those we meet? This makes us think that those receiving our hospitality do not want it. Will we live the rhythm of Discipleship for those we meet? This makes us think that perhaps we are doing what we do on behalf of others, leaving them out of the process. Or, will we live the rhythm of Blessing with those we meet? This is the preposition I have been getting at. Ministry with has more of an authentic, honoring, and impactful process that other approaches. When we invite neighbors into partnership from the very beginning, it becomes their project. Neighbors become owners of ministry, authentic relationships develop form the start, and lives experience Jesus “on mission.”

It is with this spirit of with that The Table is seeking to reveal Jesus via the rhythms He has called us to live. An example of this seen in this season’s upcoming Blessing events. We convened neighbors, neighborhood pastors, and Table folk together to daydream how we could together be a blessing to the south side of Bellingham. The result was camaraderie around a cause, and an excitement for ministry that would not have been present if The Table did its ministry to or for the neighborhood.

This Sunday is the first event from this neighborhood group. “The Day of Plenty” is a produce exchange, aimed at getting neighbors around food, music, and community. Neighbors will share from their plenty, and receive from others. More details will come soon. Our prayer is that this event will be the first of many Blessing events with our neighbors, for God’s glory.

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