Tables of Eight
Tables of Eight @ St. John’s Lutheran Church!
Frequently Asked Questions
Tables of Eight is a small group ministry centered around the table and hospitality – and one of the “Holy Experiments” we are “renting” for a few months. Here are a few things to know about this fun, exciting, new intergenerational fellowship opportunity:
Q: What exactly is Tables of Eight?
A: Tables of Eight is for EVERYONE! In our church it can be difficult to meet new people. These meals provide singles and couples an opportunity to share a family meal as a church family. The purpose is to mix our members up so that new relationships develop and grow. It is a great way to meet new people at church and get to know your church family better. Each group plans its own meals and gets together once each month for four months. The group can meet at one another’s homes, at a restaurant; at the park….it is up to you!
Q: How does Tables of Eight work?
A: Simply fill out the sign-up form (there’s one in the church office, one at the back of the Nave, one on the bulletin board next to the kitchen/back door, or register on-line from links on the website and Facebook. You can sign up as singles or couples (persons over 18 are welcome to participate – this initial “experiment” doesn’t include a family group). Groups will be randomly placed together and an initial host will be assigned. All participants will receive an email with their group’s contact information. It will be the responsibility of the initial host to contact the members to arrange the details of the first gathering. Sign-ups will be available through the end of the month. We’ll assign groups and notify everyone immediately in the first week of October so you can plan your first get-together! January is the fourth and final month of this Holy Experiment – then we will evaluate, and hopefully form new tables for another four months!
Q: How are the groups formed? Can we be in the same group as our friends?
A: Each group will consist of eight adults, assigned randomly. Since the intent of the dinners is to get to know new people, we will not accommodate requests to be in a certain group. The mystery is part of the fun!
Q: Will there be separate groups for singles and couples?
A: No. Our intent is to mix everyone together. (for this reason, we might have a group with 6 or 7 – and that’s ok!!!) If you are part of a couple, you will of course be kept together ;) but you might have another couple in your group and a few singles.
Q: Being a Lead Host sounds like a lot of work. What do I have to do?
A: Being a lead host is really quite easy. You are responsible for coordinating the location, date and food sign-ups for the meal. For the first meeting, the initial host can either assign the remaining hosts for the following months or ask the others to sign up for their preference. At the dinner, the leader will also facilitate discussion topics – ice breakers (if you want – and they will be provided) as well as a mini-devotional topic to discuss (again, if you want to – there won’t be a quiz or report due!). The main point is to get to know one another and have fun. That’s it!
Q: Who cooks all the meals?
A: Everyone! or No one! We have TWO group options – a Pot Luck group and a Restaurant group. For potluck dinners, typically the host provides the main dish, and the group members bring appetizer, salad and dessert to round out the meal (your host can ask each person to bring something or you can ask for volunteers for each item – whatever works for you!) You can even pick a “theme night,” (i.e. Italian night, Mexican Night, soup night, etc), and everyone can bring a dish that goes with that theme.
For the Restaurant group – the host simply makes a reservation for the date that works for everyone. You can meet at the host’s home ahead of dinner for appetizers or after for dessert – or whatever you want to do. Or just meet at the restaurant – less house cleaning!
You don’t have to be exclusive to one or the other – the Pot Luck group can always decide to go to a restaurant for one of the dinners (as long as it’s a unanimous vote!).
Q: What if I have a food allergy?
A: If you have food allergies or other dietary restrictions, please let your host and your group know. Once groups are formed, the first host will contact members to arrange the details for the first gathering. You will all have each other's contact information (and are encouraged to use it for more than just coordinating dinner!). Some of us might need gentle reminders of restrictions as we're getting to know each other, so please be patient with each other.
We (Transition Team) will include a reminder to ask about food allergies and dietary restrictions along with a few communications "guidelines" when the groups are announced.
Q: This sounds awesome, but I have children. What happens to them?
A: Childcare will be decided by the parents. This opportunity is focused on the adults. In the future, a family group may be another option – we will be excited to hear your feedback on this experiment!
Q: What happens after our final gathering?
A: Speaking of feedback, please let us know how things are working (or not). Hopefully, you will have a wonderful experience and will want to sign up for another “round” where you are grouped with another table! But as this is our first go at renting this Holy Experiment, we’ll first ask everyone who participated your thoughts on continuing.
Q: Who can I contact with questions?
LAST REQUEST: We want to follow your fun! Please post pics of your groups on the St. John’s social media pages:
If you are interested in learning more, please email Amy Langford or call her at 214-395-3763. Stay tuned for the next round of Tables of Eight in Spring 2019!