The Four Tables
One of the best strategies for relationship building and thinking through when you’re at the right place to share the gospel with someone is an approach that has been dubbed, “the four tables”, it comes from Neil Hudson of the London Institute of Contemporary Christianity.
The idea is simple. Think of a relationship as existing at one of four tables (metaphorically).
- The work table.
- The coffee table.
- The dinner table.
- The Lords table.
The work table is a place where you just start to build a relationship.
Deep conversations don’t happen here. This isn’t a place where you share much about who you are and what makes you tick. You try to be gracious and build a relationship and break the ice, but you don’t usually step into the deep end. That’s how you operate at work.
The coffee table is where you build friendships.
That’s where first dates happen, and where you begin to get to know anyone (again, metaphorically). Here conversations deepen and you begin to share a glimpse of our heart, and what we care about. But not too much.
The dinner table is where you build relationships.
This is where the real conversations happen. This is where we really open up and share what makes us tick, and tackle the things that are important. Here, usually is where people are more receptive to the gospel, and here you show them yourself and the hope that is in you.
The Lords table is where you gather and worship.
This is the table where we hope to see everyone.
The thought process in all of this is that as you build a relationship, there is an increased openness. But also a recognition of the reality that if you move to quickly, often people get put off. That doesn’t happen overnight, but as you spend time together, the door opens for real, fruitful conversation, and the sharing of the hope of the gospel.
I hope you find this helpful. I have.
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