How does a visitor to your church know what you value? The sermon and other elements of the worship service are a huge clue. He’ll notice the friendliness (or coldness) of the congregation as well. But outside of the worship and the people, your church’s resource table may be the most important pointer he’ll get.
In some churches, the resource table is a footnote. It’s another flat surface that collects dust, styrofoam cups, and out-of-date signup sheets. But we miss an enormous opportunity to guide our congregation and inform visitors if we ignore it.
Why Your Church Should Have a Resource Table
The resource table is a place where your church takes a stand. With these recommendations and pointers, you say: We think these materials will help you love and glorify God.
You might think your church doesn’t need a table at all. After all, you have a website. You have a presence on Facebook and Twitter. Isn’t a resource table terribly old-fashioned?
Of course it is, and that’s why you need it. The older saints at your church aren’t scrolling through your tweets. Further, your recommendation has more compulsive power when you can walk someone to a specific place and put material in their hands.
And don’t forget the visitor. The man who arrives at your building by invitation or providence will want to learn about your church. What do you value? Where do you stand? What is it like to be part of this body?
The church resource table is an opportunity to display and develop your church’s culture. Stock it with resources to help your people reach others and grow themselves.
What Should Be On The Resource Table
Stock your table with aids for the worship service. This includes pens, paper, sermon outlines, and children’s sermon resources. Consider a display about your current sermon series, including dates and texts, so people can read and study the passage ahead of time. Consider producing a few sermon CDs and pointing people to your online sermon home.
Even if you have Bibles in your pews, arrange a stack on the resource table. Make space in your budget for a need-one-take-one policy. Everyone should have a Bible.
Make it as easy as possible for people to join a Bible study in your church. Produce clear, attractive signs or flyers, and highlight the contact person for each opportunity. Small group Bible studies can be the heartbeat of a church, so we should do our best to help people get connected.
Visitors will want to know the theological waters they are entering, so the resource table is a good place for any confessional or doctrinal pamphlets. If possible, supply something short that can be taken by anyone.
Finally, consider books, magazines, and articles that would be especially helpful to younger Christians. Beware of cluttering the table, but if there’s room, gather the best material you can find and make it available to take or borrow. One of the most important skills to teach new Christians is how to study the Bible, so an excellent book on this topic or a free booklet containing the same principles would find a welcome home on the table.
Without solid preaching, good leadership, and vibrant small groups, a church resource table carries as much weight as a wet tissue. But as an aid to these essentials, good resources can help highlight, reinforce, and broadcast the culture you want to take root in your church.