Why I Started a Local If:Table

LAST FEBRUARY I attended IF:Gathering in Waco. It is an event held in Austin Texas, founded by Jennie Allen. For the first time they made the gathering available for groups to host live all across the USA (actually the world, 22 different countries) via Live Stream.

There were at least three local events held in Waco, my city, and I choose the one held on Baylor Campus which was led by my friend, Sarah, a professor at Baylor.

The meaning behind the word IF is –
If God is real then we went to live like it.
We exist to gather, equip and unleash the next generation of women to live out their purpose.”

Speakers were from, of course Jennie Allen to Jen Hatmaker to Christine Cane to Ann Voskamp. And special guests like Bob Goff and his wife Sweet Maire, Shauna Niequest and Zach’s mom (he was the cancer victim who wrote the song Clouds) It was a seller lineup. Full of happy tears and sad ones too.

Being nervous and not wanting to grace such an event alone I asked my friend Julie to attend with me. I’m so glad she did. Looking back in my notes from last year the theme was Joshua from the Bible, specifically Numbers 13 where he was ready to conquer the promise land in-spite of the giants because he believed and trusted the God who brought them out of Egypt.

Joshua just believed.

The speakers unpacked areas of weakness and struggle. Unlike Joshua, we’re prone to wonder if we are enough. We worry about being safe and what this is going to cost me. Jen Hatmaker explained Faith like I’ve never heard it before and Christine Cane deflated all my dreams of chasing a platform and preached service. Bianca Olthoff asked what would happen if we just believe and Shelly Gigleo reminded us that today might not make sense but trust the God of the bigger picture.

Of course there was so much more, friends.

Out of the event they created this thing called IF:Table. It is, and I quote: “A place to gather women and share a simple meal and dive deep with people over real stories and Christ centered conversations. A time for a whole lot of laughter – and maybe a few tears – but time spent that leaves us with glad hearts. Full hearts. Grateful hearts. Once a month in your local communities. The vision is, 6 women, 4 questions, 2 hours, (Acts 2:46)

They supply you with the questions and each month you gather your group around the table with food and discuss the questions they provide.

IN FAITH prompted by the event, I stepped out and risked starting a group. The idea of building community in my small town seemed like an awesome opportunity to get to know the locals better and hopefully feel more a part of and a deeper sense of belonging. I had Julie already. She agreed to committing.

I trusted in my God who sees the bigger picture and sent a message to an acquaintance, Jacque inquiring if she was even at all interested in this thing. It blew me away when she said yes and that she even had somebody else in mind to add to the forming table! What!? How awesome!!

Her friend, Meagan said yes and by the third IF:Table, her friend Emily was added making us 5. It’s crazy but God knew who He was gathering for our community group. All I needed was to just believe in God, do some asking and then watch Him form our table. One thing we all have in common, we are all transplants from other states or other areas of Texas.

I just love the people who shape our table. We started in April which means we’ve been gathering for 6 months of goodness by now. I think I speak for all of us when I say we look forward to each table gathering and getting to know each other better, hear our stories, learn from each other and change into more of who God called us to be.

>>>YOU can start your own IF:Table Gathering as well! Click this link to sign up and get the e-mails as a leader.

>>>OR curious but not sure who all to gather? That’s a great place to start. Prayerfully talk to God about starting one and let Him lead you and shape you as you contemplate.

>>>QUESTIONS??
Leave them in the comments or e-mail me at thenwedancedblog@gmail.com
I’d love to hear from you! No question is too insignificant!

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13 thoughts on “Why I Started a Local If:Table

    1. I’d love to hear if you do start one then! One thing I didn’t really stress was that being a transplant this was the perfect thing for me to jump into. Where 5 years into this community I kinda had an idea of the ways of the land and so after we started getting together and talking about local things and people I had a little bit of an idea who and what they were talking about. Also, they have broadened my horizons to new things around here and invited me to local events and I just love that!
      So, for you being new in your new community this might be a good thing to cozy up to that will help you learn to know people and your community! I’d love to hear how it goes if you do start one… 🙂

  1. I’ve never heard of this and love it! Since I already do Bible study with some community contacts this could be fun to check out! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Oh, Jolynn, this is fantastic. I love that you are doing this. Hmm can I sign up for the leader email and then take some time to think about starting a group? I would LOVE something like this.

    1. Sure you can sign up! You can always unsubscribe from the emails if you feel it’s something you don’t want to do. Also if you click around on the website you can read old questions to get a feel for the kind of things you discuss. I can totally see you doing this!
      Another thing to think about is what our group does. We take turns hosting and the host decides what the menu is and then asks everyone to bring a dish or drink to help out with the food. That way not everything falls on the host. I’m thinking with children this might be kinda nice in your shoes. 😊

  3. I am thinking seriously of subscribing to the weekly newsletter. It has been something I have contemplated for awhile. And I think Hannah has a great idea!!! I would want to get to know what the group is like, but it sounds awesome!!

  4. this is such a neat idea! I love the heart behind If and hope to attend one sometime. It’s beautiful to see it taking root deep into the everyday lives of those who have been blessed by it!

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