Congregations use the Open Table model to create community and transformation with the homeless, working poor, young adults transitioning out of foster care, veterans, probation/re-entry and victims of human trafficking.
Congregations recruit volunteers who are trained to launch "Tables." A Table is the platform through which our Brothers and Sisters in poverty and congregation members enter into relationship, allowing them to create change in their lives. Candidates for Tables pass through a psychological assessment and backgrounding process. Each Table is composed of a group of volunteers that make a year commitment to act as a team of life specialists, encouragers, and advocates for impoverished Brothers, Sisters and families. The Table members, together with the individual or family being helped establish goals, accountability, develop an overall plan and implement it. Table members network in their congregations and the community for resources to support the plan. As Tables end, they transition into an After Plan, through which Table members and Brothers and Sisters are able to remain in supportive community together.
Each Table is hosted by a congregation (up to three congregations may share a Table). A required team of volunteers (8-10 people help an adult or family and 6-7 help a young adult transitioning out of foster care or a veteran) serve over an 8 – 12 month period. Tables generally meet once a week and often at a lesser intensity as the work progresses. Table members are primarily generalists, work as teams and also provide leadership for important life domains (see Open Table model diagram). A national team of volunteer Open Table Navigators train a volunteer Mission Leader in each faith community to lead the model and launch Tables.