Table a free social network for just your church

There are popular social networks. And then there are private social networks. Both have their place. Some churches are only in one of those places. Some churches show up in both places. Some churches aren’t anywhere online.

For churches with people who may be more cautious about communicating online, a private social network could be a safer place to get started.

The Table is a private social network that’s free for churches. And as an web app, it doesn’t require any software installation. Its features list looks nice. Just a web browser and internet connection. Here’s their video describing what the Table is:

The Table is coming soon. February 23rd. On that day, the doors will open and The Table will be made freely available to one and all. You have to wait for it.

Unless you win. Here. Being translated, you don’t have to wait!

You can win a free account to The Table here and beat the crowds! (kinda like getting in the amusement park or Costco before everyone else.)

To win a free account, add a comment below with your church website address and describe how your church could use a private social network like The Table. I’ll award a free account to The Table Project to 3 commenters on February 7th at 7:59am PT, to: (1) one at random, (2) one with the most interesting story (based on an “interestingness” factor), and (3) a church that’s giving voice to its church members & attenders, not just the pastor’s. Winners chosen at my discretion and decisions are final.

[CONGRATULATIONS to Marc Payan and Bumble Ho for winning early access!]

(As an aside, methinks comparisons to commercial offerings like The City or SoChurch is unfair. Each church has to discern what’s going to work in their context.)

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23 Responses

  1. Kenny says:

    Can I enter on behalf of a client? (hint hint). We’ve got a custom inhouse project that’s now up for FB integration, etc. But are actually waiting for TableProject to be released to compare options for migrating to TableProject or not. Would love a free account to test and potentially champion!

  2. Bumble Ho says:

    As a geek, I built our pre-social-network web site tnsa.net back in 2002, and it was blooming for a while. But I didn’t have the time to make it powerful and easy enough, so we complimented our web site with Fellowship One in 2006. But we couldn’t intergrate Fellowship One easily with our existing system (because I got to spent my time wisely to minister to people and not administering the software). And then facebook make our local social-network a dinosaur.

    Enter The City. I was fairly excited with Mark Driscoll’s camp vision in the software as we started a church plant. So we dumped Fellowship One to fork the money over for ourChurch.onTheCity.org – now at least for a little bit more money, when people tithe to the church, they will see it show up as received OnTheCity (compare to only the back end people seeing it with Fellowship One). But my front end static web site RedemptionPoint.info are still looking horribly with Google Sites (since I still don’t have the time).

    In the mean time, most of my church members still use facebook rather than The City, because the developer refuse to let me “force” people into a group on The City πŸ™ So now I am looking again for something better. Ideally, want a “facebook app” that my member on fb could intergrate themselves in the first time they use it. And the app should allow non fb users to have an interface to it as well. But then it should also allow for inter-church communication in the same network/denomination and strong Email intergration like The City as well. And all that should be low cost ofcourse.

    Is it The Table?

    Am I asking for too much?

    πŸ™

    • Stan says:

      Here’s a new social networking platform that you should checkout. It’s a walled garden, private, safe and secure for your congregation… and it’s free! grapevinetech.org

  3. Lon says:

    i wouldn’t mind checking out table – though no guarantees on us actually implementing it. we’re a small community http://mosaicbaptist.org though we could always use well running free solutions to help with community development.

  4. LT says:

    What a coinkidink! I was just thinking this week about a social network for my church fam. We’re redoing everything. Information management and communication is going to be key. It’d be interesting to see how this might work across different ministries/languages and all the challenges of being in an immigrant church. Interestingly it’s been fun to see how many parents and older adults have jumped on facebook to be connected. Our members may feel more secure and comfortable with something more private. I can definitely see something in the works for our leadership body but leadership could always use feedback and get better connected to the rest of the body and vice versa.

  5. Marc Payan says:

    2011 is very much different that years past for me and my family…
    #1: I’m serving as Associate Pastor at Christian Tabernacle of Santa Ana.
    #2: Implementing small groups (none existed before and launching 50+ this month)
    #3 Contracted with FellowshipOne and currently in implementation stage.
    #4 Looking for ways to give members and visitors a voice.
    #5 I and others at Christian Tabernacle are Prepare/Enrich trained facilitators
    #6 FellowshipOne and Prepare/Enrich integrate with the TableProject.
    #7 We are at a great crossroads to examine the use of TableProject and its integration with our bilingual, multicultural church community.

  6. Ward says:

    Stan…
    My church heartland ministries just installed “the vine!” 60% of us as online and communicating everyday!

    Check it out at grapevintech.org

  7. Kev says:

    We use “the vine” at our church of 10,000. It’s a great connection ministry tool. We use it as more as a social tool than a management tool. We don’t need another management tool. Works great for us. http://grapevinetech.org

    • DJ Chuang says:

      @Stan, @Ward, @Kev: Thanks for letting us know of another private social network for churches — I see that The Vine (grapevinetech.org) has a free trial for only 3 months. What is the pricing? Didn’t readily find that info available to the public.

  8. On FB the comments and conversations are wide open. I see this as a tool to allow new comers as well as long time attendees to enter into discussions, give input and even meet more people. It’s one way a larger church could be smaller

    • DJ Chuang says:

      @Ronnie, thanks for adding a comment and weighing in. One of the things I say about the difference between Twitter and Facebook, is that Twitter is truly wide open to the whole wide world and search engines, while Facebook is more semi-private and chatter is only available to friends and people on Facebook — not to the whole wide world, and not findable via search engines.

  9. Kim Slaughter says:

    I appreciate Ward’s and Kev’s enthusiasm but I have to side with Marc’s point of a strong ChMS and integration with a social solution. I would like Ward to comment on “60% of us as online and communicating everyday!” I have talked to several giga churches with solid communication strategies and they are having a hard time competing with facebook…the end result is low utilization.

    To Kev’s comment of “We don’t need another management tool”. How do you manage 10,000 people a weekend without check-in, attendance, contributions, reporting, ext… I just don’t see how you can set goals, measure results and determine impact without a more sophisticated back end. I want all pastors to have access to meaningful info the moment they need it.

    Does The Vine have an api so you can leverage the data that it does collect? The Table is allowing other systems to connect to them via their api. Huge!

    • Kev says:

      Of course, we already have a ChMS to manage our membership that gives us great data on the backend. My point was we’ve chosen to allow our private social network to be a social connect tool and not treat it as another tool to manage our people. The idea of full integration sounds good, but can create incredible management issues when trying to keep two large databases in sync. We would rather free the social network piece to be truly social and not be burdened by reconciling data with our ChMS.

  10. Frank Tan says:

    I will be assuming the Children’s Ministries post at Atlanta Chinese Christian Church (http://www.accc.org) in a few weeks, and I can foresee using a private social network in one of three ways, (1) communicating with parents on how to partner with the church in raising their kids spiritually, as well as a secure place to consult on issues relating to child-rearing in general.
    (2) The other way would be in a support network for volunteers and anyone interested in children’s ministries. (3) And dare I say it, a private social network for the kids themselves.

  11. Sam DeSocio says:

    We’d love the ability to check out the table. We are a small church plant, but most of our folks are pretty tech savvy. Leveraging digital community for the sake of physical community is something that we value. Our view of tech is to use it rather than be shaped by it, and Im not sure that the other offerings out there dont shape you as much as you shape them. We are running a church plant version of the city right now (first year discount), and wordpress on the front end. We’d love something that is more flexable for a small church. The biggest downside of the City is that it seems to be reversed engined for mega churches so some of the things that seem like no brainers at a church of <1k are a drag on us.

  12. Artie Davis says:

    We’d love to have a place at the Table, and quite frankly…We NEED it. We are a multi-ethnic church with growing campuses of the same, (2-International campuses). We are so far reaching in culture and location, this would be an incredible tool to bring a feeling of “closeness” to the many.

    It would also be a great tool I would love to introduce in our network of churches and plants in the Comb Network, and The Sticks.

  13. Here at Fellowship Technologies we’re excited to have partnered with a tool like The Table for those churches looking for a strong ChMS like Fellowship One coupled with a social solution specifically for churches. The initial integration between Fellowship One and The Table is now complete with more to come! http://tableproject.org/features/#chms

  14. djchuang says:

    Thanks for all the comments about your churches and your interest in The Table. The winners for the early access to The Table are:

    [1] Random number = Marc Payan!
    [2] Best story = Bumble Ho!
    [3] Giving voice to the whole church = none (yet?)

    For the rest of the commenters, I’ll see what I can do to get you an early access secret code. Or, just rest easy and be patient for February 23rd, when everyone will get access.

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