About Open Table in the Desert

Open Table’s model draws together the potential of relationship and intellectual and social capital of people and communities. It provides technical support, training, structure, process.

Each Table is composed of a group of volunteers that make a year-long commitment to act–through relationship—as a team of life-experienced, encouragers, and advocates. Over the course of a year, the Table works together to set goals, foster accountability, and implement a plan to create change in the life of an individual or family.

The Open Table Mission

The Open Table model trains community sectors including business, community organizations, education, faith communities, government, healthcare and legal to work together in a shared purpose to transform their relational and social capital into tools people experiencing poverty can use to have better lives.
Through Open Table, communities move from transactional responses to poverty to transformational solutions. While people join Tables to help others, they soon realize their own individual purpose is transformed by the reciprocal relationships they create. Through the Open Table, relationship is mutual:  friendship, healing, purpose, and transformation given by each other for each other.

The Open Table Model

Open Table is a licensed model based on fourteen years of implementation, a theory of change, research, replicable training and fidelity tools. 

Congregations and organizations use the Open Table model to create community and transformation through relationships with individuals and families who are homeless, experiencing poverty, or other life challenges. Populations served by Tables include young adults in transition, veterans, probation/re-entry,
survivors of human trafficking, refugees, and others.

Organizations recruit volunteers who are trained to launch “Tables.” A Table is the platform through which individuals (referred to as Brothers and Sisters) and organization members enter into relationship. 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. The Table members, together with the individual or family being served, establish goals, accountability, and develop an overall implementation plan. Table members network in their congregations/organizations 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.

Interested in Serving on a Table Team?

The Gains

The Benefits of Open Table are substantial for those who are served by Tables, including creation of a network of supportive friends to make enduring improvements in jobs, relationships, and community success. Research has shown that not only are the lives of persons in poverty transformed, but so are many of the people who serve as Team Members of Tables.

Those who serve gain a new appreciation for the challenges experienced by many people in their community, and they have a newfound commitment to serving those in need. This enduring work by members of the faith community, when done in partnership with local agencies, can have a transformative impact on the way that poverty and other life challenges are dealt with in a community.

Team Member Commitment


  • “You show love for others by truly helping them, and not merely by talking about it.” (1 John 3:18)
  • Don’t try to predetermine what your role/value will be on a table — it will likely be quite different than what you might think it will be.


Pre-Launch of Table

  • Organizing Meeting: 1-2 hours
  • Training: 9-10 hours
  • Breaking of the Bread/Launch Gathering: 2-3 hours
  • Life Story/Plan: 2-3 hours

After Launch of Table

  • Weekly meetings: 1 hour
  •  Weekly Projects: average 30-60 minutes
  • Time Span: 8-12 months


  • $120/Table Member (assistance available)

Table Team Training

 Open Table training processes draw from the extensive research base of Wraparound, an established evidence-based practice method for assisting people in transition (Open Table was developed independently in the faith community without knowledge of wraparound). The Wraparound Process, which comes from 25 years of development and high levels of Federal funding for research, is directly applicable to Open Table. Open Table’s online training system, Open Table University (OTU), is a resource center built for Mission Leaders. Through Open Table University, Mission Leaders can read about best practices and stay up-to-date on the most recent Open Table research and evaluation. 


The Table Team Application

If you are interested in serving on an Open Table, complete the application. Thank you for your prayerful consideration.

Need More Info?

Give us an email shout with your questions.

Let us know if you would like to attend an information presentation to learn more and ask questions.

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A Video from Table Members
  • The Organizing Leaders give insight about the purpose of a Table, how a Table is formed, and about the training.
  • Table Members share about why they are a part of a Table and their experiences.
  • A Table Friends reflects upon her experience and the value of her Table in her life.

Pastor Eve Williams

“Serving with Open Table is unlike any other experience I’ve had in church work. So often we offer our time and talents, but don’t have the opportunity to see either the people we are serving or the impact of our work. It makes mission and outreach feel so transactional rather than relational. The value of learning another’s story and seeing their humanity is immeasurable – it is one of the ways that we can best imitate Christ. Open Table is built on these principles and it is why I encourage my congregation and beyond to participate in this powerful ministry.”


Jessica Shares her Story

A graduate of Open Table who “aged-out” of the Foster Care network and was ready for a supportive community. Enjoy Jessica’s story as she shares her journey.

Jon Katov, founder of Open Table

As a Christian community, we are called to impact the poverty rate in America through helping others create a safety network which our faith communities have woven into their very fabric.

Become a Member of the Team Today

If you are interested in serving on a Table, complete an application. Click Here to open the application. Fill it out and then select SUBMIT at the end of the form. Thank you for prayerfully considering serving on Open Table.


Open Table

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