Welcome To The Table

While serving a remote village in the mountains of Haiti, I spent an afternoon inviting people to church. The most common response: “I don’t have nice enough clothing.” The heart of this response keeps people away in every culture: the fear of judgment, the rags of shame and the scars of old stones.

The Jesus-revolution launched a new way and a new community, an upside-down kingdom where all are invited to the table. It is a place where the poor are treasured and orphans find a home. It is a feast where earthly royalty and blue-collar tradesmen are peers. Every man-made hierarchy is crushed under the shared need to be born again and saved by grace.

I challenge you to read the gospels and note the times that Jesus is at a table or sharing a meal. Consider one example from the Gospel of Matthew:

As Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples.” Matthew 9:10

The table where Jesus wanted to be and the people he attracted and welcomed were not just the well-dressed and well-adjusted. This new community is radically different from old models, simply because everyone is invited: the religious leader and the woman caught in adultery; the wealthy tax agent and the widow who gave a penny.

Most expected the promised Messiah to wage a physical war against political oppression. Instead, Jesus pursued our hearts and laid ruin to the walls of prejudice and pride.

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Colossians 3:28 & 29

This is unconditional love. This mosaic of grace defines us; it does not count every idea as equal or imply that we don not stand on a strong foundation of truth. Rather, it means that we are united not by our backgrounds, preferences or ideals, but in the fact that we are all broken people in need of the unconditional love of God.

The great equalizer is our need. The great provision is unconditional love. Jesus destroys the hierarchies of this world and sets a chair for everyone at the feast. You need not be from the right background, have nice clothes or have kept the rules to be invited. Come as you are. The table is available to you.

A passionate worship leader and gifted songwriter, Andy Needham is a devoted champion for the local church. Beyond his role with the Andy Needham Band he serves as a speaker, consultant, coach and worship leader. In 2015, the Andy Needham Band will serve as the Worship Band at Youth Unlimited’s Live It.

My 51

For decades there has been an ebb and flow of unity among churches in New England. It seems the water is rising again!


Student ministries gathered for a few hours to advance unity and intentionally create synergy among churches.


It sounds way too cliché to paint the evening as an event full of fun, food and fellowship, but those were on the surface the entire time and it just felt right. There was a sense of belonging and affirmation. It seemed like everyone in the room that Friday night was saying, “This is my night. This is my time with the Body of Christ. This is my act of worship. This is my life for him. This is one week I will end in praise.”


What about the other 51 weeks of the year? That was the challenge. How do we live a life of true worship and help others grow close to Christ?


If fellowship was on the surface that night, then true worship and the Word were present on the deeper level.


Bryan Weigers of New England Chapel spoke from his heart that night emphasizing, “You are loved.” He shared his own hard times. Recently, one of his daughters needed 11 surgeries in one year. His other daughter broke her back. He suffered a broken neck. All this took place within months of each other. Yet God saw his family through the hard times. Bryan urged students to sign on for a “4G Experience With God” for every week of the year.


  1. Grieve when you’re going through a hard time.
  2. Group up with other followers of Christ. Make sure you don’t isolate yourself.
  3. Give it up to God. Dedicate the struggle to him. Even give thanks for how he is working when you can’t yet see how he is.
  4. Give to others. Even when you’re hurting you have much to give and God will use you to help others.


The Andy Needham Band led worship, introducing a new song that became an anthem for the night called, “Love is the Song”. Another song that resounded with the message of the evening was “O Great Love”, which is a great reminder that the deep and abiding love of God has far reaching effects on our lives. To listen to the song, watch the video below.



Annika Bangsma, a catalyst for the event, said,


“It has been my prayer that ‘youth ministry’ wouldn’t consist of just one lone youth worker striving to do the impossible, but a community endeavor both within and between churches to help adopt teens into the body of Christ—and thus become an endeavor full of relationships, accountability, joy and belonging.


It is for this reason that Bryan and I are both big fans of Youth Unlimited events, as we feel that they are great opportunities for students to grow in their relationships with Christ and with others.


Bryan and I had already planned to attend the Youth Unlimited Live It convention this summer with our groups, and thus when we found out that Andy Needham Band was booked to be the band at Live It, God stirred us a little further. If ANB was coming from our area to go to Chicago, what if we could take all that good stuff that was going to be happening in Chicago this summer –and give our area a little taste of it?


The theme for Live It in Chicago this summer is “The Other 51”, therefore, we decided to take some ownership of that theme, and thus, “My 51” was born: we would plan a night to showcase the band and the opportunities that exist through the Live It experience, while also bringing together area church youth groups and youth groups from throughout our classis (Vermont, Connecticut) for an exciting night of relationship building – both with one another and with our Savior—just like at Live It.  As such, we used some basics from the Live It playbook – a dynamic night of worship, telling Christ’s story, and social time for youth to connect with one another and their leaders; and were very excited at the results.


Many from the group in Massachusetts and the Andy Needham Band plan to meet at Youth Unlimited’s Live It which is a one week convention beginning July 21, 2015, at Trinity Christian College.


For a free download of “O Great Love” by the Andy Needham Band to help inspire others through their 51, fill out the form below.

Oops! We could not locate your form.