Starting with our core group (Mesa 0), Latino Leadership Circle (LLC) seeks to facilitate mutually supportive Christ-centered circles of Latina/o leaders who engage the world and serve as a catalyst for personal and community transformation. One of the primary ways we nurture leaders is through our culturally rich small-group methodology called “La Mesa”.
“Mesa” is the Spanish word for table. In the Latin@ culture, the dinner table is a place of intimate conversation and fellowship. Our delicious foods are enjoyed “en la mesa”, and afterward we stay to have special conversations, sometimes light, sometimes weighty, but the words spoken “en la mesa”, at the table, are always special to us and provide us with a unique sense of connection to one another. Still today, in many of our countries of origin, it’s customary for extended family and neighbors to casually pass by our homes and share a hearty lunch. No one is turned away and somehow there is always enough food for everyone who comes to “la mesa”.
In the Scriptures, the table is a place of great significance.
The Tabernacle had a Table of Showbread, which had 12 loaves representing God’s steadfast provision for His people, the 12 tribes of Israel (Exodus 25:23-35).
The psalmist declares the abundant provision of God, even in challenging times, when he says, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows (Psalm 23:5, NIV).
It was at the table that Jesus many times engaged people and taught his greatest lessons. One of which marks His new covenant with us (Luke 22:14-38).
In the book Revelation Jesus reminds us that we are to just open the door so that he may sit at the table of our heart and have fellowship with us, as he says, “Look at me, I stand at the door. I knock. If you hear me call and open the door, I’ll come right in and sit down to supper with you.” (Rev. 3:20, MSG)
At the table, we remember Christ, share our stories, and learn about what it means to be a part of a faith community.
La Mesa is a place of connection, blessing, and brokenness.
One of the most important communal spiritual practices for us to restore is the practice of La Mesa.
Mesa Community Values
In order to maintain integrity, emotional safety, and to encourage an atmosphere of group transparency in a Mesa, the following values are essential:
- The Circle”. A fundamental rule in “La Mesa” is confidentiality. What is said within the circle of members stays within the circle.
- “Respect”. There is a Spanish adage that says “Where there is love, there is respect”. Be careful not to dismiss or minimize the thoughts of others. La Mesa should be a welcoming place for all. Also, respect the members’ time. Don’t dominate the conversation. Give everyone enough time to share.
- ”Responsible”. Members have an essential level of accountability to one another.
The 8 Mesa Practices
The 8 Mesa Practices
The 8 Mesa Practices represent a group of practices that have been found valuable in facilitating a valuable fellowship experience.
- “Walking with you” – Members of the Mesa journey with one another through life’s peaks and valleys, offering spiritual and moral “apoyo” or support.
- “Breaking Bread” – It’s common practice to share a meal before a Mesa. In virtual contexts, members are encouraged to bring something to eat during gathering time (½ hour before the Mesa officially begins) for an informal chat.
- “Check – in” – This is a time for members to update one another on significant experiences in their lives and share what God is doing. This time can inform how we can pray for members of the group.
- “Sharing Your Story”. In the spirit of “being known and loved”, at some point of the mesa journey, members are encouraged to share their stories with one another.
- “Holy Listening” – In holy listening, the focus is on the speaker. It is non-judgemental and devoid of criticism. The listener practices a disciplined posture of care, hospitality, relaxed awareness, and attentiveness. This practice creates space for calm abiding with one another, and for the shy soul that longs to be admitted.
- “Reflection” – Theologically reflecting thoughtfully on the various aspects of life and society is a mainstay of Mesas. We employ “Teología en Conjunto”, doing theology together and “Theological Freestyling”, a method of combining various sources of traditional theology, the arts, popular and Latin@ culture to convey meaning and bring understanding.
- “Prayer” – Pray together and for one another, in Mesa and outside the Mesa.
- “Celebration” – Enjoy the company of your group by planning outings and celebrations during the year. In a virtual context, this could be accomplished by hosting a virtual party.
If you’re interested in joining La Mesa please email us. We’d love to have you join us. Include a short description of yourself, where you come from, and how you serve in ministry.