In “Ecclesiological Guidelines to Inform Southern Baptist Church Planters,” a 2004 document written by R. Stanton Norman for the SBC North American Mission Board, Dr. Norman writes:
Deacons have played a significant role in Baptist churches throughout their existence. Early American Baptists identified three “tables” of service for deaconate. Deacons were to care for the table of the Lord’s Supper, a ministry of administration over the ordinance. Deacons were also charged with the table for the poor, a ministry of benevolence and mercy. Finally, deacons were to exercise care for the table of the pastor, referring to their support and service in some aspects of pastoral ministry.
We will continue to catalogue helpful references to the idea of The Three Tables in these articles.