Life in Community

In our search through the Scriptures and history of the early church in the pursuit of how the Lord might have us live as His people in this place in time, we have found that we must start in His Word, not western culture, to drive our practical priorities in this life. Though we have placed great value on the example of those who have gone before us and those who journey next to us in other congregations, we do not make assumptions that American church history or societal norms necessarily represent the best way to answer His call.

In seeking these Scriptures, we found a number of statements made by the Lord that drove us to this “life together” story that we have chosen. The first of these was simple, but not easy: Jesus calls us to lay down our lives and follow Him, to find our lives by losing them.

In seeking these Scriptures, we found a number of statements made by the Lord that drove us to this “life together” story that we have chosen. The first of these was simple, but not easy: Jesus calls us to lay down our lives and follow Him, to find our lives by losing them. America’s celebration of individualism, achievement and personal dream-following seems to lead Christians down the opposite path, where ministry becomes a 9-5 job and having a happy marriage and good children defines arrival at Christ-likeness.

Jesus seems to redefine what family ought to look like as He calls the church to take care of each other. Western society’s solution for the poor, disabled, abandoned, sick and elderly is institutionalization. We believe there must be something more to God’s call for us to care for these and bear their burdens as our own.

The part that biological families play into this American dream was another piece that confounded us as we stepped deeper into His Word. Jesus seems to redefine what family ought to look like as He calls the church to take care of each other. Western society’s solution for the poor, disabled, abandoned, sick and elderly is institutionalization. We believe there must be something more to God’s call for us to care for these and bear their burdens as our own. Just as those who are disabled or sick cannot go home at night and take a break from their affliction, we believe we ought not take a break from their affliction either. It is in the practicing of this life that we have discovered that all of our own afflictions are cared for in a much greater way when we surrender to a life of care to those who suffer. It is in this life that we discover that we too, are sufferers, and that those we care for begin to become our caretakers, representing Christ to us as they teach us patience, love, and every other fruit of the Spirit.

We commit to one another in this radical way because we find that it is much more difficult to hide behind our false selves when they are daily exposed to those who know us well, and more importantly, to those who know Christ well. It is this daily practice of vulnerability and sacrifice that we hope will confuse this world and make true Jesus’ hope that they will know we are Christians by the love that we demonstrate for one another.