Where do I begin?
A bunch of us have decided to leave our normal lives for six months and move into town, sharing a house. People need to find Jesus. We want to explore community, bringing something fresh to the table. We feel compelled to be generous, preaching the gospel through generosity, through word and deed.
And really, we’re also a little bit mad. Mad enough to leave our lovely big shared community houses where we get our socks cleaned, lunches made and lawns mowed. Mad enough to try something new.
This house thing is the fruit of about three years of dreaming. My dream has been for a skunk works type project: a small team exploring new expressions of community and mission, honouring the past without being boxed by it. Autonomous enough to not be encumbered by the whole, but existing to feed back challenge and inspiration to the whole church and community.
Fortunately I’ve been blessed to have some solid people around me who have listened to and encouraged my excited ramblings, and at times challenged me to make it more than talk.
It has taken time, and over the years God’s refined my heart in it all and weeded out some of the sentimental idealism (not all idealism is bad!).
And fortunately it’s not really my dream, God’s given it to others too. Late last year Joram started getting a burden to see people being born again on the streets. He’s never been the first person to call himself an evangelist but he’s the sort of guy that gets burdens that won’t let him go.
Around the same time a small group of our lads started a bible study. One evening they got talking about the adventure of being on a mission together, and how living in large, efficient and preexisting communities doesn’t grab them a way they’ve glimpsed in other God-adventures. They started to dream too.
Those guys, Joz and I joined forces and we started praying together regularly in cellars and spare rooms. We’ve had some precious times together with bibles, old songbooks, pizza and a desire simply to know Jesus and make him known.
In the meantime the original lad’s bible study grew and now has about 15-20 regulars from various churches (and not just lads) meeting weekly in a pub in Northampton.
April this year Joz and family got a house in town to live among people who didn’t know Jesus. We’ve spent a few months helping them get set up and staying weekends, often having other guests over from the cross-church bible study.
Now four of us: Josh, Andy, Sam and I are just about to start renting a house nearby. We’re into the idea of sharing our money and using it for our mission, so we’ve been liaising a lot with banks. To be honest setting it all up has been a real drag, but I’m determined to prove that common purse sharing is for today, and that new communities can be just as radical or even more radical than the community we’re used to.
I’ll write more next time about our vision for sharing money. Or maybe we’ll have started renting by then so we may have some photos, we’ll see.
Watch this space, and maybe subscribe to this blog (see sidebar).