A Jesus Community
It doesn’t take a denomination to start a church.
Neither an apostle or a prophet, an appointed church leader or an official church planter. You can have a simple community of disciples and follow Jesus.
My wife and I do not hold any of these offices and we never formally started a church. In fact, we never attempted to.
However, there has been an informal community of disciples around us ever since we opened up our family and our home and let others join us in our walk with Jesus.
This community has now existed for more than 40 years, and it continues with informal gatherings for meals, worship, bible study and teaching, prayer, counseling, working on a project, celebrations, hikes and other outdoor activities, parties, traveling, and of course, personal mentoring and baptism.
Some of these people have been living with us in our home for a year or two, or just for a few months, a few of them have been working with us daily. Most of them, though, live nearby in the city. Many of them are foreigners. They came as refugees or to finish their university studies.
We never had a membership list, a formally appointed leader, a board of elders, a budget, a constitution, a statement of faith, a list of core values, a mission statement - neither did we have any conflict, any splitting, or economic problem. And none of us ever got burned out.
We follow the vision and mission that Jesus gave his first disciples, to teach, to baptize and to train others.
Probably, most people today wouldn’t call it a “real” church, because they can’t see the typical signs for what they would regard a church, that is, a formal organization, aa building, an office and a weekly worship service on Sunday morning.
Nevertheless, there has been a constant flow of new connections, of teachings and modelings, and the building of community, in Jesus’ name and under the guidance of his Spirit.
Many of those who have been around us during these years now live in different countries and other continents. With some of them, we still are in touch, per email, through social media and through actually visiting each other. Flights are cheap nowadays and make it possible.
This wonderful bunch of people - we may call it a community - is both very little and quite large, anything between two or three and more than a hundred.
It’s both a local family and a worldwide community. It’s well defined by the people who are meeting at a place and a time, but it’s also hard to grasp due to its openness and flexibility.
It’s not a brand, not an organization, not a building, nor an office, but neither is it just an idea in our heads. It consists of real people, meeting at real places, doing real things together, for the sake of following Jesus and fulfilling his mission.
This community is held together through our commitment to Jesus as Lord and by our relationships. It’s straightforward and almost effortless, but it surely is glorious.
It’s a Jesus community.