[anzac] LIVING in 'COMMUNITY' - YOUR THOUGHTS?? - Andrew Strom

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From: "REVIVAL List" <prophetic@...>
Date: Fri, 23 Jun 2006 14:02:00 -0500
-by Andrew Strom.

A lot of people think this kind of thing is a 'dream' or fantasy. They
find it hard to believe it can be done successfully. But "community"
is no mere dream. I am convinced that if it is "outreach"-oriented - 
'outward' looking rather than inward - then it can work. We have
seen this at the 'Katrina' base in Mississippi.

This whole 'Community Living' concept is something that we have 
been actively discussing on the 'RevivalSchool' Forum over the last 
couple of days. For my family here in Kansas City, it is something 
that God has been challenging us about for some time - so it is
definitely not just "theory" for us. Our home is now up for sale. 
We would greatly appreciate your prayers and also hearing your 
thoughts on this whole subject, my friends.

To me, it is inarguable that the Early church greatly emphasized 
the POOR and also (to a somewhat lesser degree) "having all 
things in common". 

I feel that this kind of topic is one of the most important that can 
be discussed in the Western church today. We are so unscriptural,
so comfortable and so incredibly deceived in the "lifestyle" and
"money" areas. 

God has been challenging us ourselves so strongly on all this. But 
I need to make it very clear that I am not talking about any kind 
of "separatist" community here. I am talking about the kind of 
thing where you buy a bunch of cheap houses in the 'poor' part 
of town and reach out to the whole area with food, clothing and 
ministry, etc. (ie. You do not separate yourselves - but rather 
"live amongst"). -Similar to our 'Katrina' base in Mississippi - 
but this time on a permanent basis. 

So in many ways it is a 'mission' or "outreach" - actually living 
in the neighborhood that it is reaching. But it is also a "community" 
in every way - Christians who live close, sharing resources, 
fellowshipping and outreaching together, pooling possessions, etc. 
Having a "common purse" for the poor - each house run by one 
main family. 

That is the kind of thing I see. It is a concept that I know works - 
because of Mississippi. (-Also a group in Houston years ago - and
others around the world). It can be very powerful - and I mean 
VERY powerful. And it is utterly scriptural. Personally I find it 
pretty exciting - but it is something we need to go into with our 
eyes open. We are well aware of the challenges.

As I said, the house we are in (which is in the "safer suburbs" 
of South Kansas City) is now up for sale. (And yes, we have 
children, which we always need to bear in mind and be sensible 
about). For several months now we have been looking in the poorer 
areas to the North to buy a cheap older house - many are quite 
huge and perfect to begin this kind of thing. A lot of times you can
find a large one for less than $50,000.

It is definitely something we would love to do - and feel is from God - 
to have a living Outreach Community like this. And I believe it 
needs to be a Training School all at the same time. (-With young
people coming in for the Summer, etc.) -It has everything going for it.

We know God wants to change the very definition of "church"
today. Perhaps Mississippi was His way of showing us the
way forward. We are definitely very serious about these discussions.

Below are some interesting replies from Forum members on this topic:

Frank writes:

1- All private property remains private until voluntarily given. All 
things are in common only to the degree and as long as those 
involved want them to be. 

2- Everyone, but especially leaders, respects the privacy of all 

3- People are free to come and go as they choose. No contracts 
locking people in.

It is for freedom that Christ set us free, so please be careful with 
this idea. It could be good if done correctly. 
Debbie writes:

It sounds to me like Andrew is trying to see how the idea of a 
"permanent" outreach ministry would work in an underpriviledged 
community. I think it is a wonderful idea. If it is something that the 
Lord has put on your heart, Andrew, and other people are being 
called by God to participate in something like this, it will succeed. 

There are few points I'd like to make about some other things said here: 

Apparently the Holy Spirit was at work among the church that first 
began to live within a community lifestyle. He destroyed two people 
for lying about the price they sold their land for -- remember? 
Ananais and Sapphira. So if the Holy Spirit was present and 
working among this community, wouldn't that leave us to believe 
that it was ordained by God as something good? If God did not 
agree, He would not have been involved. 

I agree with Frank that there would have to be rules -- the basic 
and most important RULE BOOK -- the Bible, would have to be 
adhered to and followed. 
Caleb writes:

A few nice things about this Holy Spirit led kind of thinking: 

1) By selling most of our possessions, including our homes, we 
could move into smaller houses in poor areas and easily be DEBT FREE. 

2) Think about the possibility of being the church in this setting. 
Believers could meet in their homes, in their yards, in the streets 
and not have to leave those you are ministering with and to. You 
would just have to WALK down the block to be home. 

3) Think about the financial resources that would be available to 
minister to the sick, poor and even each other. With everyone 
being debt free from "rightsizing", and by having smaller bills to 
pay (including less gas cost from driving across the city to meet 
with each other), there would be VAST resources to give away as 
the Spirit leads. 

4) By actually living among the people and building relationships 
of trust, the testimony of the gospel would be so powerful. The 
lost would start to see the love we have for each other, and for 
them, and it would turn city blocks and neighborhoods upside down! 

This is just a small list. I have been dreaming of this kind of thing myself. 

The hard part is finding like minded people who truly are ready to 
sell possessions, deny themselves and follow Christ. (Believe me, 
I'm not there yet myself, but quickly being moved there by the Spirit) 

"Is this much like a mission field, as missionaries live among the people?" 

Absolutely! Fulfilling the great commission right here in America 
who desperately needs the true gospel lived out! 

Lets keep dreaming. (I) look forward to seeing how the Lord leads 
in this discussion....

As you can see, there is some excellent discussion already
taking place on this topic. We would love to hear from many others.
I have set it up so that anybody (even non-members) can respond
to this topic on our Forum. Please take the time to do so, if you
can. I hope to publish some of the responses next week. Here is
the website to go to-

We look forward to hearing your thoughts, my friends.

God bless you all!

Andrew Strom.