Monday is for Discussion
(updated April 2013)
“Intensely Local” — a vision of the future (Dateline October 2018)
(a potential future newspaper article)
Communitas is a cluster of house churches being planted in rural Illinois and Indiana that has a unique approach to the “missional question.” The church has a big vision. They want to be a part of the leading edge of a church planting movement that stretches around the world. But to get to that future their strategy is to be intensely local in focus. If you spend any time around their leadership you will begin to get a flavor of how they both see themselves and how they go about the doing church.
You will hear phrases like:
- “We are intensely local.”
- “We really try to be communal in the sense that we love to do life together with our brothers and sisters in Christ.”
- “We try to take service to our neighbors very seriously.”
- “We are immersed in our neighborhoods, connected to our neighbors, and invested in our community.”
- “We are trying to be the church in and for our neighbors and neighborhoods.”
- “We really believe that when our neighbors see us, side by side serving them and loving one another, they will draw the conclusion that Jesus is among us. We really believe that.”
- “We see ourselves as chaplains to the neighborhood.”
In the Fall of 2012 Trinity Church with campuses in Watseka and Ashkum, IL began to move in new directions. The cluster of “house churches” called Communitas is the organic extension of Trinity Church and has grown to about 700 in about 30 “house churches” spread out over rural Illinois and Indiana in just five years. Communitas members are always talking about the rhythm of their lives together.
“We meet together in smaller gatherings to pursue biblical fellowship in a more intimate setting. And then we meet in a large Sunday Gathering where we celebrate the God of the gospel. That’s our rhythm: small gatherings and large gathering; intimacy and transcendence; And it’s our rhythm of life because we believe it’s a biblical way to live life together. It’s a rhythm of glory and joy—joy for us our neighbors and glory for our God,” said Pastor for Church Planting Marty Schoenleber Jr.
More “seasoned” than most church planters, Schoenleber is no stranger to church planting, having mentored and coached over 500 church planters that serve around the world. But he insists that Communitas is not a critique of existing churches.
“Trinity and Communitas are not a critique of more traditional churches that envision ministry in traditional categories of worship service, Sunday School, music programs and youth ministries.” We simply felt that God was calling us to take the gospel out into our neighborhoods in tangible expressions of the Kingdom of God.
We felt that being truly local, truly rooted in our community, we might discover something powerful about God, the gospel and ourselves, and we just might have a greater impact on our neighbors. It’s all about making more disciples of Jesus, not criticizing someone else. To paraphrase Jesus. ‘Old wine skins are good as long as you don’t put new wine in them.'”
If you would like to find out more about what we mean when we say “INTENSELY LOCAL” in our ministry focus, type “intensely local” into the search window at the left side of the blog.
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