Why we moved to Austin
Leslie and I love Jesus. How we got there is a long story (and one that we’d love to tell you about). Now that we know that we belong to God, we want to live in a different, deeper way. We want people to know how thankful we are for God’s blessings. We want people to be able to see Jesus’ love at work in us. Most of all, we want to share this way of life and the truth at its core with our neighbors.
We both grew up in churches. Presbyterian, independent non-denominational, Catholic, parachurch, big, small – we’ve tried all kinds of churches. At their best, churches gather people together, draw closer to God, and then send everyone out to live in reverent obedience. But that’s not always the case. Many churches are just another country club or social group. They often have good intentions but fail to connect with God’s Word, with the real life concerns of people, or with their neighbors. And then there’s a ton of institutional baggage. People get comfortable with certain ways of doing things – long after those ways stopped making sense within their setting.
We want to start a new community of faith here in Austin for a number of reasons. First – Austin is growing like crazy. Over 130 people move to Austin every day. We’d love to create new opportunities for those people to get connected with God. Second – startups get to be more creative, more experimental in their approach. It’s no secret that Millennials are different from Boomers. We have different concerns and approaches to life. What does it mean for us to follow Jesus? We’d love to ask this question with people our age in Austin.
Finally, we believe that God wants us to be a part of a movement. Jesus is for everyone. We believe that life is just better with Jesus – now and forever – and we want everyone to know how that can be true for them, too. We got to know God through the faithful testimony of people who came before us. We want to continue their work.
So what is a missional community?
A missional community is a group of people who live life together with a common purpose. We want to gather together with other believers – new and old – in groups of 20-50. Smaller groups are great for going deeper with close friends. Bigger groups are great for celebrations and big presentations. But 20-50 people is a party. New people can join and not be in the spotlight or lost in a crowd. 20-50 is big enough to take on some serious service projects but not so big that you can’t all eat together in someone’s home.
We feel that for too long the church has been about organization and control. Pulpits and pews are great when you want to present a lot of material, but we think that it is far more effective (and enjoyable) in the long run to read God’s Word in a community of peers and then put that Word in action. We would love to help shape a community of faith were people are genuinely plugged in. Church membership shouldn’t be just about attendance. Belonging to a church should feel like belonging to a team – common goals, mutual encouragement, coaching, and working together (also oranges at halftime).
Where do we go from here?
Right now our main goal is to meet people and build friendships. We believe that as we try to live in faith, God will provide us with opportunities to share the good news of God’s compassion and providence with people who need to hear it. It’s not something that we have to force or try to arrange all on our own; we just have to try to see people the way that God sees people. As time goes on, we’ll share this vision for meaningful community with the people we meet and see where it goes. After all, it’s not about us. It’s about Jesus.