In the attractional church world, “bling” matters. And most often our “religious bling” comes in the form of bigger and better church buildings fully equipped with the latest and greatest creature comforts: movie seating, HD video screens, cutting edge audio, coffee shops, indoor playgrounds, climbing walls…and yes even swimming pools!
The swimming pool that I hang out at these days is the community swimming pool in my town home neighborhood. On any given summer day (and yes, even on Sundays) the pool is an active place, breaming with life and conversation. This is where we are doing church at these days…(continued)
Going back into the systematic church was odd at best. One of the churches has been resistant to working with “outsiders” and the idea that we were living in a post-Christian world was met with “Nonsense, all my friends are Christian.” Having to explain that that kind of thinking is actually the problem was an interesting task. But we found that there were people who were actually interested in learning about the Imago Dei and how the idea of a “sent and sending” God actually manifests itself in us as the Missio Dei. The other partner church was more receptive, with at least one person having recently become a Christian. They are showing signs of real transformation…(continued)
For the past two years, they have opened up their front porch as a pancake restaurant to their neighborhood, free to anyone who will take the risk and meet their neighbors. By setting up a griddle, some tables and chairs, and passing out flyers around the neighborhood, they have become the gathering place once a month during the warmer, summer Colorado months.
One Saturday morning per month, neighbors start meandering down the side-walked streets towards the Andrews downtown home, often carrying their own secret recipes of side dishes and toppings for pancakes. While everyone eats really well, what happens around that griddle is magical…(continued)
My wife and I got involved with Forge about three years ago. We had recently moved from an isolated place on a highway to a cul-de-sac in town. We were super stoked to have neighbors again, and we wanted to be intentional about sharing and showing Jesus to our new neighborhood. At the same time we were becoming fast friends with a family who were already amazing examples of this in their own neighborhood. They invited us to explore Forge with them. We were excited to learn more about what is means to be missionaries to our neighborhood…(continued)
For the first time in my ministry career, I don't have an office. I don’t have programs to point to for perceived success. I have no congregation, which means I’m not spending my time writing sermons and delivering them. My days are now filled with walking and biking my neighborhood, frequenting the same places to build relationships, helping serve the poor, being a good neighbor, practicing hospitality, and starting our church one living room or coffee shop meeting at a time.
Needless to say, I’ve floundered and fumbled my way through this process. While I have a deep conviction about the “why” behind what we’re doing, it hasn’t stopped me from feeling like a foreigner in a totally strange land of ministry…(continued)
“A group of us went to the Autumn House believing there was a group of people there who needed a meal, but what they were desperate for, what God sent us there for, was to allow the Kingdom to break through in small ways. We were there to be someone to talk to, we were sent there to be someone for these residents to share their hearts with, we were sent there to someone to be with them.
“To be vulnerable and honest, we walked into the Autumn House full of pride, believing we knew what we were doing. God sent us to the Autumn House for a specific reason, and because of Delmond, Dylan and Alisha’s unlikely leadership, we all immediately dropped what we were doing and followed Jesus into mission, where he was already at work….(continued)”
A neighbor who has lived in our area for over thirty years recently saw us out working in the garden and stopped to tell a story. She shared her excitement over Burwell Gardens as she reflected on her time in the neighborhood when she was just girl…she spoke of peach trees, flowers, tasty vegetables, and the presence of an underground spring just below the garden.
So as we continue to strive to be faithfully present to our neighbors through this garden, it is our desire that as they encounter tasty veggies fed by a spring bubbling up from below, they may also encounter a foretaste of a life fed by a spring of living water…(continued)
Forge allows me to equip my church for this calling to be missionaries living out the Jesus life in the places they life work, and play; the exact places that Jesus has already sent them to join Him in his mission. I lead an annual Forge Residency as a way of planting a church within a church, comprised of missional-minded disciples who are modeling this new life and helping me illustrate for the broader faith family the value of this ancient lifestyle. We are redefining disciple-making as the responsibility of every disciple and not as the job of pastors or church programs…(continued)
We thought we were sent to Houston for treatment and hopeful recovered health. But we were sent here for so much more. This place is filled with miracles and God appointments. He is so present here. We are so blessed to have had this experience. The friends we have met are lifetime friends, ones we will know for eternity…(continued)
We felt like we were on our own in our desire to live incarnational lives in the neighborhood God had moved us into. We knew that connecting with our neighbors on an authentically personal level was what was needed. And we were already seeing positive results. But, we didn't feel like we had much of a support system.
Most of our Christian friends didn't understand why we weren't in a church building as much anymore. Or why we weren't trying to bring our neighbors to church. We were starting to question whether or not we were on the right path.
Then we found Forge Sacramento…(continued)
The garden for me has been an experience in developing community. I have met more people in the few months of working the garden then the 10 years I sat in my office. The garden is on church property but not connected to it. Between the church and the garden are 2 homes. I was embarrassed when I went out recruiting for persons to take plots and realized I had never met my neighbors…(continued)
When I became a believer it dawned on me that the more I believe, the more I must also follow. As I read more about this Jesus guy, I became intrigued by the life that He led simply by going to people and loving them well and unconditionally. That was over 22 years ago. To this day, I find myself following this "Jesus guy" into the mission He has called me to in my community of Middletown, Ohio.
There's no wrong way to love your community right where they are. But there are some things that I have noticed that always work and have yet to fail me…(continued)
The neighborhood was beginning to wear on me and my children. Our house had been broken into several times…Gun violence had come too close for comfort. The loud music, the fights, the drugs, and the large groups of guys hanging out in front of our house were too much. One evening, I was sitting in the living room as chaos erupted outside. I decided I was done. I don’t have to do this anymore, I told myself. In fact, I can’t do this another year. I started looking for a house in the suburbs.
Right around this time, I began the Forge residency…(continued)
One of our strategic initiatives at Forge America is “Connect”. We want our movement of missionally minded women and men to be connected to their teams, their contexts, resources and other like-minded movements. This is no small task, especially when we are apt to “hold each other at bay”. Mission is no place for lone-rangers. The task is hard enough and the stakes are far too high to go about this thing alone…(Continued)
After twenty-two years of pastoral ministry in larger church contexts, my wife and I decided to follow the missional calling that God had put within our hearts, and already being experienced in our daily lives. Church ministry was good but looked very different than the ministry in our everyday lives…This way of living for Jesus led us to decide to resign my position as an Executive Team member and Worship Pastor at a large multisite church and seek Jesus in a purer missional way…(continued)
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It’s a very unique feeling for me to live in an area where many or maybe even most of the people weren’t born in the United States…The population here is very diverse, though a very large portion of the area identifies as Muslim or Hindu. If we’re not careful, we could easily finding ourselves merely living as parallel cultures instead of them naturally intersecting…(continued)
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Every Sunday afternoon, a team of Forge Hollywood residents take to Hollywood Boulevard and share meal with the local homeless community living in tents along the 101 Freeway...It is a scene right out of Heaven itself; rich and poor, successful and downtrodden, all sharing their laughter and lives together in the intimate communion of a common meal. The story begins, oddly enough, with a man who was formerly homeless himself and the hope he found in the power of grapefruit...(continued)
I’m often asked if the missional conversation is over? I’ve seen countless pastors, planters and denominational leaders, who with full heart, run strong into the headwinds of consumeristic, non-missional church, but are now shrinking back to same ol’ blown out wineskin, because they’ve run out of steam or run into a brick wall. The Missional Conversation is NOT over but I do believe God is over our conversation. He’s over us talking about it and not doing it. I believe we are at a crossroads and the faithful missional church will move into the future...(continued)