The Crowded House Reflections 3

Intentionality is a word that you will hear a lot around TCH.  Why?  Because mission and community are not built around programmes or structures. Without  an intentionality all you get is ordinary people living ordinary life.

Value 1 of  TCH’s values says:

“We are committed to filling ordinary life with gospel intentionality, pastoring one another with the gospel and sharing the gospel with unbelievers. We challenge one another to be sacrificial, servant-hearted, risk-taking and flexible because the gospel has priority over our comfort, preferences, security and traditions. We will not let Christian activity be just one part of our lives.”

When I arrived I had so many “how to” questions, but even before I had the chance to ask them their importance had evaporated, and the answer was obvious.  There are no formulas, no grand strategy, no clever flow charts – all there is a community of people who have agreed to live together and be on mission together.  And they structure their lives and their communal identity around this.

This intentionality of commitment to one another and to their community effects all that they do:

a) Where they live – if they are to be a community that exists for the community then proximity to one another is vital.

b) What job they do – what is most significant in choosing a job is neither the career you may have studied for or the higher paying, chance for advancement option but which job enables you to most effectively serve the communal vision, whilst earning a living.

c) How they spend their time – what hobbies, sports, activities they choose to get involved in and where they choose to get involved in them.

d) How they use their money – and they tell me they challenge one another on this.

e) How they understand their family/home and family time

f) How they structure when, where and how they meet together

If you are tempted to say that it cannot work, consider for a moment the fact that this is a community on mission together.  It is not a collection of individuals who happen to gather in a building together.  This is a community who have chosen to be a people and who have chosen to be a people together on mission.

As a collection of individuals, perhaps I might agree it cannot work.  The pull to become an inward-focused, comfortable, caring community that despite its mission statements exists for itself will be too great.  But it is as a community that they are INTENTIONAL and they call one another to this intentional communal-missional lifestyle.  That I think is the real “success” of TCH “getting it right”

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~ by John on August 11, 2009.

One Response to “The Crowded House Reflections 3”

  1. That is a NT understanding of church which we find hard to grasp in our Western context. I find I get a knee-jerk reaction to this being the norm we ought to work for because we are more influenced by our culture and sinfulness than the Word of God and His mission.

    How hard we must struggle to be normal and human!

    What we as TCH advocate as values can either seem quite acceptable to the average evangelical who does not stop to think how this will actually look if we did what we claim to believe, or a little overstated in places if time were not taken to consider how Biblical the objections are.

    But, as we say at TCH, our values are a statement of our distinctives and are not intended to be a judgment on those with gospel commitment who do things differently.

    However else we want to express the church, I believe TCH values can’t be ignored, but are basic to being God’s new people.

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