To inspire the church worldwide with a working model
of an open fellowship with a mission orientation functioning as an intentional
- A working model.
Our goal is multiplication, not mere addition. We do not wish to become
huge, but to inspire many others around the world with the fact that God
can create unique communities anyplace and anytime He can find people who
are willing to let His love mold them into a reflection of Himself.
- An open fellowship.
We are theologically conservative and have no doctrinal innovations that
would not be broadly recognized by charismatic, evangelical, or reformed
Christians. Yet we are different:
We do, however, have consistently exciting gatherings. Although attendance
is not required, we would be puzzled if a Living Springs resident chose
not to take part in such encouraging, life-giving meetings.
- We are non-hierarchical. We do believe in good leadership, but prefer
it to be anointed rather than appointed (elected).
- We believe everyone who calls himself a disciple of Jesus Christ should
be a responsible member of his congregation, taking a proactive role according
to his gifts without continual prodding. We believe that dumping all the
work on a pastor is not Biblical and breeds irresponsibility.
- Our Sunday and Tuesday evening meetings are not programmed, but led
by the Holy Spirit. This does not imply that members come unprepared;
it simply means that the order of worship is not pre-set or subtly designed
to produce a religious high. We feel I Corinthians 14:26 (everybody bring
something the Lord has given him to share) is normal.
- A mission orientation.
Our ranch is remote and secluded; our hearts are not. We are intimately
involved in world mission:
But as God sends us more people, we anticipate that our vision will become
clearer and broader.
- Individually, our residents have great interest and involvement in
ministry in Afghanistan, Iran, prison work, and the local community. A
nearby hugely successful skating rink run by dedicated Christians is a
magnet for young people.
- Collectively, our community mission continues to evolve. So far, our
hearts have not been led beyond the simple statement of purpose in bold
face type above. We want to show that a committed fellowship of believers
living together in a residential village can work.
- An intentional community.
Ever since A.D. 70, when Christians fled the revolt in Jerusalem and clumped
together 55 miles northeast in Pella, God's people have been trying to make
spiritual retreats work long term.
Medium term, they have often succeeded. Much good, for instance, came
from The Desert Fathers, who opted for hermit's lives in North Africa.
Their hermitages became so popular, it was once commented that more Christians
lived in the desert than the cities! But they became so incredibly ingrown
that before the time of Mohammed, the church actually had to begin importing
priests from Southern Europe. And when Mohammed rose up, the church was
too weak to resist. It disappeared.
The problem of optimizing Christian community was solved -disastrously-
by Emperors Constantine I and Theodosius I. They simply drafted everybody
into their Church. At the start of the Fourth Century, the church was perhaps
4% to 5% of the Roman Empire. By the end of that century, it was about
80%. Nobody got saved in that process, you understand; converting just
became the politically correct thing to do. So the backbone of the church
crumbled, and in 476, Rome fell to the barbarians and slid right into the
We won't take the space here to trace the confused history of struggling
Christian communities for the next 16 centuries. Suffice it to say, many
were either squashed by ruthless governments or fellow Christians or fell
victim to their own inherent weaknesses.
At this point in history, the world is still awaiting a model of Christian
church or community that will get people excited enough to join it in large
numbers. We cannot guarantee that Living Springs will turn out perfectly
in every respect; but we are confident that we know where many of the major
pitfalls lie. By allowing the Spirit of Jesus Christ to run the show in
a rather direct fashion, we have hope of succeeding where many others have