Marriage and Parenthood in the Jesus Fellowship
You don't have to live in Christian community to belong to the Jesus Fellowship! But many of us do! Around 700 of us share our possessions and pool our income and wealth (if we have any!) to live like the early Christians. They had "all things in common" [Acts 2:44] and "no-one said that any of the things which he possessed was his own". [Acts 4:32]
Holy Spirit power
That was the result of the power of the Holy Spirit coming on the church at Pentecost. And our community life, too, is the result of the Holy Spirit's presence. We have power to love! Power to serve! Power to share!
We're able to break the mould. To escape from the rut. The question we ask is "How does God want us to live?" Of course it's to love. Of course it's to share. Of course it's to show that through new life in Jesus He brings into being a new way of living!
Jesus had little to call His own. [Matt 8:20] He shared a pooled fund with His disciples. [Mark 10:28] He warned of the love of money. [Mark 10:21,22] Small wonder then that Peter led the new converts at the day of Pentecost into Christian community.
Such sharing was widespread in the early days of the church. The Didache, a respected Christian document from the beginning of the second century, says: "Share all things in common with your brother. Do not claim anything as your own." [*]
And at the end of the second century, the Christian author Tertullian wrote: "Everything among us is in common, except marriage." [*]
The call of Jesus hasn't changed over the years. In the UK today the Holy Spirit is still calling followers of Jesus to embrace a community lifestyle and show a "New Creation" culture as light in the darkness.
We're to challenge the materialism and greed of today's Western society, as well as its social breakdown. We're going to show that in Christ we can love one another and live a better way! [John 13:34,35]
We share our lives
All sorts of people live in community in the Jesus Fellowship -- young and old, families and singles, black and white, rich and poor (but we're no longer rich or poor!). We all have at least this in common -- God has changed our lives, so that we now want to love our Christian brothers and sisters and to share not only our possessions, but also our life with them.
Barriers of class and race are broken down, [Gal 3:28] [Eph 2:14] and we can live in the social justice and equality that the gospel requires. [2 Cor 8:14,15]
Here we can find the life of God; find what it means to "grow in Christ". We're able to put into practice Christ's command to love our brother as ourself. It's not all plain sailing, but with the grace of God and forgiveness from one another we're able to help one another follow the way of Jesus.
We get together around the meal table and share our hearts, pray and worship, relax, and are "family" together. And our community "family" is just the place for new believers to find their feet in Jesus. We find our homes are excellent bases for Christian training and outreach. "New friends" who want to find Jesus are welcomed into these Jesus houses for short or long stays.
Community is not just a place to come home to in the evening! Many of us work in our Community businesses -- Goodness Foods, Skaino Services, Towcester Building Supplies and White and Bishop. Not only do they mean employment for many who've been out of work for ages, but we can bring our Christian commitment and brotherhood right into daily work!
The New Creation Christian Community
The Community side of the Fellowship is called the New Creation Christian Community. It's set up under a trust deed drawn up and approved by legal advisers. The Trust Fund is administered for the benefit of members by ten responsible Trustees. There is a probationary period of between one and two years in the "Common Purse", during which time members are "Associate Members" of the Trust.
After this, members contribute their capital (if any!) to the Trust and become full "Contributing Members". There are particular safeguards for the young. Each year the accounts are audited by a national firm of accountants and presented to the Annual General Meeting.
Of course, those who live in their own places are as much a part of the Jesus Fellowship as the others who live in the Community. We have various "Styles of Membership" in the Church. (See Hot Topics No. 1)
Come along and see!