The Beginning of Something New
Over the past 7 months, I've been journeying with a group that has been attempting to live missionally and intentionally in the East side of Austin. It's been a challenging 7 months, but has had its share of beautiful God encounters and enough learning moments to write a dissertation.
Come June 1st, we plan on taking what we've learned over these past few months and begin something new. Starting June 1st, we are beginning something called the 297 Collective. It's not anything fancy, snazzy or innovative, but an attempt to be community together, as well as engaging and intentional with our neighbors. We intend to embark on a journey that will bring people from different life stages together for the desire of caring for one another through intentional community, as well as extending this care to our neighbors through a missional lifestyle.
With all new things comes a need for vision and shared values, and this is what we came up with.
Whether it be with our time, finances or grace, we want to live generously. In the world that bombards us with commercials about retirement and 401K’s, we want to live a life whose gravitational pull is not ourselves. We want to accomplish this by:
With the amount that is collected every month, our desire is to have at least 50% turned right back out to be reinvested and redistributed into the community. It may take a few years to see this happen, we will remain faithful to living generously.
‘Kairos’ is the Greek word for ‘time’ and has the connotation of a time which is not necessarily measurable or quantitative, but qualitative in nature. Although our minds and schedules are more used to a more rigid, or Kronos, type of time in terms of weeks, days, hours and minutes, it is in the Kairotic moments that we experience life and community changing encounters. As we live communally and intentionally, we want to be mindful of our Kairos and to share it generously.
Patient and Graceful Generosity
Much like death and taxes, pains, misunderstanding and worldview challenges are all certainties when it comes to communal and intentional missionality. But instead of like-kind retaliation or emotional forfeiture, we want to be generous with our grace so we can wisely work through our challenges, misunderstanding and hurts with the mindset that it may take longer than we want, but it is in this process of being distributors of grace that healing and transformation will take place.
We do not want to be caught in the cycle of consumption, nor found reliantly suckling at the teat of consumerism. With the value of simplicity influencing our lifestyle choices, we are intentionally denying ourselves that which the voices of the world say that we cannot survive without. Or as Tyler Durden once said, “Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need.” In pursuing this lifestyle, we are standing in solidarity with the belief that there is more to life than spending our time, energy and resources to romance the “American Dream”.
We are not products of chance encounters and random developments, but byproducts of intentional creation and mindful choices. As we live in community, we too want to have our decisions and actions be intentional and not left up to mere circumstance or dumb luck. From the relationships we foster to the activities we participate in to the daily rhythms we develop, we want to be purposeful in the choices we make and fight the natural desire to be inactive observers where we simply let life unfold around us.
One thing we learn from life in the suburbs is that you can be surrounded by the people living in your subdivision, but loneliness and disconnection seems to be the normative way of life. As communal beings who were designed for community and require human interaction for survival, we want to buck the status quo of individualism. We desire a passionate pursuit of a communal existence with our housemates, with our immediate neighbors, and with those who share the same zip code. Although bumps, snags and seemingly insurmountable obstacles are guaranteed, we are willing to face these challenges together than to merely exist alone.
We must maintain the mindset that we are not a program, but are hopefully allowing our missional and intentional lifestyles be the catalyst for influence and change. Because of this, our mindset must be one that doesn’t necessarily see an end date or parameters of conclusion regarding our involvement with the 297 Collective. Obviously, we will probably see turn over in terms of those who are involved, but our desire is to reduce that to the lowest amount possible so as to maintain and foster relationships with the community, especially since the community primarily consists of families that have been living in their respective homes for generations.
It's one thing to have vision and a common value set, but the challenge is to take these words and give them form. So often, vision can amount to mere pillow talk, but we hope to flush these values out and allow the voices of the collective shape the way in which we communally live out Generosity, Simplicity, Intentionality, Community and Longevity.
If you could, please pray for us as we begin this dialogue to be the Church to one another, and to our neighbor.