By Caleb & Melissa Kaye
Revive is a new church reaching out to the residents of Annapolis, Maryland with the hope of Jesus. Melissa, our five children, and I share the vision of Revive as a safe place to develop authentic faith. We believe in collaboration and teamwork. Together we can do so much more than on our own! We believe that authentic faith is developed through creative gatherings for children and adults, shame-free conversations, and action-oriented community service where we live, work, and play! Revive wants to be known as good news in our community. We started Revive in a way that is consistent with the mission of LMC: to multiply faith communities locally and beyond.
The path to starting a new church began in January 2020. We were building our team, planning to meet in a local school, and planning to use a trailer to bring in the things we needed, and then setting up and tearing down each week. Then the pandemic began in March, and we pivoted, hoping this reality would soon pass. We began live-streaming to stay connected to the community and team. We jumped into serving with a local “pop-up pantry” to meet the needs of our community because of COVID-19. However, it soon became apparent that this new reality was here for longer than we expected. So, in the middle of a pandemic, when meeting in person on a Sunday morning did not feel safe to those we were reaching, we decided to launch on our originally planned date in September, but starting in a completely digital format.
Revive vision seeks to live life connected to faith, to people, and to our community. Those things can be done both inside and outside of a church building on a Sunday morning. But the question is, “How might we do that?” In addition to our “pop-up pantry” and our digital gatherings, we created a “Mobile Resource Center” that takes resources into communities that need them and also gathers resources from people who have extra. In these acts of giving and receiving, we are seeing the formation of a community with depth.
As we look at the life of Jesus here on earth, we see how tactile and tangible he was with regards to reaching out to those in need who were right around Him. We feel the expanding multiplication efforts of the church here in the West should focus on that kind of physical outreach. God is calling all of us to be missionaries in our backyards, grocery stores, and local pubs. The impetus for making those connections is deeply rooted in relationships. People are desperate to feel connected to something and to feel a sense of purpose. Our job as leaders in the church is to do all we can, as creatively as we can, to build spaces for community and with purpose in order to thrive.
We want to see every man, woman, and child–no matter their background– experience a fulfilled and fruitful life with Jesus. We believe that this can happen with a well-guided localized strategy that is grass-rooted and Spirit-led. Our goal, as we live in this “Phygital” (digital and physical) reality, is to never lose sight of what we are called to do, which is to introduce people to the power of the gospel through Jesus and to work with the Spirit of God in seeking restoration for the local community. Jeremiah 29:7 says, “Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”
We find that the definitions and qualifiers that often exist in the conventional, established church are not the same when working to create a multiplying faith community. At Revive, we spend much time using and teaching the word “faith.” We believe that faith is the starting point for many people who have walked away from church communities but still retain space in their hearts for Jesus. Revive uses this openness to faith as a catalyst for people to explore where faith comes from and how we can connect that faith to the person of Jesus. Each person has a particular journey with faith. Revive seeks to create unique and compelling faith opportunities for people, knowing that in those moments, the Holy Spirit is faithful to reveal the life-changing good news of a life surrendered in faith to Jesus.
I am reminded of Matthew 14:33, where it says, “And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!” These men were engaged with Jesus. But with this particular experience, they verbalized an understanding of Jesus as divine. As we meet online or in-person at parks, pubs, and patios, we hope people will have those pinnacle faith experiences where they encounter Jesus and say, “You are certainly God’s Son!”
This digital/physical hybrid may be a catalyst to the restoration of the “neighborhood church.” We are striving to be a church that is looking at the distinct and detailed research of what individual neighborhoods need. While we learn and we bring resources into local communities, we also look for “persons of peace” whom God has already placed in those neighborhoods. We then seek to train, equip and resource them to become local neighborhood pastors who lead a micro-localized congregation (multiplication).
The days, weeks, months, and years ahead of us are exciting and unclear. We do not know what the final impact will be on the church after a pandemic. Yet, we are confident that the Holy Spirit will teach us how to live and lead differently in a future that embraces a neighborhood church with multiplication. I believe we are all being offered “new wine,” and we are each being asked a key question: “What will we do with that new wine?”
Mark 2:22 says, “And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins.”In your context, culture, and traditions, how are you embracing “new wine,” and what might your “new wineskin” look like? If we are going to multiply faith communities locally and beyond, we must be willing to try new things, ask fresh questions and run in any direction we see the Spirit of God moving! Each journey will look different, which is precisely the beauty of a multiplying movement.