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What is Next for Friends of Jesus?

Whats Next for Friends of Jesus?

This weekend, the core leaders of the Friends of Jesus Fellowship will be gathering in Washington, DC. This is a special retreat, to consider how God is calling us to move ahead as a community in the months and years to come. This gathering comes at an pivotal moment for Friends of Jesus, which has grown and evolved in exciting, surprising, and sometimes uncomfortable ways over the course of the last several years.

Since our early days gathering in Barnesville, Ohio, we’ve expanded beyond our original communities in Detroit and DC. We are now made up of disciples from across the eastern United States – including hot spots like Philadelphia and New York City. At the same time, we’ve struggled to really gather momentum in any one location. All of our local communities remain quite small, and we struggle to find the critical mass that is required to develop sustainable congregations.

We’ve all learned so much in the last few years together. We’v gained so much insight into both what to do, and what not to do. We’ve grown in our gifts as individuals, and we’ve bonded deeply as a scattered band of brothers and sisters in the way of Christ. Together, we have begun to learn what it means to live as friends and followers of the risen Jesus, and how we are called to live that out in our daily lives.

Last September at our Fall Gathering, there was a growing sense that God is asking something new of us. We’ve come a long way together in a very short time, but the journey ahead is going to look different. Our faithfulness to the Spirit will require that we move in new directions, ones that perhaps never occurred to us when we first started gathering as Friends of Jesus. The next steps forward for the Friends of Jesus Fellowship will be different from those that brought us to where we are today.

“What got us here will not get us there.”

Change isn’t easy, but it’s coming for us whether we choose it or not. The challenge before us this weekend is: Are we ready to re-order our lives in the radical ways that the reign of God demands of us? Are we prepared to make Jesus and his new order of love our top priority, even if it shakes the foundations of our comfortable existence? Are our eyes, ears, and hearts open to the terrifying and exhilarating next steps that the Spirit is inviting us to take together?

Jesus teaches us that we cannot love two masters. We will love one and hate the other. Please pray for us this weekend that we would find the courage and joy that comes with choosing our master wisely, embracing the humble way of Jesus as our path of salvation. Ask the Holy Spirit to be with us, guiding our worship and discernment, so that we can see clearly how we need to change our lives. Help us to be faithful to the next steps that God is calling us to. Holy Spirit, come.

Related Posts:

A Baptism Into Courage

It’s the End of Church (As We Know It)

  • Mark Russ

    Praying for y’all! Sounds like you’re in for an exciting weekend together.

    • Thanks, Mark. Any chance we’ll see you at the Spring Gathering (May 12-15)?

      • Mark Russ

        I’d love to, but I’m currently prevented! I’ll uphold you from afar though. We’ve got an embryonic Quaker/Anabaptist/Methodist ‘Peace Church’ developing here in Birmingham. The Spirit is definitely at work. Love to you and the family.

  • Keri Jo Kouns Rinke

    My prayers are with you all. Eager to see how God will work through this wonderful ministry.

  • barbara.hrrsn@gmail.com

    Remember that it only takes a little yeast to make a loaf of bread. A few people living faithfully in a community can improve the entire community.

  • Veronica Zundel

    Micah, have Friends of Jesus considered becoming an international movement? I ask because my church, the only non-conservative English-speaking Mennonite church in the UK, is closing its Sunday services from late March. I was asked to research ‘scattered Christian communities’ as we are thinking of starting some kind of network, and the one that most interested me in my research was Friends of Jesus. Have you any members with a Mennonite, rather than Quaker, background? Would you consider non-US members?

    • Hi Veronica!

      We’re definitely open to this conversation. Most of the Friends of Jesus in the US are from either a Quaker and/or charismatic background, but I think that all of us really resonate with a lot of what the Anabaptist tradition has to offer and would be happy to explore with you.

      We have a few scattered individuals in the UK, France, and Spain who have been in active contact with FOJF – and one couple from the UK has actually attended one of our gatherings here! The biggest challenge is figuring out how to be a collaborative community with so much geographical distance.

      Feel free to email me at micah@micahbales.com and we can talk more.

  • Paul J Ricketts

    “All of our local communities remain quite small, and we struggle to find the critical mass that is required to develop sustainable congregations.”

    Where could I have heard those words before ? Yes, Quakers of Color in the US. The tension within a colorblind / universalistblind Quaker framework for people of color and christians, we become invisible in our Quaker Meetings. So we organize on the margins. When God was speaking in Jesus and said, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them,” I don’t believe this scripture verse was some abstract concept. Experience has taught me over the years in organizing, attending and participating Quakers of Color gatherings we are knit together by the presence of God within us by virtue of her grace. I think this has also true for folks in FOJ movement. Wherever God is, there is the Church.I need to finish my lunch.