“Come to church” is no longer good news to most of our neighbors in Alton. So the mantra of the Alton Mission is not “Come think about Jesus like us,” but “Go be Jesus to them.” Our approach is missional (“Go”) and incarnational (“Be Jesus”), so we organize ourselves into Restore Communities that plant themselves around our city so we can dwell among our neighbors. (We chose the name in part to acknowledge the influence of and connection to Austin New Church.)
The Restore Community is our primary expression of what it means to be the church, so each community is called to love God, love one another, and love neighbor. Where communion, community, and mission integrate, the kingdom of God draws near.
Each community creates a covenant in which we commit our lives to one another, not just our time or money or services. The covenant names the particular calling we’ve discerned from God–who we’re called to bless, how we’ll live out the gospel together, and who is going to lead. This becomes the basis for accountability and also aids in decision making. [link to more information about the covenant coming soon!]
A typical Restore Community meets twice a month for a community gathering in which they connect with one another, study Scripture, pray, and celebrate communion. The two other weeks in the month are focused outward, participating in what God is doing in the lives of neighbors. Most communities choose an organization to partner with in order to serve each month, but we also like to throw parties and just hang out with our neighbors.