We are launching The Antioch Movement with purpose and clarity. The purpose is to launch a global movement of missionary communities that function as ambassadors of King Jesus. We are clear that this movement is to be built by multiplying missionary communities that begin in Ypsilanti, MI and spread to the very ends of the Earth.
As we are stepping out into this glorious adventure we often get a very simple question that has significant implications.
Why are you moving to Ypsilanti when you only live fifteen minutes away?
This question is powerful. It is based in what I call the “Dream of Detroit”. Detroit is the center of the global automotive industry. Most people in the metroplex are employed either directly or indirectly by the very same industry. While this is changing slowly, it is still the fact of the matter. Not only is this true, but so is the “Dream”, the dream of a city where everyone has a car and everyone drives. A city that is totally interconnected by the automobile.
The “Dream” has slowly decayed the foundations of neighborhoods and community. The “Dream” has drawn people further out from the center of their communities and relationships. The Church has followed suit. Many churches in the Detroit area are “suburban” or “regional” type churches where people drive many miles and minutes to gather with the people of God. By necessity the Church’s building becomes central and the Church runs programs to give people a “reason” to come to the building and drive “in” from wherever they are.
We want to flip this model and subvert the “Dream”. We want to be a people totally immersed in our community. Where the Church and the town are intertwined. Our hope is that we will be able to model the incarnation of Jesus to people. To live out his call as ambassadors, as resident aliens, in Ypsilanti.
We simply cannot do this from fifteen minutes away.
No, we want to saturate Ypsilanti with the Gospel. To saturate a sponge you can do so by pouring water next to it. That is not very effective. To be effective, you must pour water directly on it, into it, and the sponge soaks it up fast.
Derek Webb in the chorus of his song, Take to the World summarizes it this way,
And take to the world this love, hope and faith
Take to the world this rare, relentless grace
And like the three in one
Know you must become what you want to save
Cause that’s still the way
He takes to the world