The project started, like many other missional projects, with a very small team and not many resources. What they lacked in material support, they more then made up for with their passion for loving people, sharing God’s joy and generously inviting people in their lives. In the beginning they focused on making connections, being part of the neighbourhood and trying to gain an understanding of peoples hopes and struggles. Gradually this understanding gave birth to ideas for ways they could shape a gathering, that would be meaningful for people in this particular place. The team wanted it to be a blessing to people, not a burden. Something to look forward to and be enlivened by. The team set about creating this gathering, pouring their energy into making the experience as easy for those who came along as possible. And people did come along. Within a year, they were hosting gatherings for over 100 people who were all finding a home, experiencing God’s love and a sense of worship. The core team had a strong shared purpose and were dedicated to the task. They held strong to their original value of ensuring the gathering was a blessing not a burden. As part of this, they rarely asked others for help and chose not to make tithing a part of their practices as a community. People could come and go as they pleased, without being required to make any commitments. By the end of the second year, the team was exhausted but also satisfied to see so many people attending the vibrant gatherings.
The community of people who participated grew, but the vision-casters, decision-makers and holders of responsibility did not change at all. While the core value of being a blessing not a burden was retained, there was an opportunity to ask a deeper question: Why are the people coming different to us? Why do we think they should receive without contributing when we have different expectations of ourselves?