Citybuilding and the People of Praise
As servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance, in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, in sleepless nights, in hunger; in purity, understanding patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report, genuine, yet regarded as imposters, known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed, sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything” (2 Corinthians 6:4-10).
Since 2003, I have been a member of the People of Praise, but I first got my feet wet with city-building in the summer of 2002. It was the first summer we in the People of Praise moved into Allendale and began forming a life there. That summer, I was on Allendale Action Team #1, and spent two weeks swinging a hammer and walking around the neigbhorhood. Even though our beginnings were meager (ask J.T. why he had to go shopping twice a day) I saw the radical way that Christ wants to change the world, and that the People of Praise was making it happen. Ever since, I have been more and more throwing my lot in with Christ, building his Kingdom with my brothers and sisters in the People of Praise.
In the summer of 2004, I joined the then nascent Company of the People of Praise. With my brothers in Company, I am committed to living a life of building cities and of Christ in brotherhood. We, as members of the Company and the People of Praise, have the vision of building 200 cities where Christ is king in 40 years–especially focused on the Mississippi River Valley.
In the spring of 2007, after completing my degree from the University of Portland, I joined the Missionary Company of the People of Praise. The Missionary Company is also part of the vision of city-building, but with the main focus on starting new locations for the growth of Christian community life in businesses, neighborhoods and households. I was assigned to doing mission work in Indianapolis, Indiana as part of that effort, and I took great joy in being able to daily seek first Jesus and his Kingdom on the streets of Indy.
In the Fall of 2008, I headed to Purdue University to work on getting a PhD in Physics and establishing a household for Christian men there. After six years of that work, and getting to spend many hours a week in the lab pondering electronics, lasers, optics and how to get atoms very, very cold and make them do cool things, I moved back to the near Southside of Indianapolis, got married, and started working to build Christian community there.