We’ve shared a sense of purpose with presence and our central focus on fostering community. What sort of community? We’d start by talking about “values”:
“The Mill” exists to glorify God through bringing people together around shared experience, interaction and discovery to foster a community whose living out and application of Kingdom values results in multiplying vision and motivation to creatively impact our world with the transformative power of the Gospel.
Our goal for The Mill community is that we will, together, be living out, modeling, and inviting others to adopt the values that underlie the community: most significantly “Kingdom values,” drawn from a life committed to following Jesus. We seek to provide a genuine alternative form of community that is recognizable by its values. We value and seek the sustainability of our home, relationships, and community. We value being ambassadors for God, bringing honor to Him in all we do. We value a stronger connection to the good earth which he has entrusted to us, and finding ways to see how our labor connects to the land on which we live. This demands that we value conservation and preservation of the good things of creation, and leads us to affirm the enjoyment of simplicity. We value doing more with less, and finding contentment in the process. We value and are committed to the “common good.”
Our prayer is that participation in the life of The Mill community may lead people to revisit their life priorities, taking a fresh new look at “what is really needful.” We desire that The Mill would be experienced as a place where one “begins to see things for what they really are.”
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On the Mill porch the past week, one of our friends asked what it meant when Jesus prayed for God’s “kingdom to come.” The picture that typically pops into our mind when we think of a “kingdom” is probably not what is in view here: a piece of territory, with more-or-less defined boundaries, administered from a strong central location by the most wealthy and powerful individual, who lives in a castle and who sends knights or other forces out to patrol his lands. We believe that the essence of “God’s reign” (my preferred term) is justice, grace, love and truth. Jesus said, during the interrogation that preceded his execution, that he was a king, but that his kingdom was “not of this world.” We acknowledge Jesus as a king, but not as the head of a military, political or social force. He came “to serve, not to be served,” pouring out himself, his very life, on behalf of others.
So these “Kingdom values” – and the practical living that flows from them – are not “rules” imposed from the center, or from above, but flow from a heart of service, self-giving, and love of others. Seeing ourselves as under the “reign” of this strange king gives us a radically new perspective on life and every aspect of it. Being committed to seeing this reign of love and justice manifested, beginning with the place we find ourselves, informs all we do.
The world consistently is trying to “press us into its mold.” We refuse to go along. We prefer instead the transformation that comes through the renewing of our minds” (Paul’s letter to Romans, 12.2) This changes our perspective on what we do and how we do it. It challenges our commitment to acquisitiveness, and our complicity in injustice. It convicts us of our willingness to see (or use) people as means to an end. It changes the way we value the good earth, which speaks to us of the Creator and his nature. And it changes the way we look at ourselves and others, particularly those who the world (or the people who hold or grasp at positions of strength or power) as “marginal.”
And this, in turn, shapes the form(s) of community, the dreams of which keep us awake at night. We feel that this unique place can be fertile ground for such community.
Dream with us.