The Lighthouse Community Concept
Many are now sensing the Spirit prompting them to look for something deeper and more fulfilling in their fellowships. Our current event-driven, meetings-based church model is coming up short. Our spiritual experience is compartmentalized into short, not too inconvenient time slots we can attend and then leave without much impact on life. Truth is, it has done more to hinder Christian community than foster it by leading people to believe this is the biblical church model when it’s not. Jesus’ disciples didn’t go to meetings with Him once or twice a week. They lived with Him! Community is about lifestyle, not a visit. We don’t go to church–we are the church!
Most now live on compartmentalized “islands” due to this event-driven mentality. At work we are one person, at home another, and at church on Sunday yet another. How do we stop compartmentalizing and build a new model upon a new foundation that incorporates all aspects of our lives? How do we begin to change to a lifestyle mentality? We must embrace a new perspective of what Christian community looks like. We must change our paradigms and build upon a sustainable foundation, for Jesus said anything built upon faulty foundations would not stand.
A key aspect of community is simply time spent together–as much of it as possible! The most critical area of life we have neglected when trying to establish Christian communities is, ironically, the place most people spend the majority of their waking hours: work! Work is a good and godly pursuit, but if not integrated into our faith life, it becomes compartmentalized just like every other island we live on. The “Marketplace” Saints believe we must integrate work into our communities, because community is simply not possible when you ignore the place people spend so much of life. Hence the name, “Marketplace Saints.”
How do we do this? We come together in a single facility, or campus, depending upon the size of the community, that contains the following elements:
Offices for kingdom-minded businesses
Multi-purpose spaces for ministries [medical clinic, food pantry, counselling center, career training, etc.]
Warehouse space for storage of emergency supplies
A chapel for prayer and worship
And all would be centered around a gathering place, such as a café or coffee shop where we can fellowship and also intentionally interact with the public, to introduce them to a different model of Christian community and share the love of Christ with them.
Imagine a place where every business day would start out and end with prayer and devotions for all involved and anyone they wanted to invite. Imagine a place where during the day there were constant mission opportunities available to everyone, through serving in the ministries and the café. Imagine a place where prayer and worship were going on all day, every day, and members could take advantage of it any time they needed or wanted to—a place where their families could come and participate any time they wanted to. Imagine a place where all of this was integrated into the businesses and profits were reinvested in to not only the business, but furthering kingdom causes and establishing new Lighthouse Centers across America!
We believe all of this can be done if we just come off our islands and stand on common ground, with a new perspective and one mind concerning a balanced focus of building internal community and engaging in external mission. If we give people from all walks of Christian life a place to spend their time, their talent, and their efforts working together for the kingdom of heaven on earth we believe it can become a reality! It is to this goal we are wholly dedicated.
FELLOWSHIP OF THE MARKETPLACE VIDEOS
FELLOWSHIP OF THE MARKETPLACE VIDEOS
For many years prior to 2009, Michael had experienced a yearning in his spirit for true Christian community. He didn’t know what it looked like, only that it was not what organized religion was delivering. One day he received a response to one of his blogs concerning his dilemma from a friend who had moved to Florida to start a new life, inviting him to come to Brooksville, a small town in central Florida. He said Michael might find some answers there.
There Michael found what was to be the inspiration, if not the model, for the Marketplace Saints effort you will see in these pages. What he witnessed was the first and only true, organic, grass roots Christian community he’d ever seen. Expanding from a small café in Brooksville to reach across three counties, this group served thousands each year with limited funds and no worldly explanation to offer. It was just a newly married couple who dedicated their lives and their business to the service of the Lord.
They began with a dinner served in their cafe each Sunday to the large homeless population in the area. The word spread and inspired others who heard about it to start their own ministries. Out of this grew a thrift store, a food pantry, and numerous satellite ministries, all miraculously provided for by the Lord. The café, called “the hub” of this band of disciples, was a house of prayer where both believers and unbelievers alike felt the presence of God. Some were saved, many served, and others healed on a regular basis.
John’s entire journey was inspired by a vision he saw while in prayer in 2001. He was visited by Jesus who said, “John, the church is broken. It has become a business and forgotten about Me. But I will build My church in the marketplace” [hence the name Marketplace Saints]. Mike began to record his annual sabbaticals to Brooksville to be, as he called it, “Heaven on earth.” So inspired was he by what God was doing there that in 2011-12 he wrote and produced a documentary to capture it.
Sadly, the café was later sold and the group disbanded, but the impression the power of this concept left on Michael’s mind is what has inspired the Lighthouse Community effort. We hope you will click on the links below to view both the short trailer and the 45 minute documentary. Hopefully it will inspire you to become a part of this movement or contact him concerning your business or ministry as a candidate for a community center. Welcome to the new Fellowship of the Marketplace, the Lighthouse Community!