Nothing in the Christian life works unless we get the hang of prayer. Christianity as a theological system, as an ethical and moral system, simply won't do. Unless we can connect with another order of reality, the whole thing is just too exhausting to try to work through.I'm sad to say that many people do indeed see Christianity as a theological system and as an ethical and moral system and they view prayer as nice but (if you press them about it) really optional.
Prayer is learning the art of the connection. It is the heart of what the Christian life is all about...
Never more than 200 members, the church actually seemed to discourage growth. You can only join for one year at a time. If you do not re-apply each year, your membership automatically lapses. But, you have to attend the School of Christian Living one evening a week for two years before you can move from apprentice membership to full membership. No congregation has ever taken more seriously the path of discipleship.Something for those people who put "church growth" (as in swelling the numbers) before ministry and Christian formation to think about, huh?
What were the results? Hundreds of faith-based ministries have been started over the years, including a community health center, a residential treatment center for women with AIDS, hundreds of units of low-cost housing, a jobs program that placed 800 unemployed individuals last year, FLOC (For the Love of Children, a movement that revamped how foster care is done in DC), Alabaster Jar (a movement of artists who are people of faith and express faith in their art), the influential Wellspring retreat center, a small college, and Potter's House, what many consider the original Christian coffeehouse ministry which still operates in the Adams-Morgan neighborhood on Columbia Road in Washington.