Forming Spiritual Families

Forming Spiritual Families

What would it look like if you built a church without walls? Would there be music? Would people even show up? This past weekend two home churches decided to test these questions and took over thirty college students and young adults to the beach to stay in one house for the weekend. These young adults represented three different churches that meet regularly in homes throughout the Orlando-metro. Our lofty goal was simple: to help these churches begin to understand the “church as family on mission together.” Since our desire was for everyone to begin to function as a family, we asked them to throw out their idea of what a retreat weekend should be and encouraged them to view this weekend as a family vacation. We even called it, “Family Vacation 2016,” and it felt like one! There was paddleboarding, shark tooth collecting, lots of laughter, meals around the table, and many normal conversations that became spiritual ones. There was also very little sleep, a lack of toilet paper, and some disagreements; but that’s what families endure as they travel together through life. We pushed this family in formation to detach from the grind of everyday life and be present with each other and with the world.

Guess what happened? Friendships were formed, forgiveness and reconciliation were offered, our differences began to unite us and not drive us apart, giftings were affirmed, and our mission was clarified. On Saturday night we headed out to Manasota Beach to offer up baptism and two of our interns, Mady Riedlinger and Austin Linder, chose to take this beautiful next step. Tears were shed, hugs were shared, and love was made known in real time. As one of our young adults stated, “Each moment was perfectly orchestrated by God to glorify God. Maybe this generation is not just all about the newest Instagram filter or PokémonGo character. We just needed a spark, an idea, an opportunity to let the Holy Spirit work in our lives so that we may transform the people around us.” In a unique way, beach goers and even neighbors of the rental house witnessed a collection of Jesus followers be transformed into a spiritual family dedicated to bringing the light of Jesus into the dark corners of our neighborhoods and city. It was an incredible experience of the presence of Christ in the midst of a developing spiritual family.

Wanna know more about what it could look like to experience this beautiful thing called “spiritual family” in your own life? Join us any Monday night or email us at 

*Much love to Jeremy Penn and Kelsey Johnson for their contributions to this story! 

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