In February 2016, 3 couples from Albany, Oregon pawned their kids off on kind friends and family, threw some things into bags, and jumped on a plane for Dallas, Texas. Upon boarding I am not sure if we were more excited to hear about Forge America or more excited to spend a few days away with friends. When we got into Dallas we grabbed some Texas barbecue for dinner and settled into our room.
6 people, one room.
Good thing we like each other.
The next morning we were off to find John and Jeri's house, to meet Ryan from Forge Dallas and Terry from Forge Austin. Also there to hear more about Forge was Jon and Sam from Hollywood, CA. Over the next 2 days we talked about Forge; why and how they exist and how individual Forge Hubs operate.
At it's core Forge is a network of people who orient their lives around being a sent people and training others to live sent lives. It's a volunteer organization without buildings and paid staff. Forge does not exist to become the church or to plant churches, it exists to develop people who want to live out a gospel life. Gospel life takes place in the context of people doing life together, so as participants (residents) work through the curriculum, they are processing it in the light of the context that they work, live, and play. Forge does not desire to take people out of their context but to equip them to live deeply into where God has placed them. Forge wishes to send people who see themselves as sent.
Thus Forge is grass-roots,
Boots on the ground,
Decentralized hubs of everyday practitioners.
What impressed me was the time we spent together in Dallas was not a promotion of how great Forge is, but how great our sending God is. And the individuals we met in Dallas, and since our trip there, are committed to living lives that announce and demonstrate the Kingdom of our good God. They live lives that pour out on others as a worship to a kind and loving God.
That is what I came away from Dallas learning; Forge is a tribe of people who want to live out a sent life in whatever context they are in. Forge is a tribe of people who care for, encourage, and learn from each other as they live this out. I am deeply thankful to be apart of this conversation, to be a part of this tribe. I am deeply excited to have the conversation in Albany, Oregon. Who has God sent you to announce and demonstrate his Kingdom? Come join us as we become a local tribe of sent people.