A little about me (Kristy Tillman)
I moved to Redding in 2009 to attend BSSM. It was one of the most transformational years of my life, second only to my time living in intentional community with passionate God lovers. During my second year of BSSM I was encouraged to apply for a position on staff at Bethel and since then have had the amazing opportunity to serve as the personal assistant to both Dann Farrelly and Bill Johnson and now as the Community Life Pastor for the local church. For the first time, I feel as though I have found the people that I could run with forever, and have firmly planted my feet in Redding, CA.
Some of my thoughts on community
What would the Church look like if we truly recaptured Jesus’ vision for authentic Christian community? I think about this question a lot. It’s a somewhat selfish question – as I have come to realize how desperately I need community in my life. Most of my spiritual formation has occurred primarily in the context of community.
You see, once upon a time I lived alone and I liked it that way. A bit on the independent side and solidly introverted, I was happy to come home to a quiet house and enjoy my evenings alone. That is, until one day I was seeking the Lord on how I could grow stronger in my faith. I had come to this place where I felt a little stagnant in my faith and relationship with God. To my surprise, the Lord very clearly spoke to me that the growth and depth of faith that I was hungry for would only happen within community. I needed others. And so I set about changing my life in a pretty dramatic way, as I invited a small group of 10 other people who were hungry for something more, to join me in this pursuit of intentional community together. And that decision has changed my life forever. I have no doubt that I am who I am today, because of the impact and influence this covenant family had on my life. But not only my life, every single one of the people in our little flock was transformed in dramatic ways.
We need spiritual friends, people who can acknowledge their own brokenness and weakness and will provide a safe place for us to acknowledge and reveal our brokenness. Giving people who will pour the life they have received from God into us. People of vision who can see the Spirit shaping us into the image of Christ and can call it out as reality for us. Without these types of friends we settle for so much less for our lives.
Let me share a short writing on what it looked like for us to choose to say "yes".
What next God? It seemed a simple enough question, but the answer was anything but. “What you desire will only be found in community.” Without a sound, but in my spirit clear, as though God had yelled it. My response, a grand experiment in intentional community. 10 people invited. 10 said yes - to live and work together in one of the nations poorest counties for one year. And one year became two and then it was four. God’s word always true, this little flock became a family, our lives never to be the same.
We didn’t choose each other, we barely knew each other, but God did. He knew the desire in our hearts. Desire birthed a commitment to say “yes” to Him and eventually to each other. That commitment kept us together, when things were hard, when we wanted to run away from each other, somehow we found the strength to stay.
Holy Spirit became a trusted teacher and we experienced the wonder of a journey full of mystery and adventure – the Kingdom of Heaven was opened to us and it became our playground. Day by day we met together, we studied, worshiped, prayed for and encouraged each other, we ate and played together. We provoked each other and with tears we washed away the brokenness of our lives to reveal the beauty that was being formed within.
We became the church, living life together in the Kingdom.
My prayer, that you experience the wonder, healing and joy of being united in the family of God.
“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Luke 12:32