Missio House

Written by Mark Van Steenwyk : November 8, 2006

I love my house. We’ve got 6 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. It is the perfect setup for intentional community, and we can fit 50 people in it for parties/gatherings if we are creative with our use of space. It’s ideal.

But it is over a mile too far south. We thought being close to the West Bank would be enough. It isn’t. It is hard to be incarnational in a place over a mile away.

This spring/summer we’re hoping to sell our ideal home for a smaller, less-than-ideal home. Smaller because property values are higher on the West Bank. We were hoping to get some folks to help us out with the purchase of a larger house, but the truth is folks don’t like funding ministry houses. Most folks are confused about Missio Dei and don’t feel comfortable lending us financial support to make an urban missional monastery a reality.

And so, instead of a big, big house with lots and lots of rooms where we can have a big, big table with lots and lots of food for hospitality, we’re going to make due with less.

Given our current financial situation, we may not qualify for a new mortgage (Amy quit teaching in St. Paul so she could work part time as well as volunteer in adult English education in the Riverside Towers; meanwhile I am essentially unemployed since I am still raising support with InterVarsity). Hopefully our credit history and whatever equity we pull out of our current house may help in acquiring our next home.
The cool twist with all of this is that my Regional Director with InterVarsity has investors lined up who want to buy a multiplex for InterVarsity use. It’s a great deal–they’d get stable, dependable renters and we’d get to use a big house for a student ministry house. The plan is that Amy and I (or some InterVarsity volunteers) would live in a building with up to 10 students. The students would have to commit to a year long discipleship program and commit to ministry both on the West Bank Campus of the U of M, but also in the larger West Bank neighborhood. The discipleship program will be a tweaked version of the Missio Dei Rule of Faith (still in development). And while we cannot require our InterVarsity students to be a part of Missio Dei, Missio Dei and InterVarsity will work together. I really could care less about It ultimately doesn’t matter what organization with which people are formally affiliated–I’m more interested in embodying Christ on the West Bank.

If all of this stuff unfolds as planned, then by Fall 07 we may find ourselves with a student discipleship house for the Missio Dei Campus Cooperative (which is what we call the joint campus ministry of InterVarsity and Missio Dei) as well as a Missio House. This would be a HUGE step forward for us. It will potentially mean that we’ll have two intentional community houses providing two hubs for hospitality and outreach. We’ll be more firmly rooted in the West Bank and be able to center our ministry activities around radical hospitality. Please keep Missio Dei and the Missio Dei Campus Cooperative in your thoughts and prayers.

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5 Responses to “Missio House”

  1. Derek on November 8th, 2006 1:45 am

    Very very cool. I stumbled upon your site a couple of weeks ago and will be praying for you all and observing how things go as we are possibly looking to move in this direction as well working with college students.

  2. Nathan on November 8th, 2006 1:58 am


    Hey I would like to hear you thoughts and ideas on a discipleship house. What does it look like, its stucture and so on, and how it will work with students who have full time classess and maybe work too. And I would like it perhpas if you could share your ideas with my director. If you didnt know we have a 18 person co-ed frat above and below our coffeeshop on the east bank, and it has the potential of being amazing if there was some intential structure to it. Anyways let me know when you might be available, perhaps after turkey day.

  3. Luke on November 8th, 2006 9:49 am

    This always bugs me when I read it. It sounds like you’re saying you don’t care about organizational affiliation, but if you “could care less”, that means you do care a significant amount.

  4. Van S on November 8th, 2006 11:32 am

    Yeah. Bad grammatical habit. I’m fixing it. Thanks grammar police ;)

  5. Steve Hayes on November 10th, 2006 2:16 am

    Maybe you need to include some communities that didn’t work. After all, nothing is perfect, except God. It is possible to learn from the failures of others as well as from their successes.

    A group that i found very interesting a generation ago was “The children of God”. They had a rather good manual, “Revolution ofr Jesus - how to DO it”, but that wasn’t made known to the general public, and was used by the inner circle.

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