There are at least three good reasons to start new Anabaptist faith communities.
First, starting a new faith community represents one important way to express faithfulness to Christ. Following Jesus has historically led us into the development of new faith communities.
Second, it helps we Christians keep the Gospel relevant without being culture-bound. I use the word, “relevant” with caution. I have seen many new projects do dumb things in the name of “relevancy”. Nevertheless, as Western culture gives way from modernity, Christendom and an industrial economy to post- all of that, the way we did church in the last century is less and less coherent. We need new forms of church to speak into the culture being created.
Third, starting a new faith community helps the people of my tribe leave our Mennonite ethos of separation behind, and become more engaged with the wider society. There is a lot of litter across the history of the church with the relics of expressions of churches that practiced physical separation from the world, rather than a counter-cultural engagement with the world. Anabaptism is, at its best, a counter-cultural engagement with the world. Mennonites and our spiritual cousins settled for separation for good historical reasons. However, the time has come to renew our commitment to radical discipleship, authentic community, and genuine peace building, and to do so in the form of new churches. Starting new faith communities in the brave new world we are creating must become thoroughly Anabaptist in perspective. – JW