Contend Earnestly: VERGE 2010: Jeff Vanderstelt

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

VERGE 2010: Jeff Vanderstelt

Ed Stetzer interviewed one of the pastors at my church and has it up on his blog. I thought I would highlight one aspect of the interview, but click here to see the whole thing at Stetzer's site.
Ed: Soma Communities is not a typical church. Or the typical name for a church. Tell us a little about the work of Soma.

Jeff: Soma is the greek word Paul uses to describe the Church as the Body of Christ in and through which Jesus fills everything in every way (Eph. 1:22-23). When we started Soma 6 years ago it was our desire to become the kind of church that fills the city of Tacoma and the region of the Puget Sound with the presence of Jesus in every way through the Church being the church (not just attending 'church') in the everyday.

We started Soma as a Missional Community-- a small group of believers who radically reorient their lives together as Family around the daily mission of making disciples of a particular people group as missionaries, demonstrating Gospel-changed lives through tangible acts of service as servants and giving a Gospel explanation through proclamation as disciples of Jesus.

We discipled and trained others to lead Missional Communities in the midst of life and mission and after about 9 months we sent four teams of leaders out to start their own Missional Communities. This pattern continued... MCs making disciples, training up leaders and sending them out to start new MCs. As this continued, elders were being trained through this process and the collection of several MCs formed new churches. Presently we have about 50 MCs and 8 churches all in different stages of development. These churches gather together on Sundays in three different locations, in two states over four different times for the preaching of the Gospel, equipping for ministry and mission and celebrating and remembering Jesus through song, communion and meals.

A few years ago we changed our name from Soma Church to Soma Communities-- One Body, Many Expressions because we were becoming a multi-site church. Presently, our Gathering Hubs are located in Renton, WA, Tacoma, WA and Boise, ID. We have MCs in many other cities where we hope to also have Gathering and Equipping Hubs. Our long-term vision is to have a Soma Communities Hub in each major city on the West Coast as well as in four major cities inland.


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