Why PorchFest?

by susan on November 1, 2016

porchfestA few months ago, The Well decided to begin collecting donations to sponsor a porch for this year’s PorchFest. Jacksonville PorchFest, a community music festival, is hosting its third year of bringing talented musicians to the porches of Springfield and inviting people from all over our city to enjoy an afternoon of great music! The festival will also include food trucks, vendors & will close with performances in the park by two well-known artists. Best of all – it’s absolutely free! You can just show up & enjoy.

So, it’s fun & entertaining, but still, some of you may be wondering why in the world a church would want to sponsor an event like this. After all, we’re small, have limited resources & already try to do a ‘lot with a little’. Our sponsorship doesn’t even guarantee us any Sunday visitors or give us any special privileges.

One of our core practices, though, is to re-imagine the church. That’s not hard to believe if you know anything about The Well. We don’t have membership, we don’t own a building, we meet in parks & gardens and do very little marketing. Many people who live in our neighborhood barely know we’re here. Re-imagining can be a trendy way for some churches to say “we’re becoming hip and cool in order to attract the youngest, hippest, postmodern spiritual seekers out there”. That’s not what it means to us.

One of our reasons for re-imagining church has to do with boundaries. For too long, the church has been obsessed with establishing and maintaining boundaries – who’s in who’s out, who’s worthy who’s not, etc. For too long the church has delivered the message that God is somehow here (in this sacred building, with this holy people, with us), but not there (in the community, in the everyday, with you). To put it bluntly, we just don’t think that is true. At least, not if we are looking to Jesus to show us what God is like.

Through Jesus, we see God showing up in all kinds of places – dinner tables, town wells, among the sick & marginalized, with tax collectors & even at a wedding feast turning water into wine. Where there had been a line drawn in the sand, there stood Jesus on the other side. He was there healing, teaching, eating, listening & challenging all to experience life here & now in the kingdom of God. This life of joy, peace, freedom & love was not reserved for a few, but was open to anyone, anywhere. Needless to say, that message rattled a few cages.

So, in our efforts to re-imagine church with less boundaries & more unconditional blessing, we choose to be part of the many places where goodness, beauty, renewal & community are happening. PorchFest is one of those places. We look forward to hosting, sponsoring & joining in with Beer & Hymns and all the other goodness of this Saturday.

It’s looking like a beautiful day & I hope to see you there! And, I hope it goes without saying that if you are looking for a community that is less about erecting boundaries & more about love, you are always welcome.

Peace & love,


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