Reba Place Fellowship (RPF) began in Evanston in 1957. The driving vision for the early members of the Fellowship was to live out a life of radical Christian discipleship as they observed it in the Gospels and the book of Acts. They believed the words of the earthly Jesus were meant to guide the community of his disciples in every area of life-not only then, but now. Jesus’ daily life with his disciples and the common life of the early church in Jerusalem were the normative examples of how Christian life should be lived.
It was no wonder that Christians living without the many supports of a daily Christian community did not show forth the fruits of radical discipleship: open and loving relationships, full sharing of material resources, a visible common life, active witness for justice and peace, and a priority on living out the word of the Lord rather than talking about it. A clear expression of the vision of this period lived on for many years at Plow Creek Fellowship, which began in about 1970 when several Reba families left to form a rural community modeled on RPF.
These first 14 years at Reba were full of blessings for many members and visitors, as well as notable stories of God’s providential care for the community as a whole. But they also left many unmet needs throughout the congregation-for more spiritual power to live out the sacrificial Christian life, for more expressive worship, for more freedom to express the Gospel openly to seekers, etc. These generally unarticulated needs were the kindling onto which God was soon to pour the fire of His Spirit.