The journey began in 2010, when, as a lay-leader in a large, out-of-town church, I realized how many other members of my church lived in Aston. The number was 108, and yet little of our time, talent or treasure was being used by our church to meet spiritual needs in our own neighborhoods. I raised some concern about this and, as a trusted leader, I was given freedom by church leadership to pursue a few ministry ideas specifically designed for Aston. Unfortunately, I was restricted from doing anything that would draw people away from existing church meetings and structures and few leaders at the church were willing to tell a good story about what we were doing. I would later call this mindset the “church vortex,” a way of thinking about church-life that focuses everything and everybody – all available time, talent and treasure – on the vision set out by the central leadership.

In 2012, disillusioned with this type of ministry, my family began a slow transition. Eventually we joined ourselves with a network of churches that believed, as we did, that the focus of ministry should be missional, local, and led by average believers dedicated like missionaries to a specific context. We connected with the closest church within the network, and to our delight, we were commissioned to serve as leaders of a local mission-centered community in Aston and the Aston Missional Community (now the PiVOmicrochurch) was born.

By 2016, internal issues between the larger network of churches and our local church leaders led to an unfortunate separation of the two bodies. This left us with a difficult choice. In a journey that lasted nearly two years, we patiently walked with network leaders, seeking guidance and affiliation. That journey ended disappointingly, leaving us without real ties to either church or network, but with a fledgling start up we named Redeeming Mercy Communities.

During the recent Pandemic, I came across the work of the Underground Church in Tampa, FL. Their emphases on the small and simple, standalone, mission-focused church – the microchurch – and its separate but connected companion that encourages their creation and multiplication, the microchurch network, resonated deeply with what I had always envisioned Redeeming Mercy Communities to be.

Redeeming Mercy was incorporated as a church entity in Pennsylvania in July of 2018 and is currently under review to become a 501c3 nonprofit microchurch network. Meanwhile, the ministry of our original “missional community” has continued in Aston, now known as the microchurch PiVo. We aspire to impact all of southern Delaware County through the multiplication and scattering of microchurches, seeing every kind of people reaching every kind of people in every kind of place. We leave that development with Jesus, and continue to engage our community where we are, trusting Jesus for whatever fruit he desires to give us going forward.

Location: Aston Township

People-group: People of Aston

Type: Community-based & Home-based

Contact: Albert Everett  albert@redeemingmercy.org

Description:

PiVO

PiVO is a community committed to turning – turning away from self and the way of self, turning to God and the way of Jesus.

Going for a goal while orienting on the wrong object is a sure-fire way to doom a journey before it begins.

Our lives are journeys, each one designed by God himself.  That’s the good news.

The bad news is that we can’t fully appreciate the life we’ve been given or move beyond the pitfalls and destructive tendencies of our brokenness until we’ve learned to look away from ourselves and orient our lives on the God who made us.

People Vitally Oriented Toward Christ

PiVO is an environment in which a new orientation for life is lived out, displayed and practiced with real people, in real life, in real time.  Living a serving-life together, embracing the way of Jesus, we’re learning to understand, see and focus on our Creator.

No matter where you are in life’s journey, what you have done or what has been done to you, PiVO is a supportive, family-like environment where your story will be heard, your struggle understood and your hope for lasting change can be realized. It is an atmosphere where you’ll find energy and hope to make a striking new beginning.

To pivot means to make a dramatic turn in life.

We who are part of PiVO are making that turn. The result is a radically new life.

  What to expect?

You’ll gather regularly with 8 to 12 others for our local home-gatherings but you’ll also gather in 3rd places like a local diner, a park, the community center, etc. These gatherings outside the home are often opportunities to serve within the community but may also be just for fun and relaxation – to just be together.

Home gatherings always include a family-style meal around the table where we enjoy great food, casual conversation, and dialogue aimed at orienting our spirits back toward God. There is no mental preparation needed, no heavy information to wade through. Each home gathering will find the group discussing a simple story read by one of the participants. The group responds to the story through open dialogue led by a facilitator.

A key to the PiVO lifestyle is learning to serve others as we learn to serve God, so participants are encouraged to serve in a number of ways, both within the gatherings, and in the broader community. Through these opportunities, we’re dedicating ourselves to making a tangible difference in our community.

The Story of God is an opportunity for anyone to engage the Creator God and to do so with a few friends, in a winsome, caring environment in a place of their choosing.

The Story itself is 20-some weekly narratives, short stories taken from the pages of the Bible, but written in straightforward, contemporary language. Each narrative brings a portion of the big story into focus, bringing God’s involvement with individuals to light. Each narrative bursts with lessons about the challenges of being human and the hope that relationship with God can bring to our daily experience and more.

Taken overall, the Story expresses the truth of who God is, what he has done and what we should do in response.

A Story can be hosted in the home of one of our leaders, but we prefer to bring the Story to you and your friends, in an environment you prefer. This could be a home or any third-place like an office, a community center, a park or a backyard deck – anywhere people can gather, have a meal together, enjoy casual conversation and take a little time for dialogue.

How does it work?

Contact us and let us know you are interested in hosting a Story of God gathering. Establish a place to meet and an invitation list. A facilitator will follow up with you and discuss how many of the details you are comfortable handling yourself and then we’ll do all we can to take care of everything else.

Once the planning details are handled, your people are invited and agree to join you, and the time and date is established, our facilitator will join you in your place. The group will enjoy a meal and casual conversation. After dessert, a narrative will be read as your guests follow along. After the story is completed, the facilitator will led the gathered group in open dialogue about the story. Once the dialogue has been concluded, the gathering will be dismissed but further dialogue can continue with anyone that desires to remain.

If you desire to host The Story of God in your location, please contact us today.

Being a Christian is more than just an instantaneous conversion – it is a daily process whereby you grow to be more and more like Christ.

Billy Graham

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.

C. S. Lewis

I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me

Revelation 3:20