The following is a summery of The Church of the Sojourners in San Francisco
I will be joining them for a year starting Aug 14th 2011.
Their are 4 town houses houses within walking distance of each other in the Mission district of San Francisco that constitutes the Church of the Sojourners. They are a community that shares life and are a church, they see no distinction between the two. They are multi-generational, with some families with small kids, young adults, long-time members, up to the elderly. They have a schedule of life together, involving worship on Sundays, some group meals throughout the weeknights, some bible/devotional studies. Most members have part time jobs, but not full time because they are highly invested in their housemates. They are more focused internally on loving each other well rather then constantly going out and trying to love all their neighbors. That said, they frequently receive new members or visitors who are needy into the community who are then cared for by the group.
They also have what are called discernment meetings where they come together to prayerfully decide as a community what to do with certain pooled resources, and help individuals decide about taking jobs, or other life matters. The idea is that a community of Jesus followers thinking and praying together will better be able to make any important decision, including those that American culture considers personal. And when that community also lives with you then they are invested in the results of the decision, whether for better or ill, and they get to see the fruit God bears in their housemates, and so it seems to be an atmosphere that encourages empathy and deep connection.
New members first go through an apprenticeship year which is what i am considering. It involves participating in the community life i have described, and then deciding at then end if the their is a goof long term fit. I think i would learn much from this group in the year.