Plow Creek / JPUSA – Visit – July 2014

If my memory serves me right, and lately I’ve had doubts that it does, I first visited Jesus People USA in 2004. It was on a trip with Natalie to a Jesus Radicals Conference.  As part of the JR conference we were given a quick tour and dinner at the JPUSA building. While I didn’t learn much then I have since.

It was on this same trip that we became acquainted with Plow Creek. A rural intentional community (IC) outside of Chicago in Tiskilwa, Il.

JPUSA and Plow Creek were my first – hands on – exposure to IC.

We had a chance to stop by and see Louise and Mark from Plow Creek, they’d been our host on a previous visit and it was good to catch up.

Plow Creek and JPUSA were both started in about 1971-1972. JPUSA in the Uptown area of Chicago and Plow Creek in the rural country side of Illinois.  They’ve seen their ups and downs, had good press and bad press, lost and gained members and had their faith challenged and sustained.

At both JPUSA and Plow Creek I’ve felt welcomed, the environment friendly and the people honestly devoted to their life.

We were hosted by Carolyn, Tyler and Olive at JPUSA. It was a very laid back and pressure free visit. I asked questions and Carolyn and Tyler answered honestly and openly. Olive – being 2ish talked a lot with Gretchen.

JPUSA sometimes strikes people as odd or strange. True… but that is one of the reasons I like the idea. Going out on a limb and saying that it is time for change often gets you in trouble or worse. (Ask Martin Luther)

Intentional Communities interest me, but I’m not sure how well I’d do living in an IC. Within the first hour we were at JPUSA, this time, it was obvious that it was a small town, (population of about 300), where everyone know your name. Perhaps not everyone but you get the picture. Could I live in a place so closely connected? Would I fare any better at Plow Creek?

Even though I’m not sure how well I’d do, I like the idea, the people and the reasons.

For more information on Plow Creek or JPUSA check out the following links.

Introduction Letter

The first thing a person notices when they come to visit, is that we are blessed to live in a quiet and very pretty rural setting. We own a 190 acre farm that includes numerous homes, ravines and hillsides, a creek a retreat cabin, some aging farm buildings and about 40 acres of good, flat fields for crops. Most folks who live in the area know us by our farming. Using methods of sustainable farming, we grow strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, melons, sweet corn, tomatoes and a few other crops for sale. Our strawberry season dominates the month

Via Plow Creek

Jesus People USA (JPUSA for short) is both a church AND a community. For what is church, but people, the body of Christ. Definitely the lines which usually separate our Sunday self from who we are the other six days of the week get blurred. It is a place to discover who you are and to be challenged to live an authentic life in Christ.

Via JPUSA.Org -> Read More.

Jesus People USA began as an independent ministry in 1972 and spent most of their time traveling across the country. In 1989, they joined the Chicago-based Evangelical Covenant Church. Though their numbers fluctuate, the community typically houses around 500 residents, including senior citizens who rent floors of their building.

via Red Line Project.


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