The People of Praise

On October 15, 1971, in South Bend, IN, 29 people made a covenant together to form the People of Praise—a Christian, charismatic, covenant community. Today there are over 3,000 of us (approximately 1,800 adult members and 1,500 children). We have 21 branches across the US, Canada and the Caribbean.

Our covenant makes our life together possible. After an initial period of discernment and preparation that can last as long as six years, those who are interested are invited to become full members by making a definitive and permanent commitment—the Covenant of the People of Praise. In making the covenant, "We accept the responsibility for mutual care, concern and ministry among ourselves." We agree to "serve one another and the community as a whole in all needs: spiritual, material, financial" (The Spirit and Purpose of the People of Praise). As we live out this covenant commitment our love for one another and joy in each other grow deeper and stronger.

"By baptism we are made heirs of heaven, brothers and sisters of Christ, and children of God (Romans 8:17, 29), which is the basis of our life together" (The Spirit and Purpose of the People of Praise). We are members of many different denominations and attend many different local churches, but we don't let our denominational differences divide us. While we respect each other's doctrinal convictions we do everything we can to live our Lord's prayer for us, "That they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou has sent me" (John 17:21).

We are a charismatic community. Through baptism in the Holy Spirit we receive the whole Spirit of God. With the Spirit we can do things that only God can do! When the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2) they received power--power to preach the gospel, heal the sick, raise the dead, change the world. Through the same Spirit we too have that power. With that power we are joining in Christ's work of redeeming, renewing and re-creating this world. A principal way in which our work in the world manifests itself is in fostering the spread of the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the exercise of the charismatic gifts—gifts such as prophecy, healing and tongues (II Corinthians 12:9-10).

We understand that we can't live life together unless we are together. Often. On most weeks we gather in our respective branches (or in subgroups of our branches) to praise the Lord together, pray together, encourage and teach one another, make decisions together, and in general share our lives with one another. In addition, we meet weekly in small groups of four to six people. Men gather in men's groups to plan and decide how to care for their families, branches, neighborhoods and wider communities. Women gather in women's groups to share their lives, deepen friendships and encourage, learn from and support one another. Often more than one small group gathers together to help others in their community. Men's groups join other men's groups to move families into new houses, put up new roofs, throw People of Praise-style bachelor parties. Women's groups join other women's groups to pack up houses in preparation for moves, cook and clean for sick sisters, throw People of Praise-style baby showers. In addition to regularly scheduled events we are always getting together in less official but just as important ways: celebrating the opening of the Lord's Day together, dinners, picnics, birthday parties, vacations, etc. We also celebrate some of the most important events of our lives together with People of Praise baptism parties, People of Praise weddings and People of Praise wakes.

In 1981 we started Trinity School at Greenlawn in South Bend, IN. Since then we have opened two more Trinity Schools: Trinity School at River Ridge in Bloomington, MN, and Trinity School at Meadow View in Falls Church, VA. Our schools have a combined enrollment of more than 700 students (grades 7-12) and have won numerous awards for excellence in education including four Blue Ribbon Awards from the US Department of Education. (For more information about Trinity Schools please click the "Trinity Schools" link in the command bar on the left side of this page.)

"Because we love our Lord...we labor for the renewal of the church and for the conversion to Christ of all who do not yet know him" (The Spirit and Purpose of the People of Praise). Since our very beginning, outreach--the work of building God's kingdom—has been an essential element of our life together. In a very real sense everything we do in Christ builds his kingdom. We also have several outreach programs. Our Action program brings high school students and adults from across the US, Canada and the Caribbean to work together changing the world for the better. For example, we have built five new houses over the past three summers in a very poor neighborhood of Shreveport, LA. Our Campus program unites students at several different universities and colleges across the US in training, preparing and recruiting others for lives as kingdom-builders. Our mission program is active in starting and supporting new People of Praise branches. We are growing. (For more information about our outreach programs please click the "Our Programs" link in the command bar on the left side of this page.)

To find the People of Praise branch nearest you please click on the "Our Branches" link in the command bar on the left side of this page. More specific information plus local contact information for each of our branches can be found on the branch sites linked to the "Our Branches" page and to the top of this page.