The Agora desires to be a hub for many various ministries and outreach programs for our community and to a smaller degree, beyond. There are many areas where we see distinct contradiction between biblical principles and how our society currently functions. We are building out alternatives that are in line with biblical principles and follow the parallel society strategy used by the original Church without contradicting the theology of obedience.
The Agora Food Club
The Agora Homeschool Co-op
The first ministry started was The Agora Food Club. The focus of the food club is to provide a way for individuals to attain and eat food that is healthy, natural, affordable, and done so in a system that does not contradict biblical principles. The modern food system is not structured to be able to provide all of these goals nor is it efficient and effective when it attempts to do so.
We are told in the Bible that humanity’s main role is to be stewards of the Earth. God created all things then put man in charge over this creation. We believe that this should be done in a way that is in line with how God created the world to work. We are told that God identifies His creation as “good” and He rested on the seventh day “so that it itself could produce.” We wish to support farmers and producers who follow practices in line with God’s design such as mimicking natural ecosystems and diets through permaculture, rotational grazing, pasture raised animals, sustainable practices, etc.
Genesis 1:28 “God blessed them: God said to them, ‘Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea, the birds in the air and every living creature that crawls on the earth.’”
Genesis 2:2-3 “God saw everything that he had made, and indeed it was very good. So there was evening, and there was morning, a sixth day. Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, along with everything in them. On the seventh day God was finished with his work which he had made, so he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. 3 God blessed the seventh day and separated it as holy; because on that day God rested from all his work which he had created, so that it itself could produce.”
We are also told that our bodies are a temple for God. We are to take care of it, feed it well, and avoid things that defile it. All things come from God and we are to be good stewards of the things God gives us, including our bodies. Putting chemicals in our bodies that are harmful is not in line with these principles. Neither is eating anything with ingredients or attributes that are unhealthy for our bodies.
Psalms 24:1 “The earth is Adonai’s, with all that is in it, the world and those who live there”
John 1:3 “All things came to be through him, and without him nothing made had being.”
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 “Or don’t you know that your body is a temple for the Holy Spirit who lives inside you, whom you received from God? The fact is, you don’t belong to yourselves; for you were bought at a price. So use your bodies to glorify God.”
Ephesians 5:29 “Why, no one ever hated his own flesh! On the contrary, he feeds it well and takes care of it, just as the Messiah does the Church”
2 Corinthians 7:1 “Therefore, my dear friends, since we have these promises, let us purify ourselves from everything that can defile either body or spirit, and strive to be completely holy, out of reverence for God.”
Finally, we are to take care of those in need. In modern society, the vast majority of the population does not have access to food that meets these principles. Those that do often can’t afford it or would have to go through so many different sources that it becomes unrealistic. Health is one of the most important needs we have and food is usually the single biggest factor in health.
All in all, we desire to live according to biblical principles and in order to do so in relation to food and health, we host the food club ministry. As with all of our outreach programs, this is not restricted to those in the Church but rather is an outreach to the broader community. Due to the nature of our modern milieu, the food club has a unique structure that involves all involved being members of the food club. While all are welcome to become members, the food club is not open to the public, is not a store, and does not sell anything to anyone. The food club rather connects members to natural, local food and products typically directly from the producers themselves and brings it all into one physical location for members to all come pick up.
For more information, please visit The Agora Food Club website:
The Agora Homeschool Meetups
The education of the young is one of the most important aspects of society as well as Christian living. One of the most important sections of scripture, The Decalogue, begins with these words in Deuteronomy 6:4-9:
“Hear, Isra’el! Adonai our God, Adonai is one; and you are to love Adonai your God with all your heart, all your being and all your resources. These words, which I am ordering you today, are to be on your heart; and you are to teach them carefully to your children. You are to talk about them when you sit at home, when you are traveling on the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them on your hand as a sign, put them at the front of a headband around your forehead, and write them on the door-frames of your house and on your gates.”
The reality is that God’s ways are often not taught in public schools nor in many charter or private school options. Some do and we are not against parents putting their children in formal schools as a whole. Rather, following with the natural order God established, we specifically support mothers who raise and teach their own children and teach them God’s ways. We provide the ability for like minded parents to come alongside each other, to teach together, to learn together, to have their children socialize together, and so on. We believe this is the most ideal form of community for the Church and beyond.
Currently, this education ministry is still in development and will hopefully be ready for the beginning of the school year of 2023. We plan to meet once per week at The Agora as a group. The areas we plan on focusing on are practical skills, nature studies, quality literature, critical thinking, and history. We plan to have a small fee for joining to cover the cost of any materials and hired help if needed but the goal is to keep this as minimal as possible. If there is enough support, we may be able to fund all expenses through donations to the church.
As an outreach to the broader community, The Agora sponsors a Self-Reliance Festival in the spring that is focused around the methods, skills, and knowledge that overlap with our mission and beliefs.
For those that wish to participate fully, there are speakers and presentations indoors on topics such as preparedness, homesteading, natural health, the parallel society, and other related topics. This aspect of the event requires a ticket and includes lunch.
In addition to the speakers and presentations, there are many booths and demonstrations set up outside and under a pavilion that are open for all. Some are informational, some are interactive, and some focus on demonstration. Examples include a homeschool information booth, a blacksmith set up, a local food club, local natural health practitioners, local fitness providers, and other related topics.
Many people do not have the experience or knowledge to support themselves and their family more directly with less reliance on the system. We aim to change that for those who are interested. This involves sustenance through things such as gardening, homesteading, prepping, canning, preserving, cooking, etc. It can also involve natural health options such as nutritional training, making elderberry syrup or fire cider, chiropractic, homeopathy, etc. Other topics of interest may include defense, homeschooling, natural building, and much more.
We plan to host a variety of clubs that bring people in the community together around a common interest. These will likely include The Chattanooga Voluntary Society, a board game club, a book club, and other groups that don’t conflict with our beliefs.