* God was REAL in these places. People talked about God in first order language. In other words, they talked about God like they KNEW God personally (instead of just knowing "about" God) and like God was DOING STUFF in their lives, in their congregation, in their communities, and in our world.
* There was a deep and real commitment to the priesthood of all believers. People didn't expect their congregation or their pastor to "take care of them." Rather, they understood that being a Christian means being a disciple of Jesus everywhere they go! They embraced "ministry" as something they are responsible for.
* The Bible mattered. People read it. They talked easily about Biblical stories and SAW themselves in those stories. These stories seemed to provide the framework for everything they did, thought, said, decided, and dreamed.
* People, especially the leaders, were pragmatic. And this pragmatism was rooted in their commitment to reaching people for transformation. They really believe that to be the church is to share the message of Jesus with everyone. And, so, they paid attention to what "worked." And they were willing to change the way they did things if they thought something would "work" better.
* They expected something to HAPPEN! They really believed that God changes lives. People are TRANSFORMED when God gets a hold of them. The Holy Spirit was on the loose in these places! You could FEEL it.