What is the People of Praise?
The People of Praise is a charismatic Christian community. We admire the first Christians who were led by the Holy Spirit to form a community. Those early believers put their lives and their possessions in common, and "there were no needy persons among them."
We are Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Baptists, Pentecostals and other denominational and nondenominational Christians. Despite our differences, we are bound together by our Christian baptism. Despite our differences, we worship God together. While remaining faithful members of our own churches, we have found a way to live our daily lives together.
Like hundreds of millions of other Christians in the Pentecostal movement, People of Praise members have experienced the blessing of baptism in the Holy Spirit and the charismatic gifts as described in the New Testament. This is a source of great joy for us and an important aspect of what God is doing in our world today.
Founded in 1971 in South Bend, Indiana, the People of Praise has grown into a community of about 1,700 members. We are currently in 22 cities across the US, Canada and the Caribbean.
How does the People of Praise serve the broader society?
In 1981, in response to a call from God, we established Trinity Schools—private Christian schools in South Bend, Indiana, Falls Church, Virginia, and Eagan, Minnesota. These middle/high schools have received a total of eight Blue Ribbon awards from the U.S. Department of Education. The Trinity curriculum has also served as a model for more than 30 private and public charter schools nationwide. Additionally, members of the People of Praise founded Trinity Academy, a middle/high school in Portland, Oregon, as well as Praise Academy, an elementary school located in an impoverished neighborhood of Shreveport, Louisiana.
In 2002, inspired by the Holy Spirit, some People of Praise members began moving into some of America's poorest neighborhoods. Since then, we have lived closely with our neighbors and worked together to help meet pressing neighborhood needs. Our efforts include: running camps for hundreds of children, repairing neighborhood homes, hosting prayer meetings, growing healthy food on an urban farm. Longtime local residents have credited these efforts with lowering the crime rate and making the neighborhoods more beautiful and peaceful places to live.
People of Praise community life provides a natural support for marriages and families. This has led us to develop Marriage in Christ, a course for married couples. Marriage in Christ helps couples renew their love and affection for each other while building crucial habits of prayer, conversation and forgiveness. More than 1,300 couples have completed the program.
In addition, branches of the People of Praise in various cities have many local outreach activities, from running prayer meetings to serving the needy.
What is a covenant?
Community life in the People of Praise is grounded in a lifelong promise of love and service to fellow community members. This covenant commitment, which establishes our relationships as members of the People of Praise community, is made freely and only after a period of discernment lasting several years. Our covenant is neither an oath nor a vow, but it is an important personal commitment. We say that People of Praise members should always follow their consciences, as formed by the light of reason, and by the experience and the teachings of their churches.
Can a covenanted member leave the People of Praise?
Yes. We have always understood that God can call a person to another way of life, in which case he or she would be released from the covenant.
Is the People of Praise a church?
No, the People of Praise is a Christian community whose members come from more than 15 different Christian denominations and churches. We aim to share our daily lives together in community while also remaining faithful and active members of our own particular churches and denominations.
Where do People of Praise members worship?
Community members attend services at a variety of Christian churches where the majority of congregants are not members of the People of Praise. Typically we hold our community meetings on Sunday afternoons, leaving community members free to be full and active members of their parishes and congregations.