“This is new. And different,” the compliance officer said as I, along with other FCS staff, sat at the closing table with Invest Atlanta. Everyone nodded with understanding… and excitement. For months, we’ve worked with them to discuss ways to deepen our Affordable Rental Home program. They have been tremendously supportive and share a commitment to making a more equitable Atlanta. But this is new.
It’s an oddly common refrain we hear at FCS. Unusual. New. Different. Unconventional. For many we meet, it is our mix of smart development and business principles with a lens of ministry and justice. For others, it’s leaning into our faith as motivation to fix broken places (literally). For others, it’s our deep commitment to one neighborhood. Or it’s the fact that so many of our staff live in the neighborhood where we serve that raises questions and eyebrows at the same time. For others, it’s our commitment to mutual exchange and the fact that we don’t give things away for free.
Our founder Bob Lupton often talked of Jesus’ parable about new wine in old wineskins. Mark 2:22 reads, “No one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins.”
Innovation - new ways of solving problems - are often ahead of institutions. But what was clear at the table with Invest Atlanta was that Atlanta is ready for fresh ideas in addressing affordable housing and rental properties. And partners like Invest Atlanta are committed to changing the city for the better, even if it means trying something new and figuring it out along the way.
Creativity. Innovation. Problem-solving. It’s exciting to be in this work, diving into the challenges and strengths of our community and finding partners who are eager to find (or create or build or sew) new wineskins. We’re grateful to Invest Atlanta, and we’re thankful for all our supporters who have taken risks on our ideas over the decades and come alongside us as we work together to create something fresh in our neighborhood!