The Gloriavale/Cooperite community would appear to be a shining example of what co-alpha is trying to achieve. They started with a small group with traditional Christian principles (in the 60s I think) and then bred like mad. They support themselves in style with a number of successful traditional businesses. I don't know how easy it would be to replicate this today though, as they did it at a more prosperous time when things didn't cost so much under a less tyrannical regime when people still took Christianity seriously.
There has been discussion here before on similar groups like the Hutterites. There's always a few issues with these types of Christian groups.
As an atheist I don't think any of us would fit in here. It's not enough to not enough to follow their rules but not have faith. They will be offended by this.
Another issue with these groups is that they're anti-science. I don't care about most modern technology, but I do care about serious things like medical care. See this snippet here:
How do you handle medical problems?
Our first solution for health issues is to pray. God has healed many of our people in miraculous ways without any need to visit a doctor or hospital. However, that doesn't mean that we ignore the use of these services, which God can use as part of the diagnosis and/or healing process. Whatever we choose to do, we place our faith in God, and not in the ability of science to solve all of our problems.
I would like to read more about them. They have some downloads here but the links are broken. I've emailed them to fix them.
Practically speaking, I think the best way to start a community like this would be by starting a business. The business could be started with a loan. The business owner could hire co-alpha oriented employees on a trial basis. During the trial they would be paid standard wages. If they want to remain long term they could rescind their wages and become owners. Owners would be allocated room and board from a general fund instead of being paid individual wages. For the first few years the owners would need to commit to living in poverty until the business was profitable enough to provide a higher standard of living.
The goal would be to shift all trial employees to owners. All trial employees who don't want to become owners would eventually be let go. As the business grows the general fund could cover more ambitious projects like buying land and materials for building houses. But to start with the general fund would probably just cover living together in a cramped studio apartment with basic needs.
My understanding is that the Hutterites are able to stay in business because they sell everything below competitor prices. They can do this because they have free labor.
The first step would be picking a business where you could sell products 50% less than the competition. You need to use the free labor of owners to your advantage.
Drealm, a few comments. First, I don't consider myself an atheist but that doesn't make me a Christian. Second, praying is generally better than going to a doctor because praying is harmless while doctors are, on average, more harmful than helpful over the long run. This is discussed in detail in Antifragile. And third, starting a profitable business is really hard. So I think one has to focus either on community or business first. Both at the same time is too much.
I do think it is worth visiting any community like Gloriavale even if one can't fit in, just to see how it works.
I think both "atheist" and "skeptic" would equally bar someone from being accepted. I cannot think of any alternative classification that would give an outsider freedom to not identify as a Christian but still blend in. Maybe something along the lines of someone from "the world" who hasn't accepted christ yet or been baptized would be more okay. They would expect this person to be baptized quickly though.
Praying isn't entirely harmless because inaction can worsen a medical issue. I believe this is why Steve Jobs died. I think if someone is desperate enough they'll take a chance with modern medicine. The rate of success needs to be really low to avoid modern medicine entirely.
The problem with starting a normal business is that by the time it becomes profitable most owners won't willingly collectivize it. The problem with a collective is it has a difficult time recruiting people whom will work without a wage. I see a business that uses both standard wages and collectivized profit as an easier way to start because most labor can be wage based. To make it profitable there would need to be enough owners working for free to offset wage costs. You would need to find an industry where labor is a high cost factor and then leverage free labor.
Starting a community is difficult because a real community multi generational. To accommodate insular functions for everyone would mean schools for children. That's a big infrastructure project.
There's another idea that just occurred to me. Perhaps something along the lines of a community college or trade school would work. You can start a trade school and students would give free labor in exchange for learning. Everything produced at the school would be sold to the public. Students who want to remain could become part of the faculty and get free room and board. Students could either pay a small tuition or get free room and board. This would provide a post high school option for some people who don't want to attend college. Once there are enough faculty students can stop enrolling and it can just become a collective.