Why Missional Communities?
The primary way that most churches seek to grow is by focusing their efforts on attracting people to come to their Sunday services. And people do still come to faith in Jesus that way - which is wonderful!
However, each of us will also have friends, neighbors, colleagues and family who are far from Jesus, and yet have absolutely no interest in ever coming into a church building to attend a service! They might have completely crazy and unfair reasons for their hostility or apathy, but the situation remains the same: they’re not coming.
Because you and I love our friends, we need to find ways to reach them where they are at. In other words, we go to where they are today - and work out what form church needs to take in that place, in order to reveal the Kingdom of God in ways that make sense to those people.
And this is where Missional Communities come in.
These mid-sized groups, that are focused on making disciples of Jesus in specific neighborhoods or networks of relationships, are intentionally designed to be a place where people who otherwise wouldn’t go near a church can be gently and relationally folded in.
For more than a decade we have overseen the planting of multiple hundreds of Missional Communities in the churches where have served on staff (and that figure jumps up to the multiple thousands from all the training and coaching we’ve done in churches, conferences, networks and denominations.) We’ve seen this simple, easy-to-multiply model bring life to so many people and churches - and that is why we have devoted so much time and energy to thinking through how to spread this training and resourcing further afield.
- So if you are longing for a way to build a fabulous community that will reach your lost friends - then these resources are for you
- If you are already trying a few missional experiments but would like more support, shaping and input - then these resources are for you
- And if you desire to help steer others into a more missional lifestyle, and would like a simple, robust yet highly transferable framework around which to build - then these resources are for you.
But What Exactly IS a Missional Community?
We will explain lots more about Missional Communities in our flagship Missional Community Starter Kit - and clearly there are tons of practical questions as people delve deeper.
Yet the essence of Missional Community life is actually very simple. So here are a few parallel ways of defining them - in a sentence, in 3 words, and in bullet points.
A Missional Community Definition In A Sentence:
A missional community is an extended family of relationships, centered around Jesus, who go and make disciples amongst a specific group of people
A Missional Community Definition In 3 Words:
COMMUNITY – Authentic community occurs, so people can belong before they believe, and will experience an extended family atmosphere
MISSION – There is a common mission to a specific group of people (this is a ‘who’, not a ‘what’)
PRACTICE – Everyone gets to contribute in every area
A Missional Community Definition In Bullet Points:
- A group of 20 to 50+ people (these numbers include both adults and children)
- The group’s focus is defined by a mission vision to a specific neighborhood or network of relationships
- It is a disciple-making culture
- There is an expectation of multiplication from day 1 — thus team is built, and everyone gets to contribute
- The group does a healthy mixture of Up, In and Out
- Up = Creative worship + “Fresh bread” (how we engage with the Bible)
- In = Eating + “Oneanothering”
- Out = Demonstrating the works of Jesus (as we serve, and as we are ‘Naturally Supernatural’) + Declaring the words of Jesus
- Small groups will naturally form as subsets of Missional Communities, particularly as we do “oneanothering” properly
And so we invite you to join us on this journey of exploration - and to see just how Missional Community life can be a game changer in your specific context!