Session 1: How to form a Missional Community
Necessary elements of a Missional Community (MC)
1. Shared Leadership
Need several leaders for each community. It is too much for one or two people to do alone
The group has to take ownership of the success of the missional community—cannot rise and fall depending on the success of one or two people.
APEST is good to aim for in leadership teams for MCs. Ephesians 4:11-16 (see Alex Absalom notes on the early church/missional communities)
Balance weaknesses out—how do we lean into each other to make this work?
2. Gospel Foundation
Mission is not Gospel. The good news is not what you do, but what God has done in Christ.
4 aspects of Gospel Foundation
Gospel Power—Romans 1:16-17; we’ve been saved, we’re forgiven, we’re being saved. God actively saves lives.
Gospel People—New identity in Christ, God the Father, the Holy Spirit
Gospel Purpose—What God has done to them, he now wants to do through them
Gospel Practices—Gospel informs everyday rhythms.
3. Gospel Intentionality
Gospel leads people to prayerful dependency/Growing prayer for bold dependence on God.
Can everyone in your MC tell the story of God from Genesis to Revelation? If they don’t know God’s redemptive plan, how can they live in light of it?
Take time to know each other’s stories, Jesus in their lives. MCs are a great place to share stories—a great form is Creation, Fall, Redemption, Restoration.
When people tell their story, and Jesus isn’t the focus, you have an idea of how great a grasp they have on the gospel. (Where do they struggle with God’s sufficiency.)
We must become proficient with sharing the Gospel to the unbelief in each other’s hearts: Gospel Fluency—must speak it out to one another so that each is reformed in the Gospel.
4. Clearly Defined Mission
May want to do this first, or at the same time that you are working on the last few. You need the Gospel, and a specific mission.
Define the difference between reactive/proactive Gospel:
Reactive—always on mission, reacting to what opportunities occur in the normal course of your day. See: Good Samaritan
Proactive—You have a specific group of people that you intentionally spend time and energy on, you seek opportunities to reach and love these people.
NOTE: we need both reactive and proactive styles of missionality.
While on mission with others, you are all being trained for a future mission—this is likely not the last group to which you will try to minister
Pray for the mission. Pray to seek opportunities, pray for the power of the Lord, pray for blessing, pray for open hearts, pray a lot.
5. Adjust Your Lives (to the specific mission)
How does your life look different as you pursue a people group? (EX: a MC wants to reach the members of a HS football team. They spend time during the week mentoring going to practices, games, having students over for dinner, working on the stadium, helping students apply to college, raising money for the team. Not everyone will do everything—it has to be varied.)
Be aware of seasons and patterns (Football cont: busy in the fall, lighter in other seasons) Where do these people hang out?
What is our covenant for this MC (commitment)? Write it down. Could be good to commit to 9 month periods and then check in every 3 months to check if things need to be adjusted.
6. Displaying and Declaring the Gospel
Grow in Gospel Fluency
Know the barriers you face in your specific mission
What are possible Gospel doors/pathways (football: the team lacked good father-figures. So, it was an opportunity to demonstrate being a father to the fatherless)
What are cultural idols of that people group?
What are the most obvious needs of the people group? (EX: sent meal backpacks home with students from impoverished school districts.)
7. Connect with a Coach
You group may need assessment, advice, encouragement from an outside voice—regularly connect with a coach.
8. Plan for Multiplication
Sow from the beginning—we’re not going to be together forever, you will grow out of this.
Know that you will grow and be launched as another MC.
As you grow, identify potential leaders
9. Birth of New MCs
Pray, Prepare, Propel (send)
Celebrate, weep (there will be a bittersweet aspect to launching a new MC)
Reflect on the time together
What was good? What was hard?
Remember what was accomplished for God, by God, through us.
Help people grieve, but celebrate the work of God—it is the for the Kingdom and we will see each other again—but it still hurts to split.
Don’t just multiply structures, multiply disciples
If you just split your group and it isn’t because you have grown out of the right size, then it is division and not multiplication.
But if you have so many disciples in an MC that it can become two or more good-sized MCs, then it will be multiplication
10. Equipping Centers (ie Churches)
It is ok for so many MCs to sprout that a new church has to planted—we want that.
3 Questions to ask after reviewing the notes
1. Which one of these 10 does your group really need? Where are we weak?
2. What pathway will you take to engage in one of these? Video? Discussion in the group?
3. If you live this out faithfully, what do you imagine your group would be like?