Session 16: Forming a Missional Community Covenant
An agreement amongst the community detailing
What they believe
Who they are going to reach
How they will effectively make disciples who make disciples
Once a year (at least) need to revisit covenant
Allows the group to refocus on the mission, recommit
Allows freedom for people to be led by God elsewhere in the mission to make disciples.
NOTE: Some groups revisit their covenant as much as once every quarter in order to make revisions, tweak things. Things may be changing in the mission you are involved in. Again, this isn’t required…but at least once a year it is.
The Elements of a Missional Community Covenant
First Element: Beliefs
What are our core beliefs—what do we believe about the Gospel?
Do we believe that we were saved?
The gospel is the power of salvation, the mission God
Do we believe God has changed us? Do we believe we have been saved?
Do we believe we were enemies of God?
Do we believe that Jesus is fully God and fully man
Do we believe the Word of God
Do we believe in the HS, alive in Christ, new creations
Do we believe that we are being saved?
Do we have a desire to obey God?
Are we daily being sanctified by His Love?
Do we believe that God has given us everything we need?
Do we believe that we will be saved?
Jesus is coming back
There is a real Hell, and judgment is coming
Condemnation is a real possibility
Identity—based in Beliefs
Do we believe that we are baptized in the trinity?—do we believe we are disciples of Jesus (Triangle)?
Father—Family of God, disciples
Son—Servants of God, disciples
Holy Spirit—Missionaries of God, disciples
Is there anyone here who hasn’t been baptized? We want to baptize you.—the covenant process will bring these things up
Will talk through these things thoroughly…because they will really fill out the content of how we will live—our rhythms.
In light of who we are in Christ, what shall we then do? Because we are these things, what shall we then do
Family—if we are the family of God, what will we do?
Servants—if we are servants of God, what will we do?
Missionaries—if we are missionaries of God, what will we do?
Dearly loved by God, children of God…How then will we love one another as family?
How often will we eat together?
Will we hear one another’s stories?
How much will we share?
Walk through who you are in that aspect of identity (family) and then discuss how we will shape rhythms to reflect that identity.
It will probably mean sharing/helping one another to accomplish these rhythms. It may mean re-teaching how to be family. If someone thinks they are called to work in the family garden but they don’t have time…they will share what they need to make that happen…then the group will step into that need and answer it as the family of God. $500 is nothing compared to what Jesus has done for us. WHAT—could commit in the covenant to financially supporting a family so that they are more freed up to be the family of God, servants, on mission together. Amazing level of commitment.
As a family, what have we been blessed with?
Write it all down
Is there anything that anyone has (skills, resources, time, houses, ETC) that someone in the family needs?
If we believe we are family, how will we walk that out?
This is how they will know you are my disciples.
Will need a scribe for this.
Write it down and build the document, and give people opportunities to edit it before committing to the covenant.
Are we clear on who God is sending us to reach?
Are we praying to hear from God about the mission? Are we making time to pray together about the mission and who God wants us to reach? Are we making time in our DNA groups?
The mission requires focus and power—we have to pray.
What are we going to do to ensure that we engage in relationship with people?
What are we going to do?
Where will we hang out?
Are we eating in places that will help us connect?
How are we reaching out?
How often will we open our meeting times to people?
Are we ok with our community bringing people to the meeting with the understanding that the meeting may change according to our desire to reach this new person?—you may need to state this sort of thing in the covenant.
You have to do some research to know how to reach the pocket of people you are trying to reach.—are you meeting with the people you are trying to reach and actually asking them what they need?...you probably need to ask the people you are trying to reach in order to know how best to reach them.
IMPORTANT: How are we going to ensure that people are going to hear the gospel?
It is easy to miss this piece. It is easy to just spend time with people and never get to the story of God.
Could create relationships for 3-4 months and then go through the story of God with people for several weeks. Pray that they accept God’s message.
Could say that you will have 1 gospel conversation with 1 unbeliever in the mission field.
This piece is what most people never get to. They work hard on everything else and then wonder why no one is coming to Christ.
A few things to think about as missionaries:
What parties are happening? How do we ‘bring the better wine’ to the party? What are they missing when Christians aren’t there? How can Christians come to be known as people who are celebrated as guests rather than feared or bemoaned? (Happy they are there because they are loving vs. bummed they came because they are judge-y)
EX: big artist party night at a pub—we’ll go serve
Children’s fest at the park, we’ll serve
Pub crawl night…we’ll go and drive everyone home. They told the bartenders that they would drive many people home in order to be good news to them
How we share the Gospel matters, having a plan matters
How will we be good news?
Look at the needs in the community you are reaching, see the answer in how God has serve you. Be a servant like Jesus.
EX: Father to the fatherless: many kids in the neighborhood didn’t ever have birthdays. They decided to serve by always celebrating the birthdays of children in the neighborhood together—presents, cake, and affirmation from the fathers and mothers as a blessing to the family.
“we will ensure that everyone gets a birthday.” Lots of babies being born? “we will ensure that everyone gets a baby shower.” Lots of people moving into the neighborhood? “we will help everyone move in, get them meals for a week.” People will know that you are a different neighborhood.
If you don’t make a plan to reach the lost…you will be a wonderful community that loves each other…but you’ll have no one to talk to about Jesus that doesn’t already know Him.
Who are the poor, the widow, the orphan? Literally and virtually.
What would it be like to serve them?
A few more things on Serving
What would it look like to serve the greater Body of Christ in our city?
In light of being servants, how will we faithfully give to the Church, the missional community? How will we be good stewards? –this is normally a difficult thing. People will not just figure it out. They need help thinking about budgeting and about how to be generous and thinking of generosity as a first fruit approach.
What do we have that God has given us that is needed for the mission
Finances, skills, time, talent, treasure
Think through the rhythms of family, servanthood, and missionary living.
This may take a lot of time. Maybe several weeks with your MC.
Could be too perfectionist, or aim too low. Give time for reflection.
Not everyone will agree—you may have a core and some on the outside.
If you do this year after year, it will produce great results.
Minimally, make sure the people who are the core of your community come together to form the covenant. Still, lots of maturity differences will be present.
You might have to pull apart the core in order to make the covenant. Some will excuse themselves. If you aren’t committed, you won’t really have the same voice—and you won’t be held to the same level of commitment.
Questions for Reflection
1. What about this is difficult for you? Does it feel too legalistic? Does it feel like too much commitment? Speak out loud how you feel about it and whether or not you struggle with any part of it. Discuss if those struggles are properly informed by the Gospel.
2. What are you going to do as an MC to take steps forward to actually commit to something whether it’s fairly simple of more in depth?
3. When you are going to start the process of creating it, and when are you going to complete it? After you finish it, when will you have a time of prayerful commitment to things you’ve agreed upon?