Missional Communities have been an effective vehicle for mission for our church and many churches like ours who desire to grow in friendships, grow in their relationship with God but also grow in living on mission. In other words, they combine the “up, in and out” relationships of our lives together in one extended family on mission.
These groups can range from a smaller size to a medium-sized group of 25 or 30. They all desire to do life together and care for one another as well as experience God together. But they also have a specific mission focus. For instance, we have an MC that focuses on growing in relationship with people experiencing homelessness, a group that loves the Latino community as well as groups that focus on specific geographic neighborhoods.
This all helps us to take our church mission, “to love our community in the name of Jesus” down to a practical specific focus area in which more people can participate.
One final reason Missional Communities are so helpful is that they create a very different type of environment than a worship service, or even an all church potluck. As a missional community begins to grow, the group feels more like a family reunion than a planned event.
These environments are a safe and welcoming space for those who are not yet people of faith or who are exploring who God is.
Many people in the current cultural climate in North America turn towards relationships rather than large group assembly to find belonging. Also, it is only after finding belonging that people area ready to broach difficult subjects like God, faith, religion, purpose and the meaning of life.
For both church goers as well as those who are not drawn to assembly and worship services, there is a very important goal for every MC:
People need to know what to expect when it comes to the rhythms of life for an MC.
The rhythms for an MC need to be clear.
Clarity brings confidence.
Confidence leads to courage.
Courage gives people what they need to risk and to step out of their comfort zone.
For a life long church goer – close relationships with people who are different can be uncomfortable.
For someone who is not yet a follower of Jesus, spending time with many people who are can be uncomfortable.
Having predictable patterns for when the group gathers and where as well as doing specific things that people can get used to bring the clarity > confidence > courage and willingness to engage in risk.
Start with discovering monthly gathering times. Then be sure that the gatherings have some rhythms that can start to feel predictable. For example, we often share what we are thankful for when we gather before a meal. We also pick one practice a month to focus on together (ie. pray for our neighbors, eat with our neighbors, etc).