Every month our missional community sets aside one night to celebrate the birthdays of anyone born in that month. We alter our normal rhythm slightly to extend the meal time and include birthday cake and other special desserts. The highlight of the celebration is our predictable pattern of speaking blessings over those whom we’re celebrating with that month.
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.
As I think on the idea of spiritual parenting within a missional community in the season we are in, what makes me thankful is the way our thirteen year old daughter Haeli continues to find her identity, purpose and kingdom responsibility within this fairly new missional community. She is beginning to step into leadership in small but significant ways. As we try to live and love in the ways of Jesus, this gives me confidence that we continue to head down the right path with our family!
A missional community is an extended family size group of people living life together for the good of a specific neighborhood or network of people. They are shaped by regular rhythms of connecting with God (up), with each other (in), and with the people God has called them to love (out). It sounds simple enough but as I talk to church leaders around North America, one thing is growing painfully clear: it’s a lot harder than it sounds and the failure rate is higher than many of us would like to admit.
There are lots of reasons why a missional community might fail. However there is one mistake that is beginning to stand out above all the others. It’s predictable, I see it over and over again and it has a tendency to dramatically limit your success with missional communities right from the very start.
Here is my thesis:
Your missional community is more likely to fail by asking too little than by asking too much from the people you start with.