Big insight for people leading Missional Communities
The 3DM Content Team is in the midst of working on the new Missional Communities book that will come out this September. We are really proud of the first book we put out, but feel it has run its’ course. What we feel is really necessary right now is a book that simplifies Missional Communities. If it feels confusing, difficult or cumbersome, we’re probably not talking about Missional Communities.
Rather than giving an exhaustive look into the theology, Biblical basis, sociology, church history, praxis and detailed strategy of launching MC’s, we wanted to do something else. We are releasing a book that is written for every-day people with 9-5 jobs who are looking for something extraordinarily helpful that can aid them in launching their Missional Community.
In other words, the book will attempt to answer this question: “How can you launch and lead ONE Missional Community?”
Needless to say, we’re really excited about this content.
Here’s an excerpt from the draft-version of it that we think gives a really important insight.
As you discover People of Peace in the context God is calling you to, you will begin to develop rhythms of gathering (organized and organic) that enable your MC to develop a culture and life together. We don’t want to be too prescriptive in this, because there is so much variety in MCs based on mission context and People of Peace, etc., but we do want to offer a few thoughts that may be helpful as you discern a rhythm for your MC.
Because so much is determined by the People of Peace, MCs will often have two distinct phases of rhythm:
Phase 1: Rhythms that help you find People of Peace.
Finding the People of Peace is important, because this is how you begin to discern what God is up to. Some MCs will actually start by teaching the core members about People of Peace for a few weeks, equipping the people in MC to become good at identifying them in every aspect of their lives. Then the rhythms of the MC are focused mainly on finding People of Peace.
That might mean of a lot of backyard barbecues and neighborhood parties where loads of people are invited over so you can begin to see who is open to your community. For a MC reaching out to artists, it might mean attending a lot of shows and events in the city, beginning to get to know the people, looking for People of Peace. At the same time, the MC would continue to gather to pray and process together about what they are hearing and seeing as they engage in these People-of-Peace-finding rhythms. It is usually quite important at the beginning stages to emphasize this kind of OUT activity (perhaps at least 2-3 times a month).
Phase 2: Rhythms that help you “stay with” People of Peace.
Once People of Peace are identified, the MC will often shift its rhythms considerably, because Jesus told us to “stay there” once we find a Person of Peace. The People of Peace will reveal where God is working, and we shift our rhythms in light of this because we want to be like Jesus, who only did what he saw his Father doing (John 5:19). Oftentimes it will mean focusing rhythms around relating to the specific People of Peace that God has brought to the MC. For example, a neighborhood-based MC might spend a few months in the summer having a lot of People-of-Peace-finding events, and then a few months in the fall going through an Alpha Course with the People of Peace they’ve found in the neighborhood.
MC rhythms will often function this way, swinging between seasons of gathering new People of Peace and then seasons of investing in the People of Peace they find. Seasons of planting seeds and seasons of reaping crops. In all of this, it’s important to keep the triangle of UP / IN / OUT in mind. As we move OUT in finding or cultivating People of Peace, we must also be gathering UP and IN to pray and process together about what God is saying to us, as well as simply be a family together! All three dimensions of the Triangle need to be strong for a MC to reflect the life of Jesus.
Overall, it’s important to remember that your rhythms aren’t set in stone once you establish them. Staying flexible is really vital, because you’ll want to be able to respond to what God is doing and saying. It’s okay to experiment and find out that something doesn’t work. It’s okay to change your rhythms if you find you need to adapt to a situation that has changed or simply if you tried something that didn’t work. You have permission to fail. Just get up and keep going.
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