Category Archives: missional communities
I’ve learned a whole heck of a lot from Soma Communities, on Church Planting, Sharing the Gospel, and missional communities that we are implementing in the creation of The Exchange Community in Jackson, Mo. Recently Soma did a fast track training for their missional community leaders. This is some great material to go through if you’re leading a missional community or are interested in starting a missional community
Here’s the links to Soma’s Fast Track Training Audio/Video and their notes:
1. The Story of God // Caesar Kalinowski
2. Vision for Missional Communities // Jeff Vanderstelt
3. Gospel, Power & Purpose // Jeff Vanderstelt
4. Gospel DNA // Jeff Vanderstelt & Abe Meysenburg
5. Gospel in Everyday Rhythms // Jeff Vanderstelt
6. Gospel Fluency // Jeff Vanderstelt
7. Creating a Disciple-Making Enviroment // Jeff Vanderstelt
8. Gospel Shepherding // Abe Meysenburg
9. Missional Community Covenant // Jeff Vanderstelt
10. Spirit Led Life // Jeff Vanderstelt
11. Spiritual Warfare // Jeff Vanderstelt
Here’s a link to all of their materials
Picture found here along with the post: Ten Reasons Missional Communities Fail
We all have a deep-set yearning for a better world, to be intimately connected to our creator, to see justice and harmony between one another, to live at peace with ourselves, and to see a day when sickness, aging, disease, and death are no more. We believe this is what God intended for us – that we were created to live in a perfect world and to take pleasure in a perfect relationship with God. We also believe that the whole creation is no longer what it once was. It is now groaning and breaking because of rebellion (sin) against God. Since that day, God has been on a mission to restore all things unto himself through the person and work of Jesus Christ. The Church is community comprised of those that God has already reconciled to himself and have made His family. God has chosen to work His mission through them to spread his message and show his love so that others are restored to God as well. Our Missional Communities are the primary way that we mobilize God’s people for His mission.
WHAT IS A MISSIONAL COMMUNITY?
A Missional Community is NOT primarily a small group, Bible Study. Support group, prayer group, activist group, or weekly meeting. It may entail these elements, but rather…
A Missional Community is a family of committed believers who live out the mission of God in a specific community. They build up each other in the Gospel and share it with others. They show the Gospel through serving others and restoring what is broken in our communities.
WHY ARE MISSIONAL COMMUNITIES NEEDED?
We, at The Exchange, believe that faith grows in motion. We grow our most in our journey with God when we are walking together in authentic and challenging relationships. Our Missional Communities (MCs) help people to get to know God and are the vehicle through which we share His Message and serve our community.
We also believe that people seeking God are also looking for a people who are show the radical love of the God they profess. For the unbeliever, that’s the test if the God we believe in could possibly be real. Because of Christ’s great love in saving us, we strive to be that people who embody the love of Jesus through serving the community and sharing our lives together. Each of our MCs will focus not only on learning God’s Story, but learning to live it as well through serving others and sharing the Good News of Jesus.
When we look at the Bible, God called his church the light of the world, a city on a hill, a kingdom of priests. We’re saved into a community, a family, called the church. In the book of acts we see a group of people living life together, mutually committed to one another and to the mission of God. God used His church greatly in the book of Acts because the whole community gave a collective witness to the life, love, and message of Jesus. Our MCs are the primary way that we partner with the Holy Spirit in to further the mission of God in our area.
EACH MISSIONAL COMMUNITY WILL:
- Be led by a team of committed leaders dedicated to shepherding, equipping, and organizing their community into mission.
- Grow in their understanding and application of the Gospel
- To be the church throughout the week by living out the rhythms of a family on mission together (story formed, listen, celebrate, eat, bless, recreate)
- Identify, equip, and release new leaders to begin new missional communities.
How To Get Involved
Come to one of our worship services
Like our Facebook Page
Email us @ TheExchangeSemo@gmail.com
Update: Originally the wrong email as on this post. If you’ve emailed us before and didn’t get an answer, please use the address above. Thanks!
A while Back Seth McBee, of Soma Communities and the GCM Collective, wrote an article entitled, “A Story of a Gospel Community.” Read how God used him to start a missional community, engage many neighbors, reach some for Christ, and send them out as disciples.
“In two weeks, in a suburban town outside of Seattle, we’ll celebrate God’s grace and the Spirit’s work through baptizing a new disciple of Jesus. This is the story of how a neighborhood can look like the book of Acts, where disciples are made and we teach and preach from house-to-house, an example of how to make disciples in our sphere of influence… in today’s context.
We moved into our housing development 7 1/2 years ago, and for the first 6 years, we didn’t know anyone who didn’t live next to us. I’m serious. I didn’t know the guy across the street. By the way, his name is Trevor, and he’s getting baptized in my backyard. But, for the first 6 years, the extent of our reaching-out to our neighbors was leading a youth group and handing out bibles door-to-door and singing Christmas carols in the dark because people shut off their lights on us. Sometime while standing in the cold singing ‘O Come All Ye Faithful,’ I started to think, ‘Maybe we need a different modus operandi for bringing the gospel to my neighbors.’…” Read More on How God turned everything around here
This is a pretty good video about the problem of Church being inward focus instead of being outward focused. How should we live as Christians? What should be the focus of our churches? It’s worth a watch.
Video Found here
- Host An Easter Egg Hunt. Get together with your small group or Missional Community and hold a neighborhood Easter Egg hunt. If you have connecting lawns (i.e. without fences) talk to your neighbors on either side of you and make arrangements to hide eggs on their lawns as well. Use mostly plastic eggs with Candy inside, but you could also have some hard boiled eggs as well. Send flyers out to all the neighborhood families with Kids 2 weeks in advance.
- Have an Easter barbecue. On the Saturday before Easter, invite people over for the first barbecue of the year. Have games like washers, Hill Billy golf, beanbag toss, etc. for the kids and adults to play.
- Have an Easter brunch. On Easter invite your neighbors to come over Sunday at noon for Egg bake casserole.
- Create Easter Snack Baskets For Your Neighbors. Especially if your neighbors don’t have children or grand children, they might not have much reason to get Easter Candy. Make a little gift bag for each house on the block and hand them out with a simple message, “Happy Easter from the _________Family.”
Now if you noticed I didn’t say much about overt evangelism in any of the above suggestions. That can be done. Yet, your initial goal might just be to get to know your neighbors and to create a greater sense of community in your neighborhood. Depending on where you are with building trust and friendship with your neighbors, you might want to add some Gospel elements into any of the above suggestions.
- With an Easter egg hunt, you could hide some resurrection eggs amongst the kids. Mark each Resurrection egg with a Cross. When the hunt is over, gather all the kids afterwards and talk about each item that they found. Make sure you trade a great piece of candy for the Resurrection eggs.
- Share an Easter story book or video with the children to share the real meaning of Easter. This is also a great time to give the parents a break by providing them snakes and drinks. Get to know the parents while the kids are busy with the story and supervised in the other room.
- Decorate Easter cookies. Bake plenty of Easter themed sugar cookies. Have the traditional eggs, ducks, and bunnies, but also crosses and any other biblical Easter cookie shapes you can find. Talk about how each one connects to Easter.
- Do an Easter craft. Decorate crosses, foam door hangers, wreaths or create your own resurrection scenes. There are some great resources for doing crafts and telling the Easter message.
- Hand out age appropriate Easter tracts, books or videos.
I hope this helps you take a step towards building relationships with your neighbors and possibly witnessing to the love of Christ. It almost goes without saying, but you can always invite your neighbors or friends to church Good Friday or Sunday Morning. These days are often some of the most compelling and evangelist sermons of the year and often have cool experiential elements as well in many churches. Whatever you do, do it prayerfully and know that God’s working through it.
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Picture found here
Our Church Plant just started our third missional community. We had a few neighbors join us as well as a woman who just joined our church plant from our parent church. Our MC evening included a meal, some wine, and the Story of God. I’ve partied numerous times with these neighbors. Since they know I’m a pastor, I’ve tried to be very conscious of not doing anything that would make them feel uncomfortable with me. So out of all the times we’ve hung out, we’ve only prayed once before a meal.
Yet here we were, the second night of our meeting, and I offered to pray before the meal. I tried to use the least “Churchy” tone and language possible. I just spoke as if God was in the room, nodding His head, listening to me. We ate, read and talked about The Story. As we ended the evening, I remembered that God was Great so I didn’t have to be in control. I remembered that he already brought these people to hear his Story. He engaged them greatly in our dialogue, and it was time to ask God to work in their lives. So as we were ending, I asked, “Before we go, is there anything you are going through that we can pray for?” Everyone asked for something to be prayed for.
The next day one of our neighbors came over. Her prayers, which dealt with conflict with a few different people, were all answered the very next day. We rejoiced over God’s goodness with our friend and neighbor. My wife and I rejoiced even more that evening as we saw her praise God on Facebook and speaking of how the amazing ways He was working in her life. Her experience and her witness would never have been possible without prayer.
Picture found here
Millions of people are getting ready to watch the Super Bowl this Sunday. Personally, I’m not a huge football fan. Usually the Super Bowl is the only game I watch all year, but even though I don’t love the game, I love hanging out with people. The commercials and the food are always good as well. Yet can one use the Super Bowl as a chance to witness?
Here are a few things to think about being Missional with the Super Bowl:
- Don’t hijack the Super Bowl. Don’t have a bible study during the half-time show or the commercial breaks. People aren’t going to appreciate a bait and switch, especially if it means missing things something they really enjoy on Super Bowl Sunday.
- Host a Superbowl party and invite some unchurched people to get to know them better. Also invite at least 2 or 3 members of your Missional Community so that relationships are formed between both groups. This will make it easier to invite them to join your MC for the Story later.
- Make it better. If you’ve been invited to a Super Bowl party already, how can you “Bring the better wine” as Jeff Vanderstelf often says? Bring the best food or drinks. Be the biggest helper to the host. How can you make things better for everyone so that people are glad that the Christians showed up at the party?
- Listen to others. As you discuss sports, the commercials, and life, listen to the stories others are telling. They will give you clues to where the Gospel can be spoken into their lives.
- See this Sunday as an opportunity to serve. Ask the host if they need you to show up early to help set up. Be quick to pitch in as needs arise, and stay to help clean when the party is over.
- Pray. If you’re hosting, share a quick prayer of thanks for the food and all your friends. Pray before, during, and after, that God might show his love thorough you and that relationships and trust might be built.
Any other suggestions?
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Picture found here along with some great Super Bowl appetizers
In luke 10, Jesus sends out the Seventy Two into the villages of the surrounding countryside to prepare people to meet Jesus. Before they go, Jesus gives them some instructions on what they should do. Remember how he sent them out? What was his first instruction? He sent them out, two-by-two.
It’s odd that Jesus sent out the Seventy Two in pairs to share the gospel, yet we usually see witnessing and evangelism as a solo experience. We see sharing the faith as our duty or burden that is seems so difficult that we never actually do it, or are not very successful at it. Maybe the reason we aren’t great in witnessing to Christ is that we try to go it alone.
Our Missional Communities are not just support groups for individual missionaries trying to accomplish their individual missions, but they are a group of people who are called to be on mission together. In our MCs, our most successful witnesses are ones that don’t go it alone but invite other Christians on the mission. The sending of the Seventy two shows us that this was Christ’s intention. Now we don’t necessarily need to split into groups of two in order to reach people successfully. But we increase our chances as we reach out in groups.
Some of our members continually try to reach their friends and coworkers and eventually invite them to come to participate in the Story. Yet, they end up not getting very far. I often wonder if it is simply too intimidating to come to a get-together when you only know one or two people who will be there. It gets even more intimidating when you add religion to the evening.
What if we introduced everybody we were trying to reach to other members of our MC and church? Some of our members do this. They invite the people their trying to reach, and another Christian couple from their MC, out to dinner a couple times. Others throw parties regularly and invite their MC members and also the people they are trying to reach so everyone gets to know each other over a number of months. Then when it comes time to invite them to the Story, they already know a number of people there and aren’t afraid of not knowing anyone.
Don’t go it alone. Witness with the help of others.
Consider the following questions and challenges:
- Who have you been trying to reach recently?
- Have you introduced them to other member of your MC?
- Who in your MC would connect well with the person/people you want to reach?
- How can you introduce them? What kind of event, party, dinner, hang out, or entertainment would both parties feel comfortable in?
- Make plans to introduce these two groups in the next 2 weeks?
Picture found here
Halloween is a great time to meet new neighbors. If you have kids, you have the permission to go door-to-door and introduce yourself to your neighbors. If you don’t have kids, many neighbors will come to you seeking sugary candy. Yet you can give them something much better, friendship. How can you bless your neighbors this Halloween?
Here are some thoughts on how you can make Halloween serve Gospel purposes of getting to know your neighbors:
- In the week before, Have a Community Pumpkin carving party at your house. You can even have all the kids judge the pumpkins and give out prizes. Have some games, snacks, and beverages available.
- Halloween is important to kids. Make sure to hand out candy. Turn some lights on so kids know you’re home and so parents know you’re welcoming.
- Buy some great candy and don’t be stingy with it. When I was a kid, I knew who gave out the full candy bars and who gave out the grandma candy that tasted like rotten peanut butter.
- Make a big deal about the kids’ costumes. Have fun and make them feel special when they come to your door.
- In many places, including Jackson this year, it’s going to be pretty cold. What can you do to help freezing parents and children warm up? How about free hot Apple Cider or Hot Chocolate? In addition to free drinks, do you have a portable bonfire pit? Set it up in the front yard and invite people to sit down and warm up before they move on to the next street.
- Why just hand out Candy? Give them a little toy from a dollar or party store. Glowsticks or bracelets would be a great hit!
- Learn the names of any of the adults that come by. Ask them where they live and make a little small talk. Try to remember the names of any kids that you see playing in the neighborhood as well. Write down the names and addresses of the people you meet so you can remember them later.
- How are you going to follow-up with the people you meet? How about handing out invitations and having a Halloween after party for the Adults to have some festive adult beverages and snacks? Or, how about inviting people to a party on the following weekend?
- Create a community facebook page and hand out invitations to everyone who comes by.
- Team up with the neighbors you know. Be the really fun groups of houses so that you draw more people down your street.
- Go trick or treating with at least one other family and pick up more in your group as you walk along. It’s a great opportunity to get to know mom’s and dads better as you walk along.
- Decorate a little so kids think your house looks fun and inviting. Don’t go overboard and get too scary or parents might not be happy and the kids might not stick around long enough to talk.
- Invite your Missional Communities to join you in handing out candy, going trick-or-treating, or anything you’re doing on Halloween. You’ll have a greater chance of connecting with other neighbors with a couple more people by your side.
No matter what you do this Halloween, pray that God might open doors to good conversations and friendships and that, through His Spirit, they people might see a hint of God’s Kingdom and His love.
If you have any other ideas, feel free to comment below.
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Picture found here