Category Archives: Missional Training

The Big Picture: The New Testament and The Mission of God

The other day I shared the conference audio from Calvin Theological Seminary’s conference: A Missional Reading of Scripture.  The video here seems to be an extra that N.T. Wright did in the evening at Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids, MI.  If you don’t have the time or interest to listen to the Conference Audio, you should still check out this talk.

Disclaimer:  I think what Wright has to say is great concerning the Mission of God and is spot on.  However, I do not agree with what Wright says about The Fall and who Adam and Eve in the Q & A at the end of this talk.  A literal Adam and Eve and a Fall into is essential to understanding the Gospel. 

Questions:

  1. What did you think the Bible was primarily about before you heard this talk?  How did this change your view?
  2. What surprised you about this talk?
  3. How does this help you understand the full bible Story?

Great Missional Community Resource: Soma Fast Track Training

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

The Story of God Training Videos One & Two

2. Vision for Missional Communities // Jeff Vanderstelt

Notes & Assignments

Session 1 Audio

Session 2 Audio

3. Gospel, Power & Purpose // Jeff Vanderstelt

Notes & Assignments

Session 1 Audio

Session 2 Audio

4. Gospel DNA // Jeff Vanderstelt & Abe Meysenburg 

Notes & Assignments

Session 1 Audio

Session 2 Audio

5. Gospel in Everyday Rhythms // Jeff Vanderstelt

Notes & Assignments

Session 1 Audio

Session 2 Audio

6. Gospel Fluency // Jeff Vanderstelt

Notes & Assignments

7. Creating a Disciple-Making Enviroment // Jeff Vanderstelt

Notes & Assignments

Session 1 Audio

Session 2 Audio

8. Gospel Shepherding // Abe Meysenburg 

DNA Guide // Your Story, God’s Story

Session 1 Audio

Session 2 Audio

9. Missional Community Covenant // Jeff Vanderstelt  

MC Covenant Example

Session 1 Audio

Session 2 Audio

10.  Spirit Led Life // Jeff Vanderstelt 

Notes & Assignments 

Session 1 Audio

Session 2 Audio

Session 3 Audio

11.  Spiritual Warfare // Jeff Vanderstelt

Session 1 Audio

Session 2 Audio

Here’s a link to all of their materials

Picture found here along with the post: Ten Reasons Missional Communities Fail

5 Ways to Be Missional This Labor Day

Labor day is one of those days of rest and rejuvenation.  For our Nation its a yearly rhythm of rest that we all enjoy, but can also be leveraged for gospel purposes.  Below are 5 ways you can be missional this Labor Day

  1. Hold a neighborhood barbeque.  Invite everyone on the block.  If you’ve never done this in your neighborhood, don’t ask them to bring all the food.  Partner with a few members of your Missional Community or Small group to pay for the meal.  For those who have participated in the past, encourage them to partner with you in bringing a side dish to share.
  2. If you own a boat or have a place at the lake, Labor Day is a great day for a little cross-pollination.  Invite a couple from your Missional Community and invite another couple who are unchurched or dechurched.  It’s a great time to introduce friends and build trust between your Christian community and those who don’t yet believe.
  3. Invite your unchurched friends to join you and another Christian in Something you love.  If you love to camp or fish.  If you just take the opportunity of Labor Day to hit up a good matinée and some lunch, invite unchurched this is another great opportunity for cross-pollination and trust building.
  4. Show care to first responders.  A lot of people have Labor Day off.  Some work it every year.  Show love to your first responders.  Bring by food or gift packages for your firemen or police officers.  Talk to the Fire chief or police chief and see if your Missional Community, Small Group, or church can set up some grills and serve them a meal.
  5. If school doesn’t start for your community until after Labor Day, serve the underprivileged about to go back to school.  Pay a beautician or barber to come in and offer free haircuts.  Collect and hand out backpacks and school supplies.

 

You also might like:

6 Ways to be Missional This Superbowl

4  Ways to be Missional This Easter

9 Ways to be Missional This Thanksgiving

13 Ways to be Missional This Halloween

7 Ways to be Missional This Christmas

Picture found here

How To Disciple Someone Through Reading The Bible

So you’ve built relationships with somebody in your neighborhood or work place.  You’ve gotten to know quite a bit about them and they’re starting to consider you a friend.  You’ve had a chance to share the Gospel Story with them and they want to know more.  Now what?  Where do you go from here? 

You can always invite them to join your Missional Community in a service project to see the Christian life lived out in serving others.  Or you could invite them to join your MC in hearing the Story-Formed Way.  Yet the timing might not be right.  You might feel like this person needs a little more understanding regarding how to read, understand , respond to, or apply God’s Word.  One of the best ways you can help is to start reading the bible with them on a regular basis. Yet where do you begin?

If the person is already coming to your MC weekly, why not invite them to come 30 minutes before your gathering to read scripture with you?  You could also invite them to join you on your lunch break once a week.  Try to integrate the Bible Study into something that you’re already a part of so it doesn’t become an added “burden” to an already tight schedule. 

 

What is the Bible?

  You want to clarify what the bible is and is not.   

  • The Bible is not primarily a book of rules telling you what you should and shouldn’t do, though it does contain some laws and commandments.  The bible isn’t really about you.  It’s about God and about what he has done for you. 
  • The Bible isn’t a book showcasing a number of heroes that you should copy.   The Bible does, at times, present people that we should try to emulate.  Yet at the same time, many of those people aren’t heroes at all.  When you look at their lives, you see that even the best people recorded in the Bible have many problems and make many mistakes, sometimes even on purpose. 
  • The Bible is primarily a story about God and His love.   As Sally Lloyd Jones says, “Every Story Whispers His name”.  It’s all about Jesus and what he’s done for us.  (Luke 24: 25-27, John 5:39)

Method

Before we begin to read the Bible, we want to pray that God would give us His Holy Spirit to understand, trust, and put into practice what the Bible says.  Without His Spirit we cannot understand or believe the truth of God, nor can we put into practice what it says. 

When we read any passage of the bible, maybe the best way of understanding what God is trying to teach you in the passage is to look at the verse, within its context (the surrounding paragraphs, chapters, and even the particular book itself) and ask questions concerning what the text reveals to us about:   

  1. Who is God (His Character and nature)? 
  2. What has He done, or has promised to do (particularly through Christ’s person and work)?
  3. Who are we (both apart from God and as a result of who God is and what he’s done)?
  4. How do we live now (In light of who God is, what he’s done, and who He’s made us to be)?  

 

Additional questions to ask each other might be:  

  1. When was the text written?
  2. By whom and to whom was the text written?
  3. Why was it written?
  4. Does it reveal God’s law, (how we should live) or Gospel, (what God does for us)?
  5. How can this text be applied to me?
  6. What is striking you about this text?
  7. Does anything in this text shock you?
  8. When might we use this passage or retell this story?
  9. What can I thank God for?
  10. What promises of God can I trust in?
  11. How does this text point to Jesus?

 

Things to have with you 

  • A Study Bible
  • Pen/Pencil
  • Highlighter
  • Bookmark
  • Notepad

Resources 

How to Disciple Children for Mission with Paul Tripp

Watch this challenging short video from Paul Tripp about shaping your children into disciples by leading them into thinking through their lives as Mission.

In many ways, Paul Tripp is simply telling us to talk about the faith and its implications with our children.  Yet its also a reminder that everything that God has gifted us with is an opportunity to witness to Christ’s love.  It is a truth we need to learn and live out so that we can teach it to our children and show them how to live for God’s glory.

Questions:

  • What do you do to disciple your children?
  • What can you change to take the first, or next step, to help shape you child in the ways of Jesus?
  • Who else, besides you, needs to hear this message?   How can you share it with them and help each other become more effective at influencing your children for Christ?

Challenges:

  • Make a list of what you own.  Make a separate list of what your children have.  Have a discussion with your spouse and children on how you can use those things for God’s kingdom.
  • Make a list of the people you know  Make a list of the people your children know.  Put a cross next to each person you know are Christian.  Begin to pray, with your kids, each night for all the people who you know are not Christians.  Then discuss how you can show and share the faith with them.

Watch some more great videos from the Verge Network

7 Ways To Be Missional This Christmas

Christmas is one of the most magical times of the year.  While there are a lot of distractions from its true meaning, Christmas is still a great time to share the message of God’s love through Jesus Christ.  Below are seven ways you can reach out to others and show God’s love this Christmas.

1. Give gifts to people who really need help. 

  • There are scores of organizations that help you give a Christmas Gift in the name of Christ.  We do a giving tree at our church and collect toys and presents that have been request from poor parent’s for their children. Toys for Tots is another great tradition.  Let you kids help and see that Christmas isn’t about them and their presents but giving gifts because of the gift we’ve receive of Jesus and the eternal life He brings.
  • Give a Life-Giving Gift because of the Life-Giving Gift we’ve received in Jesus.  World Vision  and Living Water are great places you can give life-giving gifts of water, food, or animals to improve the lives of children across the world.  You can give a gift on behalf of another in addition or in replacement of a gift you would normally give.
  • Is there someone in your neighborhood or at work that is in need of something this Christmas?  Don’t just spend money to spend money, but if you know a need, try to fill it.

2. Give Small gifts to your Neighbors 

  • My wife loves to bake.  Every year, she makes a number of goody sacks to hand out to our neighbors.  Then we go door-to-door and hand them out to people.  It’s a great reason to knock on a neighbor’s door and spend a couple of minutes getting to know them a little better.  We just had a neighborhood bonfire last month.  When we invited one neighbor, she immediately asked if we were the people who came over and gave them cookies two years before.  She still remembered and it seemed to make it easier for her to join us because of the groundwork that was laid two years before.

3. Invite someone to your Christmas Celebration 

  • At certain times in our lives, we know people who don’t have anywhere to go on Christmas.  Some just don’t have family.  Some Just live too far away for their families to get together.  Is there someone like this in your life, Maybe a college student or an elderly neighbor?  If so, make sure you invite them to join your family for Christmas.  You don’t have to invite everyone, but if you see someone who will be alone, invite them into your family for that evening.
  • We have a Christmas Celebration every year.  Our Church has a few Church services every Christmas Eve.  We have people over  between 5 and 7 that night.   We invite anyone we know to come over for some chilli, soup, and a lot of Christmas snacks and beverages.  We invite friends who volunteer and have to be at each church service that night so that they have somewhere to go to kill some time.  But we also invite some neighbors to stop by if they like.   Surprisingly, a number of them do.  We then reserve Christmas Morning just for family.

4. Bless those who can’t celebrate Christmas

  • Think about the Firefighters, Police officers, Gas Station Attendant who have to work on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning.  Bring them a gift basket of donuts or Christmas goodies to bless them when they are probably feeling low from being away from their families.  Maybe even leave them a Christmas card and a written message about Jesus’ birth.   For more check out this article.

5. Rehearse the Christmas Story

  • Peter says we must always be ready to give an answer for our faith anytime someone asks (1 pe 3:15).  At Christmas time, especially if you’re showing love in unexpected ways, people are going to ask you why.  We have to be ready.  In our Church plant we are always rehearsing the Gospel Story through the major themes of Creation -> Fall -> Redemption -> Restoration.  It’s real easy to be ready to tell a shortened version of this story with an emphasis on the expectation of the messiah and the birth of Jesus.  Don’t just tell people “This is the day Jesus was born.”  Explain to them the whole story and why Jesus’ birth is important.  If not, people won’t understand the message.

6. Invite people to your Christmas Church Services

  • As Christians, we should be in the habit of inviting people into our lives before we invite them to church.  Yet if there is any day when unchurched or dechurch people are willing to go to church it might be Christmas.  During the Christmas season, many are hurting and longing for something more.  They’re searching to reclaim some magic in the world.  If you know someone who isn’t going to be going to church, invite them to join you.  Pick them up, sit together, and talk about the message, the music, and anything else that can further the conversation.

7. Gather your MC and sing Christmas Carols

  • I was hesitant to put this one down.  I’m not sure if caroling is really helpful in the Christian witness.  It seems a bit intrusive like cold-call evangelism.  Yet, I do believe this could be done right.  I think elderly people would be more accepting of this gift of music.  It’s something they experienced or participated in as a youth and is likely to bring warm feelings of nostalgia.  The other group I think would benefit this is if you went caroling at people’s homes that you’ve been sharing life with through your Missional Community.  If enough ground work has already been laid, Caroling could be a great way to sing the Gospel message and show love, yet not seem too strange.

Related:

6 Ways to be Missional with the Super Bowl

4 Ways to be Missional this Easter

9 Ways to be Missional this Thanksgiving

13 Ways to be Missional this Halloween

 

Missional Training # 19 – Sharing the Gospel…with a little help from your friends

Sharing the Gospel or inviting someone to a church service, missional community, or a small group can often feel intimidating.  Christians all know that we’re called to make disciples of all nations, to be witnesses of the Gospel to the ends of the earth.   We know we’re called to be the light of the world, the salt of the earth.  We even want to be effective at this mission.  We want to see or family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers know the life and love they can have in Jesus. Yet, at times we don’t know where to begin.

We have all  seen or heard about a lot of high-pressure evangelist encounters that seemed more like an argument than a sharing of the hope we have in Jesus.  Maybe you’ve actually been the one pressuring someone else to come to become a Christian.   Or maybe you’ve sat there and heard a friend or coworker vent about someone who was “trying to push their faith” on them.   Perhaps, you were just minding your own business and some well-meaning Christians kept pushing tracts in your face, forcing conversation, and if you, a fellow Christian, felt uncomfortable.  We know we don’t want to reach out that way, but we are left unsure of how to go about it.

For most of us we have one big problem with evangelism.  We fear others.  We’re afraid of what people might think of us after we mention the name of Jesus or the word, Church.  We are afraid of what might happen when we step on a stranger’s door step.  We’re even a bit afraid that they might view us as that angry judgmental person.  Perhaps we have all these fears and negative emotions because we view evangelism in the wrong way.

Tim Chester and Steve Timmis suggest that evangelism is actually meant to be a team activity, that we’re meant to share and show the faith together, over time, through relationships.  We recognize here that not everyone shares the same gifts.  Chester and Timmis suggest that there are a few ways that everyone can be involved in witnessing: Building relationships, Sharing the Gospel, and Introducing to Community 

In their book, Total Church, they share this diagram to show how multiple Christians can be involved in witnessing to one person:

Building Relationships

As Christians we should always be interested in knowing new people and getting to know the unchurch people around us.  Especially in a church plant, it is essential that all of our member are regularly starting new relationships with people on the fringes of their life, and depening relationships with the unchurched people they know.  There are people who are extremely gifted at meeting new people and starting relationships with them.

Sharing the Gospel

When we live the Christian life in front of an unbeleiving world, people will take notive of the way we love, sacrafice, and serve and will ask us of our faith.  All Christians all called to be ready to answer when someone asks the reason of our hope.  When we have opportunity, and the Spirit moves us, we’re called to speak.  Yet, for some this come much easier.  Some people can turn everyday conversation into a exhortation to beleive in Jesus.

Introducing to Community

Most of us have people in our lives that are unchurched or dechurched.  The difficult thing is trying to figure out how to get them to church or to sit down and talk about Jesus in a productive way.  Yet, often times all we have to do is to introduce them to the wider community.  It’s hard to just start up a religious conversation and it seem natural.  Its even difficult to simply get someone to agree to go to church, yet its pretty easy to ask them to a barbeque or a movie.  Somepeople are naturals at connecting people.  Someone great in this area might host great parties or plan some great events or they might be simply good at inviting a unchurched friend and beleiving friends to the same place.  The more relationships built, the better, because the unchurched person sees the Gospel play out in the lives of Christians.  There is also, then, a greater chance that the unchurched person might really connect with one of the Christians, which can open the door to greater Gospel converstaions.

When evangelism becomes a community project, it becomes easy and fun.  Everyone has a part to play.  No matter your gift.  God can use you.  He’s save you for this very purpose.  Trust in his Spirit to lead you.

Questions:

  • Who do you know that is far from Jesus?  How can you start to build relationships with them?
  • If you’re not gifted at sharing the faith, who do you need to introduce them to?
  • What kinds of events or settings can you imagine your unchurch and your church friends mingling at?
  • What strand or strands of evangelism are you most comfortable and gifted with?  What other types of Christians do you need to partner with to help reach your friends?

Read more about outreach in missional communities here

Images found here

Missional Training #18 – Preparing to Lead the Story-Formed Way Pt. 2

Two of our Missional Communities are starting the Story-Formed Way this week.  The Story-Formed Way is a 10 week discipleship course  consisting of interactive storytelling and dialogue through the major narratives of Scripture from Creation to Restoration.  Below are some tips on how to prepare to lead the Story.

 Preparation

At the beginning of the lesson, there are big picture points that focus on the gist of what the lesson is leading towards.  That is for your knowledge as the leader.  Read through the Story out loud multiple times.  Learn it.  Ingest it. Meditate on it. Think of the tone in which the characters would be speaking.  You want to story tell, not just read a paper to people.  However, remember that the Story has been crafted to accurately convey the biblical story.  Don’t change the words.  If you misspeak, reiterate what you meant by saying what was written. 

  • To prepare the manuscript I’m telling the story from, I find it helpful to underline and highlight places where I want to emphasize something important that appears in the dialogue. 
  • Look through the questions at the end and try to answer them yourself.  If there are no answers provided for a specific question, make sure you at least think of what that answer could be. 
  • When it comes to the dialogue, I look over the questions before hand and try to answer them myself.  The leaders guide provides answers, but I try to pinpoint the key answers.  If I can think of any others, sometimes I write them down as well.  If the question is difficult or unclear, sometimes I’ll write down an alternative question just in case people don’t understand the question that was written

 Setting the Tone

  • The contents of the bible were originally told, retold, and passed down from person to person, from generation to generation, orally.  Ancient Jews, as well as the church up until the 16th century, all learned the biblical story communally through story telling.  This didn’t just leave them to try to make sense of the bible on their own, but they had a whole community to help interpret the bible and to retain the accuracy of its telling and interpretation.   Two-thirds of the Bible is a narrative.  One of the benefits of learning the narrative is that it opens the door to understand everything else in scripture. 
  • I often relate the Story to being a smorgasbord or a potluck.  If only one or two people bring a dish, it isn’t much fun.  Likewise, every voice is valuable and contributes.  Our discussion is a smorgasbord.  The more variety of voices and perspective, the greater the feast. 
  • Ancient Jewish people would say that there are “70 Facets” to the Bible.  It was like a giant diamond with so many facets that at every turn you get a slightly different perspective and insight into the diamond.  Likewise, One can study the biblical story over a lifetime and still learn new insights.  It’s  like an onion.  You can keep pulling it back and find new layers of meaning.  Each person present is like that facet of a diamond that the Holy Spirit uses to teach us of the beauty within God’s Story. 
  • Relax and have fun.  Make sure that the tone matches the other activities done that night so it seems natural.  We want sharing God’s word and applying the Gospel to each other’s lives to feel natural so when we gather officially to do that, we want it to seem like a very natural thing as well.  
  • After the first week, When you start the lesson, you can ask if someone is willing to review the last lesson or the whole story leading up to the current one.  This reinforces the themes of the greater Story of God so that they are more easily connected to the story you are covering.   Once the full story is remembered, then you go into telling that night’s story.

 

Telling the Story (This should take 2-5 minutes)

  • When telling the story, I find it helpful to have already underlined or highlighted the most important phrases that are brought up in the following dialogue.  This helps me know what is most important, and also helps me keep track of my place so I can look at people when I speak.  I practice the story 3-5 times.  I try to get to the point where I’m not reading the story, but speaking it and using the manuscript to keep me on track.  The Key is to Stick to the Story.
  • Stick to the Narrative.  Don’t interpret on the fly.  Don’t add things from future stories. 

The Dialogue

  • This is where the Story begins to come alive and shape your community.  The purpose of the dialogue is to help draw out the truths from the Story.
  • Remember set up the expectation that all answers given are to come from the night’s narrative or a past narrative in the greater Story.  If someone tries to quote Luther, Calvin, Billy Graham, Buddha, or Deepak Chopra, Joyce Meyer, etc,  say, “I don’t remember them being in the story” or “where did you hear that in the story.”  This is helpful even when someone starts saying, “I don’t think God would do that!” or “I think God is more like this…”  We’re here to learn the biblical story and his truth as the story is interpreted through the individuals of the group. 
  • If you’re leading the dialogue, you’re job is to keep discussion going through asking questions.  It is NOT you duty to answer the questions or to preach.  The Holy Spirit works through hearing the word of God.  The Spirit will work through the people present to lead the group into the truth. 
  • It is not necessary that you ask all the questions.  There’s usually too many questions to focus on.  The questions are meant to spur discussion.  Remember, this isn’t a Q and A session.  The best questions are often, “What did we learn about God in this story?”  “What did we learn about human beings?” 
  • Make sure you spend some time near the end on some life –application questions.  If the group hasn’t already naturally gone there with some of the previous questions, ask questions about how the story parallels their lives, informs their lives, is seen in aspects of their life, etc. 

Also see Preparing to Lead the Story Formed Way Pt. 1

Pictures found herehere.

Missional Training #17 – Creating Balance in Missional Communities

 

GCM VALUES

Within our Missional Communities, you can find a balance of three Core Values: Gospel, Community, and Mission. 

Gospel 

The gospel is not just the ticket to salvation; it’s the good news of a restored relationship with God, through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. This good news renews and transforms our hearts and lives. The Gospel is not only what gives us life when we become a Christian, but it is what sustains, grows, and matures our life and faith.  The Gospel is the revelation of God’s love for us, His purpose for us, and He Himself come to live and dwell in us through His Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit empowers us to believe, recreates us into His Family, the Church,  and enables us to live for Him. 

Gospel Activity in an MC is centered on the person and work of Jesus Christ revealed through scriptures.  Gospel activity includes Bible study, The Story Formed Way, praying for one another, encouraging and admonishing one another by applying the Gospel to one another’s lives. 

Community 

We were made to live in relationships.  Everybody yearns to belong, to be part of a family.  Community forms around the world through work, play, interests, geography, family, etc.  The Gospel Community is a unique community because it is created by the Gospel.  This kind of Community forms because of the common recognition that we’re all beggars, we’re all helpless before God because of sin, yet we’re all loved, accepted, and useful to him because of the work of Jesus Christ.   The Gospel can be seen and understood through this community as they live in confession, forgiveness, love, justice, mercy, gratitude and acceptance, as they cross lines of age, sex, wealth, and occupation.  The Gospel Community can only be explained because of the Gospel, and therefore leads to an inquiry and explanation of the Gospel as we live the Christian walk in everyday life together.     

Community Activity can include Shared meals, meeting new people, introducing new people to members of the MC, learning each other’s stories, celebrations, various social activities, sports, etc.   

Mission

The Christian community is created by the Gospel to show and the share the Gospel.  No healthy Christian Community can be inward focused.  Rather it is always seeking to join God’s mission through transforming its community through acts of love and the proclamation of the person and work of Christ. Because the Christian community demonstrates and validates the gospel, mission shouldn’t usually be a lone activity.   Wherever possible we want to do mission together and introduce unbelievers to the Christian community. 

Mission activity can include service projects, cleaning, fixing, building, painting structures and homes in your neighborhood.  They can include, sharing the Story of God, sharing the Gospel, offering prayer, investing in and enriching the lives of others, seeking a relationship with those you don’t know, inviting others into the lives of an MC and the Church. 

MC Development

A healthy MC has a balance of activities shaped by these values.   Yet not all MCs start this way.   For example, Many Missional Communities will have a greater emphasis on Community early on.  For most people, a growing relationship is necessary before they are willing to open up about their faith life, fears, doubts, and hopes .  A good relational foundation usually needs to be established before they are willing to trust you enough to be vulnerable in the Gospel or take risks in Mission.

As relationships are built, and trust is earned, it is time to introduce more Gospel and Mission elements. At first, you may have simply had a prayer at the beginning of a social activity and may have demonstrated small acts of kindness and service.  Over time, you’ll probably add some sort of short devotional, and find some organized way to serve others in your community.

Your end goal is that you’re spending equal time on Gospel, Community, and Mission oriented activities and events.   You’ll be going through the Story-Formed Way, the Gospel-Centred Life, or some other bible Study.  You’ll be discipling one another in all three types of activities, and you’ll be regularly and intentionally serve in your neighborhood or community. 

Remember that there is a great deal of overlap between each of these values.  While everything you can do probably has a dominant GCM value at play, usually one or both of the other values are also present as well. 

For more on GCM Values and Missional Communities check out the GCM Collective.

Steps for Launching and Reproducing Missional Communities

As we are near to launching our first two Missional Communities, I wanted to try and record a critical timeline for how Missional communities are launched and reproduced.  I recognize that not all MC’s start the same or grow at the same pace.  I still thought that putting together a template timeline might be beneficial in launching more MCs. 

Below are the steps towards launching and reproducing Missional Communities.  Each step occurs within a season of the process.  Many of these steps happen simultaneously and are not always necessarily completed before the next step begins.  

 

Sowing Seeds

Step 1- Starting and Growing Relationships

Note: As Christians we should always be engaging our unchurched family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors for the sake of establishing and growing relationships with them. The Season of Sowing Seeds and the Step of Starting and Growing Relationships is one that does not end with the launch of an MC but should be a regular Rhythm of life.

Things to consider are:

  1. Who are the people you know?  What networks of relationships, friends, hobbies and…
  2. What people group (network/neighborhood) are you feeling called to reach?
  3. Who are the prospects who’s hearts God had been opening? Who will help us accomplish this work?
  4. Who are the people that have the potential to open up a wider network of prospects?
  5. Discern who is the most open to spirituality and church.

 Preparation for A New Missional Community

 Step 2- Select Leader and 2-3 person leadership core of the Missional Community

Things to consider:

  1. Who of an existing MC feels called to lead a missional community? Have they been mentored?
  2. Who does the sending MC feel is able and qualified to lead? 
  3. Who has a passion to reach a certain people group?

Step 3 – Select a Mission

 Things to consider:

  1. The leader (and the core) selects a mission to a specific neighborhood, people group, etc, usually connected to the relationships built up with prospects. 
  2. If the leader does not yet have a core of a few Christians, including 1-2 fellow leaders, who will join him on this mission, the leader should present his mission to his MC to seek those people. 

 

Preparation for Launch

Step 4 – Heightened Intentional Outreach to the Prospects of each Core Member

 Things to consider:

  1. Schedule weekly intentional parties, social gatherings, and activities in which to engage with prospects and to introduce them to the other members of the core.  These could be large-scale parties involving all core members and many if not most of the prospects.  Mostly these events are the sharing of everyday life and activities with one or two prospects and a member of two of your core.    
  2. Regularly serve within the context you’re trying to reach.  You could assess and try to fill the need of one of your prospects or invite your prospects to serve others in the context with you. 

 Step 5 – Pray for God’s Blessings

Things to consider:

  1. Gather weekly with your core to pray for the MC and the prospects.
  2. Distribute a prospect list with first names to other members of the core so that they can be prayed for individually.

Step 6 – Set A Date for Beginning the Story-Formed Way 

 Things to Consider:

  1. This is usually 4-10 weeks out depending on how much past work has been done in building relationships with prospects. 
  2. Prayerfully discern who the “low hanging fruit” are and invite them to join you for the Story. 

Launching and MC Life

Note: While the mission and outreach aspect of the MC has been going on for some time, the MC officially starts with the beginning of The Story Formed Way

Step 7 – Launch with Beginning The Story-Formed Way   

Things to consider:

  1. Create a weekly rhythm of gathering on the same night in the same place.
  2. Decide how often you will gather for the Story and if you’ll take a break from it to celebrate or serve in that same gathering time. 

Step 8 – Mentor and be Mentored

Things to consider:

  1. Involve apprentice leaders in telling scenes from The Story and/or leading the dialogue as well as any further bible studies.  
  2. Involve apprentice leaders in choosing and scheduling service and social events.
  3. If no one is willing to be an apprentice leader, casually involve them in leading the story, praying, planning, etc. and gradually give them more responsibility.
  4. Each leader and apprentice leader should attend Leadership training.
  5. Each leader should attend leader huddle and have a Coach.

Step 9 – Create a Rhythm of Serving and Celebrating

 Things to consider:

  1. Serve within the context of your mission, that is, always connect your serving to the people you’re trying to reach and disciple.
  2. Continue the activities from Step 1. 

Multiplication and Reproduction

 Step 10 – Plan for Multiplication

Things to consider:

  1. Talk from the very beginning about the purpose of the group is to multiply and to reach others. 
  2. Officially or unofficially mentor and train new leaders.
  3. Teach each member how to share the Gospel through telling the Biblical Story.
  4. Regularly rehurse among the leadership how to share the Gospel Story

Step 11 – Reproduction and Sending

Things to consider:

  1. Reproduction happens when an apprenticed leader is trained and ready.
  2. Sometimes that apprenticed leader is released with 2-3 others to start a new MC.
  3. Sometimes the existing leader takes 2-3 members and starts a new MC and the apprentice takes over. 
  4. In the case where many members of the group were mentored simultaneously, the group then splits into as many teams are there are ready leaders to start new MCs.
  5. Other MCs and the Church celebrate the birth of new MC through a commissioning event with the church service.    
  6. These new MCs began again at Steps 1 & 2

Whether you’re a member of our Church Plant and MC or not, Please comment if you think that there’s something that is needed.  If you’d like a copy of the excel doc or the material please let me know.

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