Our new church, The Exchange Community, has been meeting monthly through the summer. We’ve had three worship gatherings. We’ve had many people, who haven’t been to church in a long time, come and check us out. We are now taking that next step of faith by starting a weekly worship gathering on September 8th at the Creative Edge.
Through the summer we talked about the three values of a GCM Collective church:
What is The Gospel?
The Mission of God.
Unfortunately, we had audio problems and so we don’t have a video for our messages on the Gospel and Mission.
We will talk on September 8th on Why a New Church? We will talk about why in, of all places, South East Missouri, do we need a new church? You’ll get an understanding of the come-as-you are culture that we’re trying to create. You’ll see what makes this new church community distinct amongst the other churches in our communities. You’ll also see why this new type of church is needed.
Please pray for us as we start this new church to reach many more people with the love and message of Jesus Christ.
Check out and like our Facebook page.
Check out other posts about The Exchange Community:
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!
We’ve been gathering in our Missional Communities for over a year now. God’s been doing some great things through those MCs. We believe faith grows in motion and that the Christian life is best lived out together in Gospel Communities on Mission. Yet we feel like we’re ready to take that next step in planting a church. Starting this Sunday, June 23, we’re going to have our first corporate worship gathering.
What’s Behind the Name?
We chose the name, The Exchange Community, because it is central to the message of Jesus. The Apostle Paul says,
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” ~2 Cor 5:21
In other words, Jesus traded places with us. The sinless son of God, the prince of the universe, gave up everything he had. He became one of us. He experienced our hardships, guilt and pain when he hung on a cross to die for our sins. He stood in the place of Judgment to pay for all our mistakes. We then, through faith in Jesus, step into his place. Everything that belongs to the Son of God becomes ours! Even though we lived messed up lives and daily make mistakes and do the wrong thing, Jesus paid for it all. Now when God looks at us he sees his Son, whom he loves. He sees someone who is accepted, approved of, and loved just as much as if we were Jesus himself.
Now then, we then strive to also make an exchange in our lives. Since he has shown us such great love, we want to love in return. We want to be a community who follows in Jesus’ ways and who loves as he loves as we exchange our dreams for the God’s dream to see all people become his children once more.
Location and Time
We are starting out having Monthly Gatherings throughout the Summer. We are meeting at the Creative Edge at 9 a.m. on the following dates:
- July 28th
- August 25th
We hope to start a weekly service after Labor Day.
Don’t depend our you GPS or your Phone to find your way to the Creative Edge. Their Address is not recognized by Google maps or any GPS I’ve found. You can follow this link to a map for the Creative Edge, even though they have the address wrong. Because of this I also created the map on the right you can follow. Enterprise is about a half mile south of Exit 105 on Interstate 55.
We have invited a number of unchurch or dechurched people to attend our worship services. Some of them have been involved in our Missional Communities. Others have not. Please pray that all who have been invited come and that they experience the love and presence of Jesus.
Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/theExchangeCommunity
What do you think of when you hear the word, “Church”? Chances are you think of a buildings with steeples, organs, praise bands, hymns, liturgy, sacraments and sermons. When we think of the word, Church, our minds usually jump to an activity that happens during an hour on Sunday morning. So what is the Church, and what are we called to do?
Gathering around Word and Sacrament – According to the Augsburg Confession, The Christian church is “the assembly of all believers among whom the gospel is purely preached and the holy sacraments are administered according to God’s word” (Kolb, Ac VII, 1). These are the “Marks of the Church”. When we gather publicly, we gather around God’s preached word and the sacraments.
- Holy community – The greek word we translate as church means, “Assembly”. Some claim the work of the church only happens then when we assembly around the Word and Sacraments. However, In the Large Catechism, Luther calls the church a “Holy Community” “Holy Christian People” (Kolb, LC II, 48,49). He says this is the correct translation of what the creed means by, “Communion of saints.” The church is more than an assembly, we’re a people, and as a people we gather to receive God’s gifts and to praise him. Yet we also are a community that has a mission to be a priesthood, to proclaim God’s praises, to call others to God’s light (1 Peter 2:2-10)
- A Body, a family, – Scripture describes the Church as a body and family and as gathering something more regular than a weekly thing (1 Cor 12:12ff, Ro 12:4-7, Eph 2:19, Acts 2:42-47). The purpose of the church service and church workers is, in part, to equip us for living the Christian life (Eph 4: 11 ff). It is to help us in our love for God, Love for neighbor, and witness to the world.
While what we do on Sunday morning is part of being the church, we often focus on the corporate worship as being the only thing of importance at the cost of the rest of the Christian life.
Why We Won’t Be Launching A Service Any Time Soon
- We want to spend our time and energy on reaching the Lost. The goal of this new church is to reach people for Christ and to disciple them in the faith so that they reach and disciple others. If we launch too soon, the church service is going to become central. Everyone, even non-christians recognize that a weekly gathering is an activity of the Christian. For most, it’s the only activity and mark of a Christian’s life. We want our energy and passion to focus on reaching the lost. If we launch too soon, the majority of our energy will have to go into a service rather than the mission.
- We need discipleship structures in place so we have enough leaders to disciple a large influx of attenders that is typical of a launching a service. We have been working hard to create a new kind of church. If we don’t have the disciples/leaders in place to help disciple new members, our identity will soon become watered down and new Christians will fall into a passive understanding of the Christian life (i.e. “Jesus/the church is here to serve me and I’m here to serve me too” or “Being Christian just means I sit here an hour on Sunday morning”)
- We Don’t want our DNA watered down. As i mentioned above, there is usually a large influx of attenders when a new church launches a public worship service, many of these people are disgruntled church hopping Christians. You need a DNA strong enough that it remains primary and doesn’t get replaced by what your visitors expect to receive from church. It would be a great shame if after all this work, we launch a church that ends up being filled with people of the same mentality where only 20% want to help in any way and 80% are largely passive. It would be even a greater shame if these people we all just transferred from another congregation.
- We want to see people coming to Christ before we start a service. In the New Testament, churches are started as a result of people responding to the Gospel. If we start a service before we start seeing conversions, the service again will become about us and our wants and desires rather than about reaching the lost. Unchurched people have more relationships with unchurched people than those who are faithful church goers. The more people we can win for Christ before the launch, the more unchurched people we can invite through them.
The purpose of this is not to give an exhaustible definition of the church. Rather it is simply to describe a couple of the dimensions of church that are pertinent to why we would put off holding a weekly service. If you have any thoughts on what could be included in what the church is or in the reasons why we should or shouldn’t put off having a service, feel free to leave a comment.
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.
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:
- Who are the people you know? What networks of relationships, friends, hobbies and…
- What people group (network/neighborhood) are you feeling called to reach?
- Who are the prospects who’s hearts God had been opening? Who will help us accomplish this work?
- Who are the people that have the potential to open up a wider network of prospects?
- 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:
- Who of an existing MC feels called to lead a missional community? Have they been mentored?
- Who does the sending MC feel is able and qualified to lead?
- Who has a passion to reach a certain people group?
Step 3 – Select a Mission
Things to consider:
- The leader (and the core) selects a mission to a specific neighborhood, people group, etc, usually connected to the relationships built up with prospects.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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:
- Gather weekly with your core to pray for the MC and the prospects.
- 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:
- This is usually 4-10 weeks out depending on how much past work has been done in building relationships with prospects.
- 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:
- Create a weekly rhythm of gathering on the same night in the same place.
- 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:
- Involve apprentice leaders in telling scenes from The Story and/or leading the dialogue as well as any further bible studies.
- Involve apprentice leaders in choosing and scheduling service and social events.
- 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.
- Each leader and apprentice leader should attend Leadership training.
- Each leader should attend leader huddle and have a Coach.
Step 9 – Create a Rhythm of Serving and Celebrating
Things to consider:
- Serve within the context of your mission, that is, always connect your serving to the people you’re trying to reach and disciple.
- Continue the activities from Step 1.
Multiplication and Reproduction
Step 10 – Plan for Multiplication
Things to consider:
- Talk from the very beginning about the purpose of the group is to multiply and to reach others.
- Officially or unofficially mentor and train new leaders.
- Teach each member how to share the Gospel through telling the Biblical Story.
- Regularly rehurse among the leadership how to share the Gospel Story
Step 11 – Reproduction and Sending
Things to consider:
- Reproduction happens when an apprenticed leader is trained and ready.
- Sometimes that apprenticed leader is released with 2-3 others to start a new MC.
- Sometimes the existing leader takes 2-3 members and starts a new MC and the apprentice takes over.
- 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.
- Other MCs and the Church celebrate the birth of new MC through a commissioning event with the church service.
- 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.
The church that we are working with Jesus to plant is pretty void of programs. We want it to be as incarnational as possible where we are in the lives of others. We want to demonstrate the person of Christ through our presence and participation for the good in the lives of those around us. The incarnation is when Jesus took on human flesh, became one of us, and moved into the neighborhood. We too want to enter the stories of those around us and change them for the good by pointing to the one who changed and redeemed our story.
Listen to this five-minute Verge Network video from Michael Frost entitled, “How to Listen to your neighborhood”:
As we start planting Missional Communities, listening is a very important activity in determining how to reach and bless those we seek to disciple. As you think of your prospects, Have you listened to them?
- What is their story?
- What do they take joy in?
- What do they struggle with?
- Where do they need help?
- What will it take for them to succeed, be happy, keep their family together, feel worthwhile, etc?
- What do they think they need to have in life and what, if lost, do they feel would free them?
How do you feel you can incarnate their world? In what ways can we as an MC enter into their story and bless them and show them Jesus? In what ways can we, as an entire church, do the same?
Watch this video from Francis Chan,
- According to Chan, why was the church formed?
- Why do we need the church community as Christians?
- What are the things we substitute in our spirituality instead of the Christian life?
- Why do you think we focus on other things than mission?
Watch this video from Jeff Vanderstelt on Rhythms of a missional community,
Think about these questions:
- According to Jeff, how does Peter lay out our witness as a Christian community?
- Who is a worship leader in a church?
- What are the Gospel rhythms that Jeff shares? How is each rhythm informed by the Gospel? How can we use them to share and show the gospel?
- Note how some of the rhythms were present in Jeff’s stories. How were Nikki and Clay reached?
For my Core Group, please continue to read the Gospel-Centred life this week with chapter 2, A life for others. Read it, return to it, live it, and we’ll talk about it next week.
For some other great videos on Missional living and Church planting visit the Verge Network
Watch the above video from Jeff Vanderstelt and think about these questions?
- According to Jeff, what is the purpose of life as Christians? How is that different than the way you have viewed life?
- How does Jeff’s explanation of missional communities add clarity to what we can and should do with our church plant?
- Who does the work of the church? What does Gospel-fluent mean?
- Do you agree with Jeff that the church is usually like an orphanage? What could pastors and individuals do to change the way people grow in the faith?
For my Core Group, read the first chapter of The Gospel-Centred Life, A life for God