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True Community

The Exchange Community had its second monthly gathering. The first service we talked about the Gospel. In this gathering we talked about True Community.

Our third and final monthly gathering will be August 28th at the Creative Edge.  Then we’ll start weekly gatherings starting the 8th of September.  Please pray that God would continue to grow his church and lead us in discipling those we reach.

9 Ways To Be Missional This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is two days away.  How are you going to use this day to show the love of God.  Below are 9 ways to be missional this Thanksgiving:

  1. Thanksgiving is a day of abundance.  We celebrate God’s provision for all we need for our body and life.  We celebrate this with the greatest amount of food and we celebrate with family.  Yet not everyone has family they can celebrate with.  Is there a neighbor or coworker that doesn’t have anywhere to go this year?  Jesus loved the unloved and the unlovable.  Practice Christian hospitality and invite them over.
  2. Make Thanksgiving a time of remembering the love of God.  Tell each person at the Table why you thank God that He has placed them in your life.
  3. Rather than give a quick prayer before the meal, ask people what they are thankful for this year and encorporate what they say into your prayer.
  4. Focus on the things that matter.  Thanksgiving can sometime become a time when you have to sit and talk to that relative with allegiances to different political parties or a different football team.  Don’t use this as an opportunity to start a fight.  Rather, make every conversation an opportunity to show God’s love.
  5. Don’t try to be a perfect host.  Remember, God is Gracious so you don’t have to prove yourself and God is Glorious so you don’t have to fear what others think.  Be yourself, love others, and let God control the way other’s look at you.
  6. One of the best times to grow relationships is around a dinner table, and we spend a long time around the table on Thanksgiving.  Make the most of your time with others.  Get to know them better.  Ask them about their jobs, their past, their kids, their hopes so you’ll get to know where the Gospel can speak into their lives.
  7. Get to know the Kids around the table as well.  They can often be overlooked or excluded in conversation.  Love on them and let them know your house is good place to be at.
  8. Not everyone likes sports, but if you have some people who want to watch the football game, turn it on.  Sit down and enjoy their company and get to know them better.
  9. In my house, we end up always cooking way too much and have more leftovers than what we’ll want to eat for the rest of the week.  Make sure you send some food home with your guests.  Do you have any neighbors who don’t cook?  Send them over a plate if they didn’t join you for thanksgiving.

You might also like:

4 Ways to be Missional this Easter

6 Ways to be Missional with the Super Bowl

7 Ways to be Missional this Christmas

13 Ways to be Missional this Halloween

Picture found here

A Picture of Life Around the Gospel, Community, and Mission

The other night we gathered our two Missional Communities together to do a little training and to celebrate what God has been doing through our Church planting efforts.  At the end, I shared this video from Soma communities because I wanted to remind our MCs what they were working towards, why they were reaching out, why they were sharing and stretching their lives.

Spend a few minutes of watching the video below and dream of what church could be:

  1. Oftentimes there’s a disconnect between what we read about the Church in scriptures and the church as we know it in 21st century America.  How does this video challenge you?  How does it give you hope?
  2. It takes time to plant a church and to share life in a missional community.  Much of what we do is to invite people to share life with us, by inviting them to join us in what we’re already doing throughout the week.  Still, sometimes to add something we need to let go of something.   What is keeps you from having time to share life with members of your MC, or the people you’re trying to reach?  What do you need to give up to give of yourself to this new life in Christ as His Disciple?
  3. Think of all the people in your life.  Think of the people in this town and region.  For whom is God breaking your heart?  How can you start inviting them to share life with you?
  4. Is there someone who has been discontented with the church that you can share this video with and invite them along on the mission?

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.

Transforming Community Through Community

How much does Community matter to our neighborhoods?  Watch this short video from Incommon:

None of our current Missional Communities are in “At risk” neighborhoods.  While MC West is maybe interacting with people in poverty as they meet in Jackson Park, neither of our initial MCs are really in neighborhoods of poverty.   Yet I think that the message in this video can teach us something about community that is pertinent to our mission to bless and the greater community in which we meet and live.

Think through following questions:

  1. The video said, “People are the foundation on which a strong neighborhood is build.”  Do you know the people in your neighborhood?  If not, how can you take a step to get to know more of your neighbors?
  2. How are you investing in the people of your neighborhoods?
  3. Is there anyone else in your neighborhood already engaged in helping their neighbors and fostering community?  If so, how can you partner with them?

Check out Incommon on their work of building Community to lift areas out of poverty.

I found the video on Communities First Association’s blog.

Missional Training #8 – Engaging people where they’re at and where you live

On the night in which Jesus was betrayed, he exorted his followers to live in a community of live.  He said,

 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)

We’re called to be a community that is exemplified by love, and that witnesses through that that community to the love of Christ.

Watch this short video about this man’s attempts to reach others:

  1. What was his big mistake in planning his large event?
  2. What eventually built relationships that led to sharing the Gospel?
  3. Where are people already meeting in your community?  How can you engage people in those  venues for the sake of buidling relationships? 
  4. What is keeping you from going there?  How can other Christian help you
  5. How does working together with other Christians make evangelism and community building easier?
  6. What are your Christmas plans?  Can you help hold a Christmas party for your neighborhood or social group?  Are their already Christmas parties going on that you can “bring the better wine” to? 

For my Core group, Read the Gospel-Centred Life Chapter 8, Look Forward to Eternity.

Check out this site as a great resource for reaching out to your neighbors

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