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