We at The Exchange Community are taking a number of our MC leaders and members down to Jonesboro. We’ve learned a lot from Jeff, Soma, and the GCm Collective. So we thought we’d share this great opportunity. Here is what is publicized about the training:
We believe that communities centered around mission are the heart of what God has called His Church to be and do. Soma has helped developed successful missional communities all around the world. This one-day training with Jeff Vanderstelt will tackle the nuts and bolts of living and leading missional communities. Our recent One Day focused on the “Why” and “What”. This training will focus on “How”…
- How to make disciples with your family
- How to love and bless your neighbors
- How to live everyday life with gospel intentionality
- How to make disciples out of the overflow of the gospel
- How to listen and follow the Spirit for fruitful mission
MEET JEFF VANDERSTELT
Jeff Vanderstelt is one of the leaders of Soma Tacoma, a multi-expression, church-planting church. He is the Visionary Leader of Soma, a family of churches spread throughout North America. Jeff is married to Jayne and together they love and shepherd their three children in gospel, life, and mission.
This event will take place on Saturday from 9am-4pm at Fellowship Jonesboro, with registration from 8–9am.
The cost is: $49/individual or $69/couple and includes lunch.
Please register for this event by 10am, Friday September 13.
You can register at Eventbrite
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!
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.
You might also like:
Picture found here
This is a great (and short) video from Caesar Kalinowski on two ways of viewing mission: Proactive vs. Reactive Mission.
What is your Missional Community’s Proactive Mission?
What reactive Mission opportunities is God revealing to you as well?
Go to the GCM Collective’s website and check out the great illustration that Seth McBee made to illustrate the difference between proactive and reactive mission.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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:
- 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?
- How are you investing in the people of your neighborhoods?
- 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.
In this Short 3 Minute Video below, Jeff and Caesar talk about how to make disciples. What they have to say is really important to starting, sustaining, and growing Missional Communities.
We’ve spoken before about inviting people into our lives before we invite them to our churches or to our MCs. Jeff and Caesar encourage us to invite them into the life of the disciple before they even become committed followers of Jesus.
- Why is it important to connect our acts of service to the people who we’re making disciples of?
- How does leading people in the ways that Jesus tells us to help open the doors to Gospel Conversations?
- How are you and your MC serving the unchurched around you and serving with the unchurched around you?
- Think of the neighborhoods, the people groups, the organizations in which your prospects live, work, and interact. How can you serve in those contexts and how can you invite others along?