Missional Community


Recently some of us have been listening to and reading some material from Soma Communities. I am trying to flesh out some of the concepts in my head and would love your feedback. There is a ton of stuff on this website, but I am focusing on the “mercy” portion for now.

I chose this for a few reasons… we have done probably the least to equip our mercy extender’s directly & I think if we really grab onto some of these things God could use us to make a big difference in the world for His Glory!

MISSIONARIES

Listen: carefully and submissively listen to God alone and together to gain clarity on the

mission He has called you to lead people toward

ACTIONS:

  • Take some extended time to listen, pray and journal
  • Do pray walks or prayer drives to discern what God is saying
  • Pay attention to His calling as demonstrated through personal convictions, passions, ongoing leadings
  • Let the Spirit of God check your heart – what are your motives?

Story-formed: as you gain clarity on the mission God has called you to, begin doing the

work to understand the story of that context and how best to bring the gospel to bear within it

ACTIONS:

  • Do a historical study of the neighborhood, city, people groups, etc...
  • Look for things that already exist that demonstrate the story of the culture (civic groups, social services, educational strengths/weaknesses, businesses, housing structures, people groups, etc…)
  • Identify things that exist that are open doors for the gospel and those that are demonstrations of gospel barriers
  • Overall, look for where the Story of God and the Story of the Culture can intersect

Celebrate: identify and join the celebrations that already exist within the culture God is

sending you to and look to develop new forms of celebration that bring the gospel to

bear in a culturally appropriate way

ACTIONS:

  • Identify the celebrations that the culture is engaged in that you can participate fully in and still display the gospel
  • Identify the celebrations that exist that need redemption and look for ways to enter in and redeem them
  • Identify the celebrations that do not exist, ask God if they should and if so, how you should go about developing culturally appropriate forms for celebrating
  • With a team of leaders/workers begin to engage in present celebrations and prayerfully plan out culturally appropriate ones for the community

Bless: determine the most appropriate forms through which the community you’re called

to would feel blessed and it would be “Good News”

(Consider one of the Seven Pillars as a starting point: Education, Business, Media/Arts, Health Care, Government, Service Organizations, Disenfranchised)


ACTIONS:

  • Determine what is broken or missing in your community
  • Find out what exists to deal with those things and determine how you could serve
  • If it doesn’t exist, discern with God and in community whether you are supposed to start something and who you should work with to see it started

Eat: begin to identify the “watering holes” in the community God is sending you to and frequent them often

ACTIONS:

  • Determine the watering holes by paying attention to where the people you’re sent to hang out often
  • Regularly eat/drink there and pay attention (listen to others, ask questions, learn)
  • Become known as people who live out good news (tip well, bring more business by leading others to join you, etc…)
  • If a good gathering spot does not exist, prayerfully consider starting one

ReCreate: learn about the work habits of the community and what they do for rest and play

ACTIONS:

  • Get to know the kinds of work people are doing and what connection points you might have with them
  • Discover their weekly/monthly/yearly rhythms of work/rest/play and begin to align with them
  • Prayerfully consider how you might demonstrate Creation/Rest to your culture so they might see Gospel through you and with you

Adapting a theology of mission from missiologist Leslie Newbigin, George Hunsberber, develops 3

relationships that must occur between the church, gospel and culture:

What thoughts, questions, answers, does this bring to mind?

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A few years ago I remember hearing a sermon somewhere about “eating the word”… for some reason that phrase stayed with me. I believe it was talking about how we are to approach the scriptures, to taste it, to chew on it, to meditate on it, to digest it, to allow it to nourish and change us… something like that??

Anyways, today I started out with my memory verse: So, let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Gal. 6:9

Then, I went and started to read Galatians, started with ch. 6 and then added 5. In light of the shepherding training that we had on Sunday and the teachings from Corinthians, I thought this passage would be applicable to our community, a passage to eat, a passage to digest, a passage to consider. 

So, I am going to type out this passage here and bold the parts that stood out to me. I may interject some thoughts or questions along the way. I think it would serve you well to eat this word! 

 

So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law. Listen! I Paul, tell you this: If you are counting on circumcision to make you right with God, then Christ will be of not benefit to you. I say it again, If you are trying to find favor with God by being circumcised, you must obey every regulation in the whole law of Moses. For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace. 

  • maybe its not circumcision for us, but there are other things that we look to for justification… what is it for you? — let it go! 

But we who live by the Spirit eagerly wait to receive by faith the righteousness God has promised to us. For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, there is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised. What is important is faith expressing itself in love. 

  • so what does that look like? 

You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth? It certainly isn’t God, for he is the one who called you to freedom. The false teaching is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough! I am trusting the Lord to keep you from believing false teachings. God will judge that person, whoever it is, who has been confusing you. 

  • What are you confused about? What do we need to be cautious of? 

Dear brothers and sisters, if I were still preaching that you must be circumcised–as some say I do– why I am I still being persecuted? If I were no longer preaching salvation through the cross of Christ, no one would be offended. I just wish that those trouble-makers who want to mutilate you by circumcision would mutilate themselves. 

For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead use your freedom to serve one another in love.  For the whole law is summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself” But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another. 

So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. 

  • anyone ever feel this way? 
  • I have this thought that if we are pursuing our spiritual gifts and using them, we will be more filled with the spirit and less filled with the sin nature. as we are practically, prayerfully and actually running towards who God has created us the sinful desire will loose power! 

But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses. When you follow the sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that kind of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God! 

  • this isn’t a check off list, it can’t be in light of the beginning of the chapter, its an observation of what happens to us. the sickness of sin invades our life, we must pursue “faith expressing itself in love”

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another. 

  • what can we learn here? trust! prayer! humility! — we ALREADY have freedom, we need to believe that we do. 

ARE YOU STILL WITH ME? I’M ALMOST AT 1000 WORDS, SO I KNOW THIS IS GETTING LONG, BUT WE JUST FINISHED GALATIANS 5 AND HAVE THE WHOLE NEXT CHAPTER TO GO THROUGH. IF YOU NEED TO TAKE A BREAK AND COME BACK, IF YOU NEED TO TAKE A COUPLE DAYS TO EAT THIS WORD, PLEASE DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU…. moving on…

Dear brothers and sisters, if another brother is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. 

  • there it is… share each other’s burdens, this is the law of Christ! 

If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important! 

  • i just love that part! 

Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct. 

  • anyone else ever struggle with comparison? anyone else ever feel responsible for others? 
  • there must be a difference between sharing in each other’s burdens and taking over responsibilities of others… maybe some learning on boundaries will be helpful! 

Those who are taught the word of God should provide for their teachers, sharing all good things with them. Don’t be misled– you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone–especially those in the family of faith. 

  • there it is again… this communal aspect to living out our faith in love… this encouragement to not give up, this tension between resting in our freedom and what the Spirit does and a call to persevere by our actions… Got to love the gray and the mystery… Got to pursue the Spirit and allow it to surprise us!

NOTICE WHAT LARGE LETTERS I USE AS I WRITE THESE CLOSING WORDS IN MY OWN HANDWRITING. Those who are trying to force you to be circumcised want to look to good to others. They don’t want to be persecuted for teaching that the cross of Christ alone can save. And even those who advocate circumcision don’t keep the whole law themselves. They only want you to be circumcised so they can boast about it and claim you as their disciples. 

As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died. It doesn’t matter whether we have  been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation. May God’s peace and mercy be upon all who live by this principle: they are the new people of God. 

  • Wow! Do we believe it? Do we see ourselves as new creations with new trajectories for life? We have spiritual gifts, we have gifts that God makes powerful by his grace, we have freedom from external pressure to measure up with the world or to get our status from our stuff, our relationships, our crowds, our abilities. 
  • Humility, graciousness and love seem to be the theme here to me. Its all about God! 

From now on, don’t let anyone trouble me with these things. For I bear on my body the scars that show I belong to Jesus. Dear brothers and sisters, may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen

  • I’m not quite sure about that part, but it seems to me that Paul really wants the Galatians to get this idea of freedom and new life, to pursue the Holy Spirit and to let go of the legalism without falling into temptation… 

SHADES OF GRAY… THESE CAN ONLY BE DISCOVERED AS WE LIVE LIFE TOGETHER IN COMMUNITY. THANK YOU FOR BEING A PART OF OURS! 

 

I would love to hear your thoughts on any of this. My prayer is that as we learn together we can encourage each other to engage with what our own issues might be and how we can humbly help each other to truly believe and act on the truth that we are made new through Christ alone.

Thank you to everyone who was a part of our gathering last night. It is a privilege to follow Christ with you.  We began the night by praying for our neighborhood while reflecting on the reason for the hope that we have. 

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all that those who live should not longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again… All of this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us…2 Corinthians 5:14-15 & 18-20

The Tryon Group put together this video… it expresses some key aspects of becoming a missional community. As I said last night, I really like the part where it talks about us each having a unique part to play in making beautiful music.

 

   

 Corey then led us through a reflection on the significance of becoming missional communities and connected us to the bigger story of God who consistently redeems.This led us into an excellent discussion that hopefully will help us to clarify and practically live out our call as home groups.Please post any thoughts, insights, suggestions, challenges that you took away from last night.I’ll start:I was challenged by the question, “What would the world look like if God answered your prayers?”  

On Sunday, March 9 from 4-6PM with a potluck meal to follow we will be having our second bi-monthly Leadership Development gathering.

I am looking forward to another opportunity to come together and as we continue to become learners, lovers, and givers.   This meeting will be specifically focused on joining with God’s redemptive character.

Specifically here is what you can expect:

4:00-4:30 Reflection and Planing for your home group.

The goal of this time is to save you from having separate meeting to plan outside of these leadership development gatherings. We have provided some guiding questions to help you move through your plans together. By including this time in each of the meetings you should have an expected opportunity to refocus, share ideas, and plan in two month increments.

4:30-5:00 Missional Expressions– we hear from you

During this time each group will have 5 minutes to discuss, display or perform an expression of what being a “missional community” means. We have provided a video and article to help spur on and focus this discussion for your group. We hope that this activity provides an opportunity for you and your group to wrestle with and communicate about these concepts and actions together.

We are in no way looking for perfect expressions, but for sincere questions and realizations that have come about through considering what it means to follow Jesus.

5:00-5:10 BREAK

5:10-5:40 Teaching

Corey will be sharing with us some directed thoughts on God’s redeeming character, our lives as an expression of His character, and provide some practical implications for following Jesus as we become learners, lovers, and givers in the rhythm of our home groups.

5:40-6:00 Prayer

In response to God redeeming our lives, we get to offer his redemption to others. This time will be spent walking around outside and praying individually or with partners for the God’s redeeming work in our city.

Bring your warm clothes if its cold out.

    Details for the Potluck

We are asking you each to bring something. We have all of the paper products needed. Last time there were about 50 people eating. You don’t need to bring enough food for 50 people, but that should give you an idea of what to expect.

Please bring the following according to your last name:

Main Dish A-F
Side Dish G-M
Dessert N-S
Drink T-Z

    Child Care

We are also providing child care for the 4-6PM time slot. I have arranged for 4 parents to be rotating through as volunteers for child care; however I am still looking for 2-3 more volunteers. If anyone in your home group would be interested in helping out in that area please have them contact Traci.

The point of these meetings is to accomplish the following 6 things:

1. community building– bringing unity
2. sharing stories of what God is doing–becoming an incubator for new ideas
3. teaching on specific needs that arise
4. providing resources for spiritual/community formation– a starting place to encourage and develop current and future leaders
5. celebration/worship
6. planning/reflection by home grous for next two months

Thanks for all that you are and are becoming.

The word “missional” is thrown around a lot these days. As a community of home groups, we’ve talked a lot about becoming missional communities. This video by Michael Frost is a helpful resource to help our discussion, thinking, and organization to live as missional communities. Frost is a professor, church planter, and writer from Australia. He and Alan Hirsch have authored a number of books recently as prophetic/inspirational calls to the Western church to recalibrate ourselves to become authentically missional movements that reclaim humanity in our post-Christian culture.

Tim Keller also has written a helpful article that can spur thinking in this direction as well.

Look forward to learning with you!

Tim Keller Article