WHAT IS A MISSIONAL COMMUNITY?
“A Missional Community is a family (of 20 to 50 people) that exists to serve a particular neighborhood or network of relationships in order to make disciples who make disciples.”
WHAT IS SUCCESS FOR MISSIONAL COMMUNITIES?
One way that success is measured is through stories of lives transformed, the community being impacted and reached for Christ, and people being drawn closer to the Lord. However, the goal of missional communities is not just stories, but true authentic discipleship that results in life change. Discipleship occurs with those in the community of believers and then those who come to faith.
WHY ARE MISSIONAL COMMUNITIES NECESSARY IN LIGHT OF THE CURRENT STRUCTURE OF SMALL GROUPS?
They are a more effective expression of doing ministry where life exists.
WILL INTIMACY BETWEEN BELIEVERS BE LOST IN MISSIONAL COMMUNITIES?
Not at all. If missional communities were just a once a week meeting with 20-50, intimacy would be difficult to maintain. If the only time you got to see your family was during family reunions, deep relationships would be difficult to establish. The great thing is that missional communities are set up to establish real authentic relationships. Many missional communities break up into small groups for prayer and to share private thoughts, needs, and requests. Many times the deep relationships happen outside of this large gathering in the more organic, natural gatherings throughout the week. For example, a group of men could get together one morning each week to keep each other accountable and pray before work or a group of women could gather one evening during the week and go through a book of the Bible together or a specific Bible study. Each missional community will look very different and be as creative as its people.
WHAT QUALIFIES A PERSON TO LEAD AN MC?
- You love Jesus and are committed to being his disciple forever.
- You love Blueprint and are committed to being part of things here for the next season of your life [i.e. you’re not planning on leaving anytime soon and will be around and will properly establish, develop, deepen, and multiply leadership in any new group]. You will have a track record of service and involvement in the church, so that we know you share our vision and values.
- You have a leadership gifting and are willing to fully connect into our ongoing investment process for leaders that we call Huddles.
- You are currently living on mission for Jesus. You have a lifestyle of reaching out to a specific community [e.g., a specific neighborhood, co-workers, family, friends, etc.]. Basically, it can be anything that is definable where you could reasonably build a Missional Community.
- You can gather enough people around you and the vision God has placed in your heart to make something happen!
WHAT WILL A TYPICAL MC MEETING LOOK LIKE?
Each missional community will look different and is based on the group and their mission. However, all missional communities will share the three areas of life that Jesus modeled to maintain a balanced lifestyle:
- Up—developing intimacy with Him.
- In—building the Church community.
- Out—reaching the unchurched.
WILL THERE BE A CONSISTENT SCHEDULE?
Yes and no. There will be a set time when the whole missional community will come together, but they will also gather in various capacities throughout the week whether it is dinner, a game, playing ball, Bible studies, going for a walk or some other activity with the intention of mission. The meetings throughout the week could be as small as two people or a large gathering of people at the park. The key is that people need time together if they are going to commit together to serve and go. If the relationships developed in a missional community do not blend in to “normal life”, then they become one more thing to clog our schedules.
WILL THERE BE A CURRICULUM?
No, the weekly gathering will not be a Bible study. However, there is freedom for a group to take on its own distinct style. For example, let’s say that a group really feels that God is speaking to them corporately about holiness, its members might take a month or so and study Leviticus to be of great benefit combined with setting aside time of prayer and fasting. The important thing is that the teaching is decided upon in response to what God is saying, either to the leader personally or to the group, with the goal being to see growth in Christ-likeness and effectiveness in mission.
WHAT WILL MEETINGS LOOK LIKE?
Meetings vary and are based on the creativity and personality of the groups. However, the core values of these meetings are to grow closer to God and one another and pray into their missional context. Usually, these meetings will contain some or all of these components: food, socializing, communion, story-telling [testimonies], praise and worship, prayer for specific needs, studying the scriptures and talking about what God is doing in the member’s lives, praying for the wider community that you are seeking to reach, and planning mission activities. In short, these meetings are modeled after 1 Corinthians 11-14.
WHY ARE MISSIONAL COMMUNITIES SO BIG?
The main reason is that they are small enough to care, but large enough to dare. Here are a few specific reasons behind the size that fuel a missional community:
- Manpower – Missional Communities give you ample human resources to make an impact on your mission focus, whether it’s a neighborhood or a network of relationships.
- Money – We have to address money as a resource to mobilize for mission, and a group of 20-50 people is ideal for this, supplying enough to channel towards specific projects the group is focusing on. Moreover, since MCs should always have not-yet-Christians joining in on community life, these people are quite willing to give to cause-based projects, but they want them to be big enough to make a difference. This allows them to join in on the mission of God before they’ve come to see their own calling to it.
- Momentum – Small groups that have a missional bent are small enough to care, but not big enough to dare. With these mid-sized groups, very real momentum is developed because the group is small enough to care but also big enough to dare.
- Multiplication – Thinning the herd takes less of a toll on a group of 20-50, giving you the optimal number for movement to take place without cutting into the previous 3 M’s mentioned already. Furthermore, rather than experiencing the pain of splitting a small group and losing some of your closest friends, multiplying a MC allows you to continue the journey with your closest friends while still expanding the Kingdom of God.
- Margins – A group of 20-50 creates a sort of semi-anonymous space in the community for people to hang out in the margins and observe before they move closer in for more in depth participation. A group of 6-12 does not have this kind of space, only intimate space. We need marginal spaces for “observers” to come among us and hang out without being in the spotlight.