I wanted to share this from a breakout session I sat in this morning with Jeff Vanderstedlt and Caesar Kalinowski. Someone asked them what they would recommend to a church trying to move towards missional communities. I thought it was a great question since many people don’t have the luxury of starting from a clean slate and are operating with a structure that cannot easily turn in a new direction. I have tried to summarize what Jeff and Caesar mentioned below.
- Be willing to repent.
- Lead by example. Don’t call your people to something new that you are not willing to model for them. This means you don’t decide to hire a missional communities pastor, but your pastors begin to lead missional communities. They are not a program to add to your church. This starts with you.
- Identify whether your specific situation is an organ transplant (replacing a few vital components), a wineskin issue (is your current structure able to carry this DNA), or a situation needing yeast (slowly allowing the yeast to work through your whole church more organically). I would love to hear Jeff expand on these a bit more to help some churches in transition.
- Defund the old stuff that you don’t want to keep producing. Don’t get up and pull the plug on your current small groups (this is a way to kill your church), just over time quite giving the time, energy, and resources to support the old structures. Affirm the good going on in groups and invest your time in the areas that will move them towards becoming missional communities.
- Tell the stories of those who are starting to see missional communities lived out. Awaken a taste for mission in your people by showing them the fruits of what a life lived in Gospel community on mission can be. If the Spirit is in them they will desire this life. It’s who God has recreated them in Jesus to be.
- Get some practical tools. Jeff mentioned two specifically here - The Tangible Kingdom Primer & Barefoot Church.