6 Types of People In Your MC

As you lead a missional community you will come across many different types of people. The following are six types of people I have encountered while leading. It should also be noted that people may display characteristics of each at different phases, and ultimately our goal as leaders is to help everyone understand their identity in Christ. This list is not exhaustive, but hopefully it gives you some helpful ways to identify where people are in your community. I encourage you to prayerfully consider how you can lead each of these types of people towards Christ.

1. Catalysts{an agent that provokes or speeds significant change or action} Leaders are catalysts. They do not simply offer up their opinions, but they work to start change and action. These people are not waiting on someone else to get things done, but they are the one to says lets do it. In a missional community they are casting vision for their ideas, calling God’s people to recognize needs around them, initiating new relationships in the life of the MC, proactively caring for the hearts of others, and helping others understand God’s word. They don’t have to do all of these things, but catalysts know how to use their gifts to ignite change. When they see that no one is living like family in the MC, they don’t complain and wonder when the MC is going to get their act together, they create that change. They begin having people over, pushing the tough conversations, and they are quick to repent of their weaknesses. Consider – 1 Thessalonians 5:12-28, Hebrews 10:24

2. Contributors{to play a significant part in bringing about an end or result} Contributors are those committed to playing a part in the life of a group. They are faithful and committed to show up and participate in whatever they are asked to do. These people are often the backbone of a group, although they will rarely initiate or take the lead. Given a clear vision, contributors will rally behind the leaders they respect. Contributors need clear lanes to run in, and in many cases, need help identifying the gifts they have. They need to hear their leaders affirm these gifts and challenge them to use those gifts towards the groups overall goals. Without catalysts a group of only contributors will stall out and ultimately lose momentum. When, however, a group has a mix of catalysts and contributors there will be significant momentum towards the group’s goal. Consider – Romans 12

3. Consumers{an organism requiring complex organic compounds for food which it obtains by preying on other organisms or by eating particles of organic matter} This is perhaps the most common person we have in our churches today. In laymen’s terms a consumer is someone who is hungry and looking for others to feed their appetites. Consumers don’t actually produce anything, and they prove to be a drain on resources. When their demands or hungers are not met they quickly turn into critics. Most often consumers simply go on to the next stop where they think others will meet their needs. Consumers show up as long as your providing the goods they want to consume (bible studies, social fun, experiences, friendships). Without consciously realizing it consumers are using others to provide for their own needs. They have expectations of showing up, receiving goods, and sometimes in exchange offering their payments (although many won’t even do that). Consumers must be patiently led to see who they are in Christ. They must be pointed to feast on Jesus, not his people or programs. What they really need is not more study or product but to be changed. They need to be discipled. They need catalysts to challenge them and help them see their real need. Those in leadership must not become enablers for people to remain consumers, but must guide consumers to becoming contributors. Leaders must resist the need to accommodate consumers. It takes a trust in the Holy Spirit and a pastoral heart to see if consumers will receive the call to change. Consider 2 Timothy 4:2-4

4. Consultants{one who gives advice to another} Consultants are typically helpful because they stand outside of a group or organization and are able to see things that those really close to the group cannot see. While consultants are helpful as an outside resource, they can be a nuisance inside an MC. Consultants often offer much advice and little help. They know the solutions needed but lack the commitment or ownership to help the group achieve them. Even when they have a positive disposition towards a group, consultants can weary others in the group if they don’t move forward to become a part of the solutions they are suggesting. Since consultants tend to be disconnected from the core of the group, they often offer idealist solutions with no real regard for the reality of the situation. This can be frustrating to those truly committed because the solutions offered are vague and lack concrete applications. Consider 1 Timothy 1:3-7, 1 Peter 4:7-19

5. Critics{one who expresses a reasoned opinion on any matter especially involving a judgment of its value, truth, righteousness, beauty, or technique} Critics go a step beyond consultants in that instead of offering solutions they simply criticize what the core leadership of a group is doing. Most critics are cowards and do this behind the backs of those in leadership. They usually offer little help towards finding a solution and are quick to separate themselves from a group. Critics thrive on deconstructing plans or ideas of those in leadership, although they will rarely step out and do anything themselves. Critics respond to new actions or ideas by tearing them down, not offering alternative solutions, and distancing themselves from those actually trying something. In a missional community critics can be intimidators, inhibitors, or dividers.   They will speak of the group as a separate entity (they) as opposed to (we). Ultimately critics are afraid of rejection and therefore protect themselves from others opinions by preemptively tearing them down. Critics need to be confronted for their apathy and won over by the catalysts in a group. If they are unrepentant and unwilling to join the family (offering contribution and constructive feedback), they need to be removed from the group. Most of the time they will self remove when confronted. Finally, while critics are often harmful to the group life, the leadership should prayerfully consider their critiques. Even if their motives where harmful, critiques often have some truth in them. It brings about a great time for the group to consider the critique and prayerfully evaluate it together. Consider Philippians 2

6. Cancers{something evil or malignant that spreads destructively} Consultants and critics can often be won over and turn into contributors and catalysts. Cancers however are people who need to be quickly removed from the group. They have an agenda and are in the group to promote it. They often have a track record of bouncing around and quickly attach themselves to those in power. They typically think they should be in power and will use both consulting and critiquing to exert their influence. When their agenda is not adopted they will catalyze dissension in the group. Even before things blow up their very presence inhibits the group from accomplishing their goals. If unchecked, cancers will neutralize catalysts, and deceive contributors. In some sense they work like catalysts but in opposition to the given direction of a group. In biblical terms we might see these as wolves who are seeking to devour the sheep. This doesn’t mean that cancers see themselves as wolves (in fact many are delusional in their own self understanding) but they ultimately lead people away from Christ and towards destruction. Cancers must be dealt with firmly and quickly. The group might even need to seek help and counsel from the Elders when they have these people present. Elders must act together to protect the flock from the cancers seeking to destroy them. Consider Titus 1:10-16, Acts 20:28-30

At Redeemer, we want catalysts and contributors in our missional communities. While consultants are OK, we don’t need consultants unwilling to be contributors. Critics must be confronted and either won over or removed from the group. Cancers must be identified quickly and acted on immediately. As they are discovered, the core leaders of a group should quickly bring it to the attention of the Elders and together they should prayerfully figure out how they can protect the flock from their destructive presence. In all of this, our main goal is to lead people to Jesus. As we are leading we also have much grace for people because we know that apart from the Spirit working in us we are prone towards many of these tendencies.

Take some time to consider which type of person you are? What negative tendencies do you have when you are not walking in the Spirit (you might be a catalyst, but when discouraged or in sin you are a critic)? After you have considered your own heart, ask the Spirit to show you where the people you are leading are at, and how you can lead them closer to Jesus.

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