You can think of a missional community like a wheel with five spokes. When all five spokes are strong the wheel is able to move forward and do it’s job perfectly, with no weakness. In the same way, we have identified five components for our missional communities. When these components are all strong the missional community will grow healthy, growing as disciples and making new disciples. The five components of our missional communities are: the family meal, missional living, serving, DNA, and Sunday gatherings.
1. The Family Meal (Regular Meeting)
The family meal is the time when the missional community gathers to share a meal together with Jesus at the center. This time is different than grabbing a quick bite to eat at Rudy’s after work with some buddies. This meal is intentional in every way. We must make it clear that Jesus is who we are gathering around and he is the one who makes us a family. Encourage your people to have intentional, Christ-centered conversation while they eat. It is also important to use the family meal night as an opportunity to encourage one another, pray together, and cast vision for the mission of the group.
Some Ideas For The Family Meal:
- Point people to Jesus early- Once everyone arrives be sure to get everyone’s attention and remind them that this night is about Jesus. Encourage them to share with one another what their week has been like following Jesus. Pray a big, Christ-centered pray before the meal to set people’s minds on Jesus.
- Use “coffee/dessert time” to have more focused discussion– after the meal transition to the living room (send the kids to play in another room if you need to) and spend 15-20 minutes having focused discussion if you need it. Cast vision for mission, share a devotional from the scriptures, pray together, discuss what God is teaching you in DNA or on Sundays.
- Be sure to keep it a “family gathering” not a small group bible study. This is important for the health of your MC.
2. Missional Living
Missional living is showing and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with those who are not yet believers. In order to ensure that missional living is happening in your missional community, you will need to create a “space” where you are intentionally looking to share and show the gospel to those your missional community is trying to reach. This should fit within the regular rhythms of your MC’s neighborhood or network. Perhaps it is a game night or cookout at your house where you invite neighbors or friends to join you. Or maybe a regular trip to the local park where you invite others, and look to build relationships and get to know new freinds. Whatever it is, it should be consistent, and your missional living should be relational, long-term, and low-key.
3. Serving Together
Serving isn’t just something we do and check off of our list. In fact, serving is a part of who we are as believers. We are servants of our King Jesus who calls us to care for the “least of these”, and reminds us that his Kingdom is for the poor, the sick, the needy. Every missional community should be regularly serving and meeting the needs of the needy. In the Suburbs this can be complex but here are a few ideas:
- Kids at the local children’s home
- Single moms in your neighborhood or network
- Elderly and widowed in your neighborhood or network
- Mentoring and serving at local schools
DNA is where we dig down deep in our care for one another as disciples. These are smaller groups of 3-4 (men with men and women with women). You must make it a goal to see every committed member of your missional community regularly participating in DNA. DNA isn’t just another thing, it is THE place where we are formed by God’s word, confess sin, and are committed to one another’s personal growth as followers of Jesus. DNA groups should be reading the scriptures together, meeting weekly, and caring for one another in a honest and sincere way. Below are some resources to help people with DNA:
5. Sunday Gatherings
Sunday gatherings are not just the “front door” of our church as others have said before. Sundays are a place for people who have been being the family of God and living on mission in a broken world to retreat and be renewed by the power and presence of God. We desperately need to be reminded of the truth of God’s word as it is preached. We need to be ministered to by the Spirit as we declare truth through singing. And we need to be reminded of the gospel as we share the Lord’s Supper with the greater Redeemer church. Sundays aren’t optional or second rate, they are the place where missional communities are encouraged, shaped by the Word of God, and recommissioned to the mission of making disciples every week. Here is a resource to help your missional community maximize and value Sundays: 5 Ways MCs Can Value Sundays
So What Now?
Now that you know these 5 components of healthy missional communities what do you do with all of this? This might seem overwhelming. How in the world can you get all of this into practice? We hope you will see that it’s not that complicated. Remember, missional community is about living out our Gospel Identity through Everyday Rhythms. It is more about gospel intentionality than it is about events on the calendar. Below is an example schedule of a missional community that is growing as disciples and making disciples through these 5 components. EXAMPLE: Missional Community Monthly Schedule
Giving our leaders these handles has help take a complex thing like missional community and simplified it in a way that is light weight and reproducible.
Hope this helps in your efforts to disciples where you are!