Before we describe what a Missional Community is, we first want to explain what it is not.
A MISSIONAL COMMUNITY IS NOT PRIMARILY:
A SMALL GROUP: Yes, an MC is a small group of people that meets at least once a week. However, as you’ll soon find out an MC is so much more than a typical church small group.
A BIBLE STUDY: The Scriptures play a vital, foundational role in the life of a missional community. However, the goal of studying the Bible in an MC is not simply to gain more Biblical or theological knowledge; it’s to foster our repentance from sin and turn to faith in the completed work of Jesus’ death and resurrection in our place. As a result of this, we will find our place in God’s big story of redemption and so move outward in mission to our neighbors and our community
A SUPPORT GROUP: You will see that because an MC is family with one another because of Jesus, they will carry and support one another’s burdens as they point one another toward their true Savior, Jesus. However, the healing and restoration
Jesus brings is meant to be shared and spread rather than confined to a small group of people.
A SOCIAL ACTIVIST GROUP: You will see that an MC is very active in their community because they recognize that Jesus is Lord over every sphere of life and He calls His people to be a foretaste of the final restoration of all things. However, if they limit their activity to social activism, they realize that they are not being faithful to the fullness of Jesus’ mission.
A WEEKLY MEETING: Just as the church is not a building, an MC is not a weekly meeting. An MC is just that: a community of people participating in Jesus’ mission to the world that transforms our ordinary, everyday life, not merely one night of the week.
A MISSIONAL COMMUNITY IS:
Simply put, missional communities (MCs) are families of missionary servants who make disciples who make disciples: a community of everyday citizens who are devoted to Jesus, to one another, to their neighbors and city.
A missional community is a gospel community that lives out the mission of God together in a specific area and to a particular people group by demonstrating the gospel in tangible forms and declaring the gospel to others—both those who believe it and those who are being exposed to it.
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42–47)
In this passage we see a glimpse of the early church, a community of people who were devoted not only to Jesus, but also to one another. They prayed together, and they ate together. They shared gospel teachings, and they shared their possessions! We see a beautiful picture of a community of people who were so devoted to the gospel that they were devoted to one another. They lived more like a tight family than a loose collection of individuals. They didn’t “go” to church because they “were” the church.
When MCs live out of their family identity, it will lead to a recovery of this biblical pattern of community. We don’t want to be a group of individuals who try to follow Jesus on our own, occasionally gathering for a church service or a Bible study; rather, we want to be a community of people devoted to Jesus and one another!
The hope of the gospel is that we don’t have to be a perfect community since Jesus was perfect for us. When we let one another down, we point to Jesus who lifts us up. The gospel, not religious rules, unites the church. Religious community, however, says, “If I keep the community rules, then people will accept me”, but Gospel community says, “We are already accepted in Christ, therefore, we love, forgive, and accept one another.” This is great news! The gospel frees us from performing for God or for the church! You don’t have to impress God because Jesus impressed God for you. You don’t have to pretend to be perfect because all of us are imperfect people clinging to a perfect Christ, being perfected by the Spirit!
A Missional Community
The result of the church being sent is that we live as a community of disciples who are not only devoted to Jesus and to one another, but are also devoted to our neighbors and our city. When we come to Christ, we are sent on His mission.
Mission is not an option for followers of Jesus or something reserved for “super- spiritual Christians.” Mission is for everybody! The mission of making disciples who contribute to our wider culture, redeem social ill, and share a whole gospel is the joy and responsibility of every Christian.
A missional community, then, is a family of missionary servants, a group of people who are devoted to Jesus, to one another, and to their neighbors and city! In line with God’s gospel purpose, they are disciples of Jesus who are committed to making more disciples of Jesus! Therefore, mission is not merely a monthly trip to feed the homeless or a trip to Africa to serve in an orphanage (although those are great things to do!). Mission is something that happens in our everyday lives as we follow Jesus. Mission is not merely an activity; it is our identity!
Living out your missionary identity just means being yourself. It is making disciples where you live with your community as you collectively follow Jesus.
What does gospel-centered community really look like? How could we ever possibly have the time to live out these identities of family, missionary, and servant? When the gospel takes root and begins bearing fruit in our lives, it doesn’t primarily add “stuff” to our lives; it will lead to us re-orienting what we already do around the gospel call to make disciples.
All information is used from Saturate Resources - from the Soma family of churches
(Missional Community Foundations)