Missional Doesn’t Equal “New!”

I started a discussion on missional communities last week.  Mostly, I just wanted to take time to share some of my thoughts and ideas on them.  Missional communities (MC) were first experimented with in the late 1980’s in London.  The idea was to create groups of 30-50 who were aligned around a common mission.  That mission could be feeding the hungry in a particular area of town.  That mission could be to clothe the people who had very little.  It could be whatever they believed God was calling them to do.  As this idea spread around Europe, it wasn’t until the early 2000’s that the idea finally came to the States.  Once here, a few people have been leading the way in “re”implementing this “new” idea.

London at NightAt the beginning of the year, I began a reading plan on YouVersion to read through the Bible in a year.  I chose the chronological reading plan because I wanted to be able to read the Bible more like a story, with everything in order as it happened.  I began to read and I came to the book of Exodus.  I have started Exodus before.  It’s not my favorite book.  The first twenty chapters or so are pretty cool.  Lots of action, you could even make a movie out of it.  Someone should do that.  But after that, it starts to get a little boring.  So I was a little nervous about being able to get all the way through without faltering.  What I found was incredible.  As I prayed through the “boring parts,” God began to show me something that I believe is incredible.  MC’s are not a “new” idea.

Exodus 35:29 (NLT) – “So the people of Israel—every man and woman who was eager to help in the work the Lord had given them through Moses—brought their gifts and gave them freely to the Lord.

This was an entire community of people, focusing on an area in which they had a passion and were gifted and they used it to complete a work the Lord had shown them through their visionary leader, Moses.  They not only did the work, but they “gave them free to the Lord.”  From early on, it seems to me that God has had this idea.  MC’s are not new, they are a throwback.  They are not something to be afraid of, they are God’s plan.  A MC gives the average, ordinary, everyday person an opportunity to find fulfillment by using their gifts and talents freely for the Lord.  To use the talents they have been given to follow God in the mission of sharing the love of Jesus with everyone they encounter.  Being a MC to me is simply a group of people living their lives as missionaries.  It is saying, “God has placed me where I am, for a reason.  And rather than waste the opportunity, I am going to use all of my time, talents and resources to make a difference for God right where I am.  I don’t have to live in a foreign country to be a missionary.  I’m a missionary right here.  And I’m going to join with others who feel the same way and I’m going to help make a difference right where I am.

I’m going to bring my gifts and I’m going to freely give them to God.

Join the discussion.

I want to hear your thoughts.

What do you think about MC’s?

What needs are right in your backyard that you can see as a mission field?

Is it time to freely give yourself to God by using your gifts and talents to be a part of the solution for that need?

In what ways can you see this concept playing out in everyday life?

Are MC’s a new idea?  Am I just crazy?  (I will be the first to admit that God doesn’t call this group in Exodus 35 a “missional community.”  Based on the way they are structured today, it seems to me that God has been trying to use people as “missionaries” since gifts and talents were first given to them.)

Can’t wait to hear from you.

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About Stan Rodda

Follower. Husband. Father. Shepherd. Apostle. Husker.

Posted on February 1, 2011, in bible, Church, discipleship, God, Jesus, Leadership, Life, missional communities, missionary, outreach, relationships, resources, social settings, the basics, the culture, the nation, the world, worldview. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. I’ve been aware of the MC way of demonstrating God’s love for some time now and am a big believer in it. I had never associated the concept with what was going on back in Exodus times. (And, hey, you may have something there with that movie idea.) I believe that the MC concept was the primary driver in the Restore church that Ron and Stephanie Klabunde started, i.e., beginning with the community of people with a heart for serving the disadvantaged and then forming the church out of that core community — or something like that. Anyway, thanks for sharing your keen observations concerning the Exodus nexus.

    • I think you’re right, Ron. A church community grows out of a mission-minded community. And not sure my thoughts on Exodus would stand up to a strong critique of my use of Scripture, but as I have read and prayed, sometimes God shows you things and they just hit you. That’s what I was seeing as I read today. Thanks for reading and commenting, Ron. I appreciate it.

  2. I don’t think missional community is a new idea. I think calling it Missional Community, or giving it an abbreviation (MC) is. I think it’s a foundational element of the gospel that people in America and Europe have mostly forgotten about, and so “getting back to basics” looks like something new…

    • I totally agree, Ryan. That’s why I said that I don’t think God calls it a “missional community” in Exodus, but I feel like He was trying to show me that it was His concept, His idea. We are definitely getting back to the basics, and sometimes when a church movement gets back to the basics, it appears to be the most revolutionary thing ever done.

  3. My wife and I are about to launch an MC in our home in a few weeks. A first for our church (and a first for our city as far as I know). We’ve had affinity type small groups but nothing that is oriented toward reaching out to those that aren’t Christ followers.

    I think that the idea of MC’s isn’t new, you can look back even at just the New Testament and see in Acts how they met in each others homes (Acts 2:42-47). There were literally thousands of new believers that would have never been able to fit into a single homes, so they must have been meeting in smaller groups.

    Not a new idea, but something that we are beginning to rediscover. Really, something that we NEEDED to rediscover.

    • Congrats on the new launch for your group. I pray it goes well and God blesses it in a big way. Yes, I agree that the early church had smaller groups that were meeting in homes. There had to be a way to accomodate all those people. MC’s go beyond the small group scene I believe. I want to structure our small groups to be MC’s in a way. At first they won’t be as large, but I want them to grow into larger MC’s. Will be cool to see how God moves in those groups.

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