Our Story (so far). In the Spring of 2013, God pulled together about twenty people from five different churches. We had a number of things in common. Many of us had been inspired by followers of Jesus we’d met on mission trips. We earnestly desired to see Christ change lives and renew our city. We had heard that God was doing that in other places through groups called missional communities. And we were willing to try. We agreed to meet together for a season and we organized our life around worship, prayer, fellowship, and mission. This temporary micro-church was a “trial missional community”. We learned a lot about ourselves, our neighbors, and how to (and how not to) run a missional community. We also discovered strength in community, how to be more natural and public with our faith, more courageous in prayer, more adventurous in service, and how good God is.
After our season together, about half of us returned to participation in their home churches. But the experience had a deep impact on several of us: we still valued our connections to traditional local churches but we could not return to church as usual. We continued meeting as the Fellowship of Believers Missional Community, an ongoing micro-church based at a home in the Southridge neighborhood of Jacksonville, focused on discipleship, service, and doing life together. Shortly thereafter, we started another meeting near CR210 in St. John’s County. Together, the group formed First Coast Missional Communities. We want to do life together as we follow Jesus, blessing our neighbors and serving our city.
We are developing rhythms of doing life together around fellowship and worship, discipleship and mission. To give you a sense of what it looks like: On Sunday, some of us see each other at worship services offered by other churches. On Mondays many of us serve at Young Lives. On Wednesdays, some of us get together to learn tools and skills for discipleship (we call these “huddles”). One Saturday a month, we all try to get together for worship (Faith Community Church generously gives us a space to meet). Another Saturday in the month, we gather for a meal in someone’s home. We have annual traditions, too: a food drive in the Fall, a Good Friday sunrise worship gathering. And then there are the “organic activities”: neighborhood parties, prayer walks, helping one another move or do a home improvement project, and meals, desserts, snacks, and coffee.
In short, it’s become a lot like following Jesus with a family – wonderful and supportive, but very intentional. And our missional community families are open to new people who want to do life together and follow Jesus.
And I should mention: we also pray a lot. We know we are a small group of people who really can’t accomplish. But we serve a great God through whom all things are possible!