We do three things: 1) Gather for worship, 2) try to launch healthy missional communities, and 3) train people for leadership in missional communities.
But what about the other things churches do: pot-luck dinners? youth group? children’s programs? disaster-relief offerings? Let me be clear: those are all good things. So why don’t we do them?
It’s not that the “what about?”s aren’t good. For example, “What about church-wide pot luck dinners?” Personally, I love pot luck dinners. But a church wide pot-luck takes a lot of energy to set-up, organize, and put together. Things like that happen in missional communities. In a missional community, it’s a small matter, administratively speaking. It happens almost organically. A leader says, “Hey everybody, next week, I’ll light the grill. Bring your meat and a side dish to share.” Voila – it’s done.
“But what about kids and youth?” That’s the one I hear the most. Many of us starting this church have kids and we want them to be discipled in the way of Jesus Christ. The first part of that answer is that Missional Communities are intergenerational. So kids are already included in much of what we do – so they learn naturally from the older folks – and you may or may not be surprised that the older folks learn from the kids, too. And I think you might be surprised at how children add to the experience of a missional community.
Also, there are many churches that do a great job with kids and youth. That’s the route my wife and I have taken as part of the discipleship plan for our kids. Our younger two kids are out Wednesday nights. Our high school age son drives himself to youth group at one of our partner churches. We are hoping to organize a missional community that meets when they are busy.
And finally, who is to say that a missional community will not form around reaching youth or children? MCs have a great deal of autonomy and a responsibility to be open to God’s leading. God loves kids. I would not be at all surprised to see God pull together an MC for youth or for children.
But one more: many churches organize relief efforts especially when natural disasters hit. We would certainly be open to taking up an offering for disaster relief at our Sunday gatherings. That’s part of what our worship celebrations – remembering that God loves the world around us. But I wouldn’t be surprised to see particular missional communities take the lead on things like that. The Bible speaks of coming together to spur one another to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:25). Missional Communities are good at that sort of thing.