Wednesday, February 20, 2013

From Life Group to Missional Community

As we continue our study of The Tangible Kingdom, many of us may have begun to feel a pull to not only be invested in a more missional lifestyle alone, but have sensed the value and the power of being part of a community of people, in this case life groups, committed to being missional together. The study journal for our churchwide study is called The Tangible Kingdom Primer partly because some of us are being primed to make the transition from being apart of a life group to being apart of a missional community.

Life groups at Trinity take many forms and many manifestations. So some life groups may already be very close to what a missional community looks like. In week 1 of the study, we saw a diagram that helped show how a missional community is broader than a small group.

The missional people in this diagram represent the "life group", a committed core of believers who are the leaders and driving force behind the wedge that cuts against cultural values with the values of the Kingdom. This group overlaps with a second group of "sojourners" who are the missional focus of this core. These two groups together form a missional community. A community of people who range from the spiritually curious to the committed Christ follower and while there may be invitations to a traditional church campus most of the community takes place off campus on the soujourner's "own turf" so to speak. The missional community is being the Church rather than directing people to a location called "church".

Through the Tangible Kingdom Primer, we are being primed at how to interact with sojourners, open our homes in hospitality, and become adept at creating community not only with other church goers but places out in the world in desperate need of the good news!

In the past we've had other blog posts, and even a seminar about missional community. The time was not full or ripe then, but as we come to the halfway point of The Tangible Kingdom perhaps you are feeling the pull, the call to transition from life group to missional community or from going at it solo to being a part of community committed to being the Church out in our communities together. If you feel that call now, or experience it as we journey through this study, please contact Pastor Samuel or Pastor Michael expressing your interest, write Missional Community on a Communication Card or comment below.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Community Watering Holes

So far The Tangible Kingdom Primer has been an exciting study for me to be a part of and in addition to the excitement I have to say that it has also been quiet challenging! The first week of the study I took up the challenge to simply converse with a neighbor, but I couldn't find one! Every time I went to my car to go somewhere, or when I got out of my car after returning home, I would look desperately in the 30 seconds it took to get into my house for someone to say hello to. They weren't there! My guess is that they too had a brief window of time in which they were actually outside and available to talk to. That's when I realized that part of being missional and caring about community requires us to adjust our lifestyles! The same way that a missionary to India has to adjust their life around new customs and cultures so also must we as "missionaries" to our communities find the natural community "watering holes."

I've realized now, that in the hours just before the sun sets, my neighborhood has its peak time of activity. That's when most people go on walks with their dogs, their children, each other, and enjoy the cool evening weather that Satellite Beach has to offer. At the same time, the playground in my community becomes really active! I'd been there before with our daughter Sophia and never seen anyone, but when I went at this time of day I met a new neighbor and even ran into someone who attends Trinity! This time and this place is a natural community "watering hole".

Later in the week, at that same time period, I found two of my close neighbors sitting in their driveway enjoying a glass of wine. I met them that evening and found out they had been in our neighborhood for over a year!

Today, I'm writing this week's blog post from the Starbucks off of A1A near Lowe's. This is an even bigger "watering hole" as I've seen dozens of people come and go within the past hour. Some stay for awhile and enjoy their afternoon pick me up and others are here for just a few brief moments. I prayed for a few of them as they came and went.

Part of being missional and being sent is recognizing that we have to adjust our own lifestyles and time tables so that we actually will cross paths with others. We have to incarnationally enter into the rhythms of life of our communities in order to be a part of them whether they be small moments like a neighborhood playground, larger gathering spots like Starbucks, or even city wide like the Satellite Beach City Garage Sale on March 2nd!

What are some of the "watering holes" in your neighborhood? What specific times are community happening near you? How can you adjust your life to share a little of yourself and your time with others?