A missional community works among its local community and social networks to sow the gospel, reap the harvest and engage converts in discipleship.
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None of us felt like an evangelist when we started. But after 10 months of being part of a missional community, we’re starting to see its fruits in our faith and in the lives of those God is connecting to us.
The idea is simple. Rather than trying to serve in congregational ministry and do evangelism on the side, small teams are released from serving in other areas to focus on local mission.
This requires meaningful connections with individuals. As people come to faith, the missional community connects them to the church for ongoing discipleship. We trust God is already working in the lives of not-yet-believers and our role is to prayerfully discern where to join in.
Our congregation – Immanuel Lutheran Church, Woden Valley, in Canberra – is one of the LCA’s ‘Sending Churches’, supported by Church Planting Mentor and Mission Facilitator Dean Eaton. Immanuel has three missional communities representing different age demographics.
During the week my team members Jacob, Kate, Aiden and I work in our normal jobs, open to opportunities to talk with people. We also catch up with a couple of people weekly for lunch.
On evenings and weekends we include not-yet-believers in what we’re doing socially, again aiming to take opportunities God provides to talk more about him.
We also attend a monthly board games session at the local library to connect with people. And we go on regular prayer walks around our local community.
Each Sunday before church we meet to debrief. We spend time dwelling in the word, and pray for one another and those we’re trying to reach. We also meet regularly with our pastor.
It has been exciting to realise local mission is about being part of what God is doing, rather than trying to force things. We’ve also learned the importance of recognising where people are at on their journey. For those ready to investigate, a gospel presentation is helpful. But for those further away from God, it’s too soon. Dean Eaton’s book, SENT: Seeking the Orphans of God, has been really helpful.
We still don’t feel much like evangelists – we’re a bunch of ordinary Christians trying to muddle through and hoping God will use us. Thank God he has a long history of using ordinary people to grow his kingdom. Perhaps he’s challenging you to form a missional community, too …
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