Where’s the Spirit in Missional Communities?

00 If you’re familiar with the lively soundscape of a modern worship set or a historic setting with breath-taking liturgy or the delivery of an inspiring sermon then a Missional Community can be a bit of a, well… let down. Some entering into a Missional Community go through a transition. When your senses are atuned to these channels it’s natural to expect to feel a certain way in church.  Our eyes and ears are accustomed to the obvious most blatant signs that “something spiritually dynamic is happening”. Without these channels it can be difficult to decipher the whereabouts of the Holy Spirits activity.  Emotional Expectations On the surface there’s nothing spectacular about 20, 30 or 40 people doing ho-hum activities together; eating, conversing, singing (without bells and whistles), serving (without much fanfare),dialogical teaching (with interruptions and questions). I’m being a bit sarcastic but I’m attempting to poke at a real emotional occurance for people when they enter into this simplified, raw, relational way of being the church.  In a Missional Community many of the dynamics that sparked an expressive return may not be there for orientation. Many aren’t aware of their emotional expectations until they begin to feel unmoved by […]

Becoming a Community Diagnostician

00A formative book for me has been “Life Together” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  It painted a breathtaking vision of community that has been lodged in my mind for the last decade.   As a church planter though, I quickly realized how un-sexy the process of shaping and sustaining Missional-Community is in contrast to the surreal vision swirling around in my head. Here’s a promise: the romanticism around this burgeoning approach to church planting will soon fade under the real hands-on work of cultivating routine community. I’ve journeyed through a “crashing-to-earth-process” after detoxing from years of devouring leadership books combined with reading stories of modern monastic communities, realizing people are not pieces to be used for my preferred utopian dreams.  Our pictures of perfection need to be grounded and humbled.  Idealism can be the un-verbalized fuel for disappointment surrounding the concept of community.  The Fragility of Community It’s tempting to talk about community in abstract terms but when practiced those abstract ideals have very little traction.  The disarming reality around fostering community is the ever present vulnerability and fragility of it.  My observance is that maintaining vibrant community is even harder than active missionality.  Christine D. Pohl said in a recent lecture “this truth […]