Why Missional Communities?
As one reads the New Testament, it becomes clear that Jesus’ model for making disciples was in community. He called 12 disciples to follow and learn from him. He taught them the basics of who he was and what he was sent to do. They accompanied Jesus as he embarked on his mission, modeling it to his community of disciples. Each day, they engaged him with questions. He provided answers, encouragement, challenge, and (occasionally) a well-timed rebuke. The transparent community life they shared helped each disciple learn and grow.
When they were ready, Jesus sent them out – not individually, but in pairs – to put what they learned to practice. After trying, they returned to Jesus and hashed out their experiences as a group. There, they discussed their missionary efforts with the Master as a community. Each learned from the others successes and failures.
After Jesus’ resurrection and ascension, the early church formed and functioned in community. They evangelized, made disciples, and met needs as a community. Later, the Holy Spirit inspired the Apostle Paul to write (frequently) about the essential nature of the church in community. He likened it to a unified body, made up of diverse parts – each essential to the other in order to function properly. The Spiritual gifts listed in Eph. 4 describe a divine design of those mature in Christ edifying those younger in the faith into full maturity.
Based on the model of Jesus and the Holy Spirit’s work in the early church, the concept of a missional community (smaller house church) embarking on mission together is clear. So why would the modern church in America gather on Sunday for worship, yet scatter as individuals to do the work of the kingdom. As Mike Breen writes, “Even when Jesus sent the disciples to get a donkey, he sent two of them.”
We believe that the Missional Community is essential to make disciples of Jesus. They gather in unity around Christ, the church, and a shared mission within their city. There, they also bring a diversity of backgrounds, spiritual gifts, talents, and seasons of life experiences – all of which are needed to bring good news to unbelievers and disciple them into a mature followers of Jesus.