I met with Rob Wegner of Granger Community Church toward the end of August 2011. Rob was very helpful to me on my insights into Missional communities and the expressions they are developing of this and the transition to Missional communities. The structure of what they are doing is based on 3 forms/expressions of what we have come to be called “Missional communities”. With the three structures they are putting into place they will influence a large portion of their community and surrounding communities.

Their three structures are:

  • Missional communities –(definition)- groups of 20-50 people, a smaller church within the church who live outward beyond themselves in word and deed to their neighborhood, workplace, or pocket of people they are called to.
  • Essential church- exactly same thing as Missional communities but with one exception. They will target the growing 60% who are not in close enough cultural proximity to be reached by our current expression. Ever subculture needs a missionary presence. Essential churches are for those who cannot relate to church and would never darken the door of the institutional church. Essential churches will have the flexibility to create a culturally relevant expression of church for the pocket of people they are called to serve.
  • Missional impulse- people on mission in every sphere of life. This becomes harder to define because it is people on mission which takes a more organic form and may emerge into either a MC or EC.

They have identified 5 key principles which based on both an outward focus and an inward focus:

  1. Strategic small interventions (third place service)- service in any expression beyond the home; in other common places (oikos- temple courts in Acts)
  2. 3 story evangelism – we tend to think of evangelism as either a solo activity or bring em to church event. This focuses on my story, your story, and God’s story for evangelism and how those stories intersect to give a more holistic picture of God’s work in our lives to develop Christ-likeness
  3. Doing life together– know each other’s lives and stories, sharing joys, burdens, needs, strength, resources, time, and money. No one walks alone.
  4. Life transformation groups– think discipleship groups here (triads in our terms) these are based on what Granger calls “breathing patterns” breathing in and breathing out.
  5. Low-Bar MC Meeting– this encompasses both the outward focus and inward focus.

Much of what they have put in place has been developed from other leaders in Missional community planting. Matt Carter has some info which supports some of what is mentioned here and a good definition to understand what a “low-bar” meeting is. http://www.vergenetwork.org/2011/04/05/matt-carter-what-do-missional-communities-do-printable/

So what are your thoughts on missional communities?

Are they something which can be added to a structure that uses small groups or are they better used as a complimentary component to a small group ministry such as a new 501 expression?