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5-fold and new things | Part Two

June 21, 2010

Aidan: So last post we worked through understanding the 5-fold gifts and why it’s actually necessary to learn each of them, even if it’s not your base.

Mike: Right. And why, even if you don’t have one of the pioneering ones, like the Apostle, Prophet or Evangelist, you still might be called to start something new. It may just be for a season, it may not come as the most natural thing, but you can still be really effective for the Kingdom.

Aidan: So let’s talk about starting a Missional Community. How do you think each type of 5-fold gift would start a Missional Community, keeping in mind that each will bring their particular lens to starting something?

Mike: Great question. Steve Cockram, our good friend Paul Maconochie, Senior Pastor at St Thomas Philadelphia and I have been bouncing around this question for a while now and actually dive into it in the 3rd leg of our two year Learning Community track.

Here’s how we see it playing out.

  • Apostles leading a missional community

Apostle led MCs will usually be highly attractional, orbiting around someone who has loads of charisma and ability to gather others.  Frequently their groups grow the quickest.  Their mode of multiplication is often to split down the middle as a result of the pressure of the speed of growth.  A mature apostle should have the skills to manage such a maneuver, even though it can be fraught with pastoral landmines, as multiplying a MC can be difficult for some relationally.

  • Prophets leading a missional community

Prophets will tend to focus on the mission, but not be quite so evangelistic.  They often go for high visibility, since they desire an incarnational approach to presenting the Gospel.  Generally this means that they and their groups are very radical, often with the highest demands placed upon members.  If you know a group in a tough urban context where there is lots of talk and action about reclaiming the city by their very presence and engagement with the people out on the streets, then that is probably a group with strong prophetic leadership.  Such groups can grow by multiplying, but often they will keep the core team and allow a new work to bud off into a new context.

  • Evangelists leading a missional community

Almost certainly evangelists will love to go straight after the People of Peace in their chosen mission context.  They will identify the gatekeepers to that place and stay with them.  Often you see evangelists literally going out in pairs, finding some People of Peace, building relationships and through them reaching a whole neighborhood that was previously unreached.  Eventually they will look to hand the group on and go into a new context or send out others in twos to do a similar work elsewhere.

  • Teachers leading a missional community

Frequently you will see teachers go into an existing context where the witness for Christ is struggling or almost extinguished.  They will give themselves to model how to live the Christian life, whether in worship, community or mission.  Mature teachers will do this ever so humbly, so it won’t even feel like teaching much of the time.  They will stay for a lengthy season, but many will eventually begin to look for a fresh context requiring their help and then hand on their group.  They will send out new groups who will be characterized by having been thoroughly prepared with a clear model of how to do things.

  • Pastors leading a missional community

Pastors long to bring community transformation, by establishing and then building on long-term relationships.  They highly value the integrity of becoming fully embedded into their context.  This means that while things are not as spectacular at first, they have a slower and longer burn approach to mission.  We have noticed that often this model works especially well in the suburbs.  As relationships are at the heart of everything they do, it can be more difficult for them to multiply, but they do find it easier to grow as a ‘bud’ or ‘shoot’ off a small group of people and perhaps to take what they are doing into a neighboring area (or even neighboring street!).

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