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Launching Missional Communities | Excerpt #2

September 15, 2010

We are just about to release the book so many people have been waiting for: A practical book on how to launch, sustain, develop and multiply MCs within a church. Super excited.

Here’s the website you can go to for more about the book.

Each week leading up to the release we are posting a short excerpt from the book.

You can read the first excerpt here, which is the Introduction to the book.

Today’s post is in the section of the book called Key Concepts. This section deals with the big ideas, theology, sociology and leadership theory that have shaped the development of MCs in the past 20 years.

Without any further delay, here is today’s excerpt.


You have probably noticed we keep coming back to this idea of the extended family. We see this in historical and biblical analysis, but we also see the extended family emerging in our culture today. People don’t immediately try to rebuild their nuclear family; they rebuild their extended family.

Even with that being said, why not use the number commonly associated with small groups (six to twelve) as the building blocks for communities on mission? Most churches already have small groups. It would be an easy fix. Simply make small groups more missional.

The quick and easy answer is that we did. More than twenty years ago, this path was the first one we walked down. For several years, we experimented, tweaked, maneuvered, and cajoled our small groups into being more missional. Sometimes it worked, but most of the time it didn’t. In the few cases when it did work, the multiplication of the small group was incredibly painful, and no one wanted to grow the group again only to have to go through the multiplication process once more. In the end, we found that, when trying to make small groups missional, one of two things happened:

1) They often refused the call and continued to stay inwardly focused, or

2) There was never enough momentum due to the size, and burnout soon ensued.

Furthermore, the latest research on small groups shows that, at best, the top small groups can multiply only three times and then the group is done. People refuse to do it again; it’s simply too painful. And that’s before we’ve even added a mission focus to the group.

What we have found is that small groups of six to twelve are important, but they simply aren’t the best size for doing mission and growing a group on their own. There is something almost magical about the extended family size, something that just clicks with groups growing to twenty to fifty.

This section, Part 3, explains why that’s the case. What comes to the surface is that it isn’t simply a cultural snapshot of what is happening right now. It’s how we are and have always been hardwired as human beings.

We can’t help but re-create the extended family.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Laurie permalink
    September 16, 2010 6:49 pm

    In my experience this re-creation of the extended family is exactly what happens. Our friends from communities decades ago are still our family. Even recently this came up as we were talking with our 12 year old daughter about whether she thought we should change some of our involvement in our Missio Lux community, perhaps become a part of the families with teens community since she is the oldest child in our current community of families with elementary age kids. Usually not one to get too worked up about things, she became very emphatic that it was not an option because even though the younger kids in our community can drive her absolutely crazy (and sometimes she complains about them on the way home in the car) they were like her cousins. She said, “Cousins don’t always get along, but it is not like they are just not going to be your cousins anymore!”

  2. September 22, 2010 9:42 am

    Just so you know, there are a few wordpress plugins that will automatically send the title & URL of a new blog post to your twitter feed so you don’t have to think about it.

  3. Neal Goodwin permalink
    October 6, 2010 11:30 am

    This book sounds great, can’t wait to get hold of a copy. Any idea when it will be released in the UK?

    • October 6, 2010 12:28 pm

      We’re working out the details of the UK, but in the mean time, when it’s released you’ll be able to purchase it from the 3DM website and it’ll be shipped over.


  1. Launching Missional Communities | Excerpt #3 « Mike Breen's blog
  2. Launching Missional Communities | Excerpt #4 « Mike Breen's blog
  3. Launching Missional Communities | Excerpt #5 « Mike Breen's blog
  4. Launching Missional Communities | Excerpt #3 | Mike Breen

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