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Missional Communities Series | Post #1

January 12, 2011

One of the things that we’re constantly trying to do is give different handles, lenses and angles for people to see and understand Missional Communities. (If you’re unfamiliar with MCs and you’d like a quick look at what they are, check out this Wikipedia article).

Over the next 3-4 months, I’m going to do a series of posts that really get into Missional Communities. We’ll have stories of how people are using them in the United States. We’ll take some time to answer questions that people have been asking on this blog for the past month or two. We’ll give a few ideas of how to start different kinds of Missional Communities. (For instance, what are some ways to start them in government housing projects in the city, in suburbia, for teenagers, for artists, etc). I want to spark your imagination for all that Missional Communities can do when the Spirit is at work. It’s certainly not meant to be exhaustive, more just throwing various ideas, handles, interviews and stories out there. Hopefully some of it really connects with you or might be language that could help the community you are in.

Our first post is actually quite simple. It’s short and to the point.

My very good friend, Keld Dahlmann, is the senior pastor of Aarhus Valgmenighed in Aarhus, Denmark. Brilliant leader and thinker and has been wonderfully successful in pioneering new missional models in Denmark. He has spent a lot of time thinking about what it means to create a spiritual oikos (in Greek, oikos means “household,” so what the NT is referring to with churches were households on mission together). Obviously, Missional Community is simply a spiritual household on mission together. That’s it.

Create an extended family on mission, then invite people into family life.

Keld has come up with 6 simple, but very accessible principles for creating an oikos.

Here is what they are:

1. Shared vision (What do we exist for? In other words, in what way is this community going to bring heaven to earth?)

2. Shared resources

3. Extended family (= more than a nuclear family, we’d say a minimum of 15-20 people, max of 50)

4. Mom/Dad (leaders in “fathering” mode)

5. Prayer

6. Common meal

*One of the things God has been speaking to me a lot about lately is the desperate need to create these extended families that really are experiencing radical community together. I think these principles are an excellent lens to use and give people when evaluating/creating the community you’re a part of.

16 Comments leave one →
  1. January 12, 2011 5:19 am

    Loved the beauty of the phrase, “Missional Community is simply a spiritual household on mission together. That’s it.” Looking forward to the forthcoming posts on the various forms of MC’s.

    Something I’ve learned from failure over the past year is that I can’t create it. I want it (radical, biblical, community) SO BAD…and yet there is a Spirit-led dance, a rhythm I’m still learning to let move me. Positionally, I’m convinced that Jesus alone created community when he made us a new people, a family, a body, through His cross & resurrection. Living it, tasting it, singing it, celebrating it, experiencing it for me has been a challenge of letting go. Chesterton gives me hope, “If a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing poorly.” (This may be my epitaph!)

    • January 14, 2011 7:13 pm

      James – those comments about letting go resonate exactly with my experience this last year too. I too have found that this happens on the Spirit’s timing and not because of my striving. A steep learning curve… here’s to “doing things…poorly” in 2011!

  2. David Wild permalink
    January 12, 2011 2:35 pm

    Mike, thanks for this, I’m looking forward to the series. The toughest thing I’m struggling with at the moment (relative to the US church more than the UK I think) is that I believe that missional communities will only really fully find their place through some measure of death and rebirth of the “old” church (old=modern, i.e. sunday services, top-down control and accountability, etc). The picture is of the sunflower dying but spreading its seeds. At the same time, as missional communities develop, they will desperately need the resources of the “old” church (its wisdom if not its structures). A tendency I see over here is to think of missional communities as part of the old church structure (rather like fellowship groups but task oriented rather than diverse) which I think is wrong, but at the same time you can’t bootstrap a missional community with no support. So how can you create missional communities, draw on the existing church for resources and support, but not in the process be moulded into a decaying church model?

    • Sherry permalink
      January 25, 2011 7:44 pm

      My thoughts exactly… I see the same things and wonder how can this be done… there are over a hundred churches in my city and there are “too many to count” ministries and outreaches going on but they lacking something and it does not appeal to me… I am at a place in my life where Ican see this type of church but have no resources and no idea how to make this happen.

  3. January 12, 2011 5:24 pm

    Hi Mike,

    Sorry to bother you here. When will the book “Missional communities, a field guide” be available as ebook? Looks promising.

  4. January 12, 2011 7:29 pm

    What resonated for me as we prepare to launch MC’s is the idea of the nuclear family head (Mom & Dad) setting the family mission and MC simply being the invitation and extension of the family through relationships of ‘blood ties’ and affinity.

  5. January 16, 2011 9:56 am

    I found your blog through Verge, and I’m looking forward to this series on your blog.

  6. February 12, 2011 9:33 pm

    I love the initial, core focus on covenant relationships that starts with a vision that leads to community that leafs to the conviction and call of the kingdom’s work.

  7. June 7, 2011 4:54 pm

    Man, officially excited to have found this blog. My wife and I lead a community group in Minneapolis and have some very sympathetic approaches to cultivating the familial ethos. Looking forward to learning here.

  8. January 8, 2014 12:15 am

    I am especially interested in the idea of families on mission together. One thing the church often does is separate families and husbands and wives into groups that never experience Christ and doing mission together. And then how to make part of a family’s experience to pass on faith to our kids and the next generation of leaders for Christ.


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