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Missional Community series | Post #7

February 7, 2011

We’ve dug this post out of the archives, but it’ll be important to cover this as we move into some new territory in our next post.

Here’s the general premise: Depending on your base gifting from Ephesians 4 (you were created as either a Pastor, Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist or Teacher), you will lead your Missional Community differently than other people with a different base gift. In other words, if you’re naturally an Apostolic leader, they way you start, lead, sustain and multiply your MC will be very different than someone who is, say, a Teacher. And it should be that way!

So what are we tackling in this post?
How does each base tend to lead Missional Communities?
SO…here we go.

  • 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!).

In our next post we’ll look at this in a slightly different light, trying to understand what immature versions of these gifts might look like in Missional Communities.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. jeffandwendy permalink
    February 7, 2011 9:54 pm

    Does the group’s modeling of the leadership’s personality happen primarily because (as you said in post #1) the leaders are in “fathering” mode? Is it possible for groups to operate with a different mode of leadership? Maybe like a facilitator amongst peers? If so do you think the group will still follow the facilitator’s personality? (This is a bigger question than I realized when I first started writing…sorry about that.)

    • February 8, 2011 2:15 pm

      As we know, leaders create culture and leaders are going to create a culture out of who they are. The vision they gave and the “plan” for accomplishing the vision in the MC will be reflective of their unique shaping (apostle, teacher, pastor, evangelist or prophet). However, the most gifted MC leaders are the ones who are able to bring each of these ministry gifts to the table and release them in their MCs. So if they are a prophet, the group is always going to have more of a prophetic bent. But if they are a competent leader, they will operate more as an orchestra conductor where they bring the best out of each of their section leaders. So in this way, all of the gifts are at work together even as someone with a specific gift is leading.

      • jeffandwendy permalink
        February 8, 2011 2:18 pm

        I think the picture of a symphony conductor is beautiful. Thank you for expanding on your thoughts.


  1. APEST and Leading a Missional Community | The Blind Beggar
  2. Missional Communities series | Post #9 «
  3. Missional Communities series | Final Post «

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