Skip to content

Missional Communities series | Post #11

February 21, 2011

One of the great pleasures I have is watching people take some of the basic principles, tools and ideas behind Missional Communities and come up with language of their own.

Tim Catchim (who has a great blog, btw) recently sent over some notes he used within his own community to explain why Missional Communities work so well for groups of 20-50, rather than smaller groups of 6-12. I’ve taken his words and added a bit of my own for this post.


Why do MCs work better for groups of 20-50 instead of missional small groups?

  • Manpower – Missional Communities give you ample human resources to make an impact on your mission focus, whether it’s a neighborhood or a network of relationships.
  • Money – We have to address money as a resource to mobilize for mission, and a group of 20-50 people is ideal for this, supplying enough to channel towards specific projects the group is focusing on. Moreover, since MCs should always have not-yet-Christians joining in on community life, these people are quite willing to give to cause-based projects, but they want them to be big enough to make a difference. This allows them to join in on the mission of God before they’ve come to see their own calling to it.
  • Momentum – Small groups that have a missional bent are small enough to care, but not big enough to dare. With these mid-sized groups, very real momentum is developed because the group is small enough to care but also big enough to dare.
  • Multiplication – Thinning the herd takes less of a toll on a group of 20-50, giving you the optimal number for movement to take place without cutting into the previous 3 M’s mentioned already. Furthermore, rather than experiencing the pain of splitting a small group and losing some of your closest friends, multiplying a MC allows you to continue the journey with your closest friends while still expanding the Kingdom of God.
  • Margins – A group of 20-50 creates a sort of semi-anonymous space in the community for people to hang out in the margins and observe before they move closer in for more in depth participation. A group of 6-12 does not have this kind of space, only intimate space. We need marginal spaces for “observers” to come among us and hang out without being in the spotlight.
6 Comments leave one →
  1. Laurence Keith permalink
    February 21, 2011 4:57 pm

    hi Mike,

    this has all got me thinking… what do you think keeps a missional community – whatever size – missional? is it abotu keeping the focus on the Jesus who was sent, so we define ourselves and our communities by that same philosophy? Something like that?

  2. David permalink
    February 22, 2011 6:46 pm


  3. February 26, 2011 5:21 pm

    I think all of the above is dead on. However, I have never quite gotten why people are so racked up by dividing even small missional groups. Do they think they can’t see each other outside the group or be engaged in other ways.

    My personal experience with smaller, intentional missional groups bears out this “nesting” tendency…I guess it’s just “in us.” BUT, I don’t get why it has to be that way, especially if you are coming back together in worship, etc. at other times.

    Incidentally, have just started into the MC Field Manual…It is excellent. Thank you for your work on that!

  4. February 28, 2011 10:32 pm

    I feel really glad to read this today, just came back from a conference in London where “momentum” was mentioned over and over again. I could see where I was struggling to resource groups as part of my staff role.

    I’ve also missed the multiplication “M”, which I used worked with some 15 years ago.

    In short, this post encouraged someone who was feeling a little weary.
    thank you!


  1. Why Size Matters in Missional Communities — Ben Sternke
  2. Missional Communities series | Final Post «

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: