Month: July 2010

Develop Missional Leaders in your Community

The GCM Collective Conference

GCM Collective Conference 2010: The GCM Collective will be hosting their first GCM Conference in Austin, TX this October, bringing together church planters, pastors, and leaders to collaborate on the practice of missional communities. This three-day conference will feature main and breakout sessions under the theme of GOSPEL, COMMUNITY and MISSION.

Speakers: Ed Stetzer, Steve Timmis, Jeff Vanderstelt, Caesar Kalinowski, David Fairchild, Drew Goodmanson and Jonathan Dodson.

More breakout and conference details coming very soon! Keep an eye on the site for updates!

The Porterbrook Network

The Porterbrook Network has launched a two year program for local churches to train up leaders. Porterbrook Learning helps Christians learn how to serve Jesus and his people better — whether they are church leaders, church planters, or simply Christians wanting to become more mission-focused. The course is flexible and has been designed to be integrated with your whole Christian life in whatever context you’re serving. It’s not theology for theology’s sake: the course is written by practitioners for practitioners.  http://www.porterbrooknetwork .org/

Gospel Centered Discipleship.com

Check out the new website: www.gospelcentereddiscipleship.com!

This is just the beginning of a discipleship resource site. We will be adding new books and resources this year. It currently features Fight Clubs, a way to promote grace-driven discipleship in your life and church. Some of the current features include:

  • Blog, Twitter, and Resources page that include articles, audio, & video.
  • An IN CHURCHES page that links to examples of other churches implementing Fight Clubs.
  • Preview the Book, order a Sign, or check out the FAQ.

What a Missional Community Isn’t

The missional leaders of Soma Communities, Jeff Vanderstelt and Caesar Kalinowski, have helpfully distinguished missional communities from various other church structures by stating what they are not.[1] In their helpful document, “Building Missional Communities” they state that a Missional Community is NOT primarily:

  • A Small Group
  • A Bible Study
  • A Therapy Group
  • A Socially-Minded Small Group
  • A Weekly Meeting
  • A Cell Group

This is both clarifying and intriguing. What then is a missional community? While missional communities contain aspects of these types of groups, they are not defined by one of these characteristics alone. Missional communities do study the Bible, often reflecting on a sermon or a passage of Scripture. They do provide gospel-centered counsel (not therapy) for one another. They are socially minded and socially active, frequently engaging the social needs in their part of the city. They do meet numerous times a month for a more formal gathering, but their community is not restricted to a meeting. Like a cell group, City Groups are evangelistic; however, they practice evangelism within a much larger understanding of mission and nature of the church.

What then is a missional community? A Missional community is a local community that gathers and scatters throughout the week to share and show the gospel of Jesus Christ in their cities (towns, villages, or suburbs). They are where the church can be the church to one another and the city. Missional communities are shaped by three primary elements—Gospel, Community, and Mission.[2]


[1] Vanderstelt and Kalinowski, “Building Missional Communities.” I have adapted their list. See www.gcmcollective.com/resources for more.

[2] This post is an excerpt from the chapter, “What is a Missional Community?” in my forthcoming book on this topic.

Non-Christians in Christian Community? (Pt 1)

This is a guest post from Nate Navarro, Director of Missional Community at Austin City Life and Co-Director at Music For The City.

The second time I ever met my friend Jonathan Dodson it was at Austin Java over a good cup of coffee. He was telling me that he was starting a church where Christians and Non-Christians would be in community together and would work together for the good of the city.

I was intrigued to say the least. Here’s a story to show how this vision can unfold…

Dylan is cool. He is good looking, has the right tattoos, and has the attention of the ladies. He is a fast living Austinite who waits tables for a living.

Dylan was raised  in Dallas and tells stories of growing up in a church where he felt left out, judged, and unloved. As soon as he graduated high school he packed his bags and moved to Austin.

I met Dylan a year ago on a Sunday afternoon and invited him into the house for a beer and to watch some football. He stayed all day long and kept coming back every Sunday night for dinner. On Sunday nights we open our home for dinner. Folks bring their own beverages, and a different person every week cooks up a meal. Some nights there are 10 people, sometimes 20, once we had 35.

After about a month he started asking who all these people were that came over for dinner on Sunday nights,  and “when can I come to this church everyone is talking about?”

What he didn’t realize is that he had been visiting the church, every Sunday night for a month, in our home.

Now it looked more like a chaotic dinner party with lots of food, loud kids running around, and a few empty beer bottles. In reality it was a group of very imperfect Christians, living life together, on mission to love Austin. Soon after that my friend Dylan began to drop in on our Sunday morning gatherings. He occasionally meets me for lunch, and serves alongside me at the nursing home in our neighborhood.

Last month I shared the Gospel with Dylan over a turkey sandwich. We have been friends for more than a year.

I told him that although we are all more broken than we dare admit, in Christ we are more accepted than we could ever imagine. I pleaded with him to see that Jesus offered him perfect love that one night stands could not.

Dylan is skeptical.

My best guess is that he loves our community but does not yet love Jesus. I pray that he will see through the inconsistencies in my life, and in the life of our church, and see how good and perfect Jesus is. I am thrilled to be part of a Christian community where people like Dylan, who struggle to believe, feel welcome, loved, and respected.

And for those reading this and looking for a practical application:

Stop inviting people to your church and start inviting them into your life.

To Be Continued……..