Tag: missional community

4 Reasons I’m Excited about the GCM Conference!

Here are four reasons why I’m excited about the GCM Collective Conference, which is just two months away Oct 28-30!

(1) Practioner-tested Missional Community Training: There’s a lot of talk about missional communities but few are planting, multiplying, and leading missional communities with time tested results. Drawing on years of experience, many of the breakouts specialize in training people in missional community leadership. Whether you have missional communities or not, these breakouts will equip you to lead a more missionally effective church.

(2) Top Notch Theological Reflection on Mission: With the emergence of the Missional Church, do we truly know the state of mission in America? Who do we need to engage with the Gospel? How can we engage them effectively? Are there missional structures and approaches to discipleship that have proven effective? Ed Stetzer and Jeff Vanderstelt will address these issues from the stage, while breakouts push these insights through into everyday practice.

(3) The Collective Experience: The Collective experience has the power to equip and galvanize gospel movement well beyond the conference! It groups missional leaders together who share an affinity in their mission, i.e. megachurches, urban context, small church plants, house churches, suburban context, helping them to process GCM conference content through their similar challenges and experiences. This shared learning will encourage and strengthen people in their mission. Plus, an online community will be available for the shared learning to continue!

(4) The Centrality of the Gospel in Mission: The conference will not make best practice central to mission but our grasp and communication of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! We will devote an entire plenary to clarifying what the Gospel is. In confusing times, this will help us clarify and clasp this remarkable good news we have been entrusted with.

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……..

Who Influenced You Toward Missional Community?

At the GCM Community Site, D Thompson of the Verge Network is asking a couple questions to gather missional community information for the next Exponential Conference. Head over a drop your two cents!

  • Who/what has influenced you to pursue missional communities?
  • What books, authors, thought leaders, voices, churches, etc. have influenced you the most with respect to missional communities?

If you get directed to a registration page, just register so you can get in on the tons of helpful conversations going on behind the GCM Collective website. There are some great insights and comradery building there!

Sunday Services Aren’t Enough

In Austin City Life, we like to say that City Groups are where the church is the church to one another and to the city. This kind of “church” is rare. Unfortunately, much of American ecclesiology has devolved into an inflexible structure that facilitates attendance—a church building. Church equals building or Sunday service. This defective ecclesiology approaches “church” as an event not as a people. Tim Chester and Steve Timmis offer a helpful corrective: “Church is not two events during the week. It is a gospel-centered community on mission.”[1] City Groups are meant to facilitate gospel-centered community on mission. They are where we can be church to one another and the city.

Why Sunday Isn’t Enough

While Sunday gatherings of the church are important, they are an incomplete experience of what the New Testament describes as church. It is impossible to carry out Paul’s “one another” instructions to the church in the context of an hour and a half on a Sunday morning. Therefore, we need some kind of structure to facilitate loving one another, bearing one another’s burdens, encouraging one another, forgiving one another, forbearing with one another, weeping with those who weep and rejoicing with those who rejoice. City Groups are meant to facilitate this kind of “life together.”[2] They are flexible church structures designed to facilitate the people of God living out their intended life together. While City Groups are not a “purer” expression of church than Sunday gatherings, they are a much-neglected expression of church in North America.

Steady State Community

What then does “life together” look like? City Groups are encouraged to view church, not as two events during the week, but as a steady state of community.[3] Instead of seeing community as something that primarily happens during a meeting, we need to adjust ourselves to see all of life as community. Steady state community is a constant flow of social, gospel, and missional connections throughout the week. It’s not adding special “community building” events to your already full calendar. It’s inviting people into your existing calendar. Invite people into your life not just to your City Group meetings.

*This is an excerpt from my forthcoming book: City Groups: Gospel-centered Missional Community.