It’s OK to Fail

 

clayjarbwHave you read the latest blogpost from the 3DM Leadership Blog?

Learning from Mistakes

 

One of the themes we post on periodically is called ‘When it went wrong…and what we learnt’.  Read these previous posts for more examples of learning through failure!

On Multiplying a Missional Community

Freedom to Fail

On Team

Alan!

 

Changing seasons: what does that mean for our MC?

Well it feels as if Autumn is well and truly underway here in the north of the UK and it’s amazing how quickly the shift of seasons can happen. A week ago our lawn was looking green, now it is covered with a beautiful carpet of orange and brown leaves. I am ignoring the fact that this means we will need to sweep them up soon.

autumnSometimes the shift of season for our Missional Communities feels like it can happen very quickly too.  Perhaps we’ve been enjoying the laid back nature of gathering for fun and relaxed times over the summer and suddenly we’re very aware of how full life has become again for people. Sometimes perhaps we feel like we’ve been praying for a particular breakthrough in our MC and it suddenly happens without any warning and you’re into the next phase of what God wants to do. Instead of lurching from one season to another how should we respond to these shifts?

We may need to re-evaluate several things, including:

  • whether our current rhythms/patterns work for this new season
  • whether it’s a season to call people in or release them out
  • whether to start something new, or stop something – or both!
  • whether it’s a time for waiting on the Lord or acting in response to what He’s saying
  • whether what we’re doing is simple, sustainable and reproducible
  • or many other things

At our church the leaders of one particular MC had been praying and recognising that there was so much leadership potential in the community they wanted to release people to lead in their own God-given vision. At our leaders Learning Community in May they shared that with the room without any real idea of how it was going to happen, other than trusting the Holy Spirit to do it. Fast forward to July and we found ourselves at a final BBQ celebrating 5 years of this MC and praying for the leaders of 2 new communities which have come from it.

This season has been echoed across the church.  3 MCs actually ended in the summer after much prayer and discussion – we joked that we managed to halve the number of MCs we had in just one week!  On the surface, and to those not convinced by MCs, that can look like failure. We have worked hard to communicate messages about seeds dying and going into the ground, about God pruning things for greater fruit, and about how we often need a ‘gap’, uncomfortable as that may be, to give space for new things to grow and develop.

And, praise God, they are. We have had 2 new communities launch this week, and another 2 in the pipeline for the next few weeks and we are having lots of conversations with people about vision that God is stirring in them for new things. We are eager to see what God is doing with them.   Alongside that we are running something we are calling Basecamp – a 7-week series of evenings going back to basics and exploring things like our vision & values, covenant & kingdom, family on mission, people of peace, discipleship and exploring personal vision (we actually pinched the idea from King’s Church Warrington – thanks guys!)  We are calling all those who are either ‘in-between’ MCs, new to the church or just want to put aside the space to hear what God is saying to join us.  We are excited about what new visions and connections between people will emerge.

What about you? What kind of season is your MC in? Or your church?  What is God saying about how you need to respond to that? Don’t be afraid of making the uncomfortable decisions if necessary. 

Helen Askhelen-a-picew lives in Harrogate, North Yorkshire along with her two children and husband Ben who is as a Pioneer Curate in the Church of England.  She has been part of and led Missional Communities for over 14 years. They work for Kairos Network Church, an Anglican Fresh Expression, and are also involved with 3DM Europe.

Does Summer means 6 weeks off from being a Missionary?

 

We’ve nearly made it to the end of another school year.  Last night our team celebrated their final Kidz Klub before the summer holidays.  They’ve worked hard and it is rightly time to look back and celebrate what God has done and look forward to a break from some of the tasks.  So does that mean the team take six weeks off from being missionaries?

Rest is not the opposite of mission.  

Yes some of the tasks will stop, yes it is rightly a time for slower rhythms of life, but no we don’t stop being missionaries.   If we think mission equals events then we need to take a break from constant activity, hence stopping Kidz Klub for the summer.  But as we learn mission is not just event but lifestyle, we have discovered that rest is an important part of our mission.

sunflowerMission includes inviting others into our patterns of rest.

If we embrace slower rhythms of life while remaining embedded in our community then we don’t take 6 weeks off from being missionaries, we have 6 weeks of being missionaries summer style.

What might it look like for you and your community to be summer style missionaries?  Here are a couple of suggestions to get you thinking.  Of course you know your group best and will need to think creatively about what works for your context.

  • Meet in the Park
In term time I meet with local parents and toddlers for a stay and play type group.  Over the summer instead we are meeting at a local cafe followed by a local play park.
Think creatively about when and where you meet out over the summer. 

  • Using your gardens
Sit around together on a summer evening in a garden with low structure.  Time to remind ourselves what God has done in the past year and dream about the future.  Time to catch up with each other and the things the matter to each of us.  This is my plan for our gathering tomorrow evening.

Perhaps pick a night of the week you will gather informally in a garden to have a drink, pray and catch up.

  • Walk the Streets
In the holidays we’re going to make sure we include some time outside around our neighbourhood with our daughter each day.  Nothing radical here, nothing hard work here, but surprisingly easy not to get round to.

The long light evenings make this a great time of year to walk around the block after work and before dinner.  Catch up with neighbours  you know or make new friends.

Two mistakes
What is your tendency?  
Some groups seek to sustain the life by continuing as if nothing has changed.  The danger is these groups over stretch themselves with fewer resources during the summer weeks and arrive at September exhausted.  If this is your current plan think carefully about how you can make your gatherings more lightweight.  There are likely to be some things you need to not do.  Make sure you have less events to organise over the summer.

Or do you stop entirely?  This can leave people lonely and isolated, particularly those not in nuclear families or on the edge of the community.  If you recognise this then think about what are the lightweight ways you could maintain relationships.  Make sure you have some times of rest where others know that they are invited and welcome to join you.

 

Rest is a vital component of a missional lifestyle – how will you and your community be missionaries summer style?

jenny irvine

 

Jenny Irvine, together with her husband Gareth and young daughter Jessica, lead a missional community base called Saint Aidan’s in the north of the city of Coventry.  They’ve taken a small team of young adults with them, to live as in incarnational community focused around prayer and mission.  They are currently involved in Kidz Klub which works with children from challenging housing estates, and visit about 30 families each week on the estate where they live.