How to…multiply your missional community
How easy is it to multiply a Missional Community? Given our title it could be assumed that it is a simple and straightforward process. In one way it is but in another there are some obstacles to overcome.
The principle of multiplication needs to be part of the DNA of all missional communities from the very beginning. Without it the process will be much harder than it needs to be. A reluctance to multiply limits vision and can lead to a community becoming inward looking and stagnating. In multiplying a missional community the first obstacle to overcome is not a practical one. Rather it is an emotional one. A group that has spent time together on mission and have learned to love one another as they live out the vision of the community are naturally very close and often reluctant to see some of their friends go off to form a new community. However this is something that has to be overcome.
If we build in the principle of multiplication from the beginning we will encourage the development of more missional leaders. Our expectation was that at some point all of our missional communities would multiply and we challenged leaders accordingly. As your missional community matures you will begin to identify those who could lead a new community. Training and development for them is important and being part of a huddle* is essential.
Are you huddling, apprenticing and developing new missional leaders?
Vision is essential in the establishment of any missional community and so it is with multiplication. Multiplication for its own sake is not enough. Those who are going to lead the new community must have a clear call from God and have a vision and purpose. When you as the leader are approached by someone who wants to share what they believe is a call from God to begin a new community – rejoice. Don’t see it as a threat. The fact that people in your community are listening to God’s call to step out is a positive sign of life and growth. Obviously the vision needs to be weighed and shared with the leadership team before it is released to others.
Are you asking new leaders the question ‘What is God saying to you?’
How you enable the sharing of that vision in your community is important. It needs to be positive and affirming and not reluctant. Encourage those who want to explore this new vision to talk to both you as the leader and those who are to lead the new community. Stress that this is growth and new life not the diminishing of the existing group. Celebrate both the new and the existing. We have found that releasing a new community with prayer and celebration ensures that everyone sees it as a positive thing.
Are you looking to release new leaders and see new Missional Communities started?
If you are looking for and expecting multiplication it will be much easier to handle in your missional community. Be positive about it. Encourage it. Rejoice and celebrate when it happens.
David Rosser lives in Durham with his wife Jenny. They have been involved in the development and implementation of missional communities for the past 11 years.
* A huddle is a small group of leaders who meet regularly for intentional discipleship and skills development. See ‘Building a Discipleship Culture’ for more information (ebook version available here)