How to…start a Missional Community

In previous blogs we have looked at many of the principles and activities that go into the life of a Missional Community. As we look at some of the steps we need to take in starting an MC I am assuming that it is all being done with the agreement and blessing of the leadership of the church.

athletics track lanesStarting a Missional Community isn’t just a matter of going through a check list of tasks. There are practical steps that need to be taken as you begin, but they follow later in the process. As we have started MCs and helped others to start them the first thing we have done is ask a couple of questions. Those questions are:
  • What is God saying to YOU?
  • What is on your heart?
  • What are you passionate about?
Missional Communities are vision and passion led.

Over the past few years of leading and observing MCs we have identified that a clear vision and sense of calling have been a key factor to determine whether we see breakthrough in establishing a community.

In his book ‘The Forgotten Ways’ Alan Hirsch writes challengingly:

‘The most vigorous forms of community are those that come together in the context of a shared ordeal or, communities who define themselves as a group with a mission that lies beyond themselves – thus initiating a risky journey. Over-concern with safety and security, combined with comfort and convenience have lulled us out of our true calling and purpose.’

So for me the first step in starting an MC is to LISTEN. Listen to what God is saying to you. As you listen to God you might want to ask yourself a number of questions:
  • What is my heart’s desire? What do I long to see happen?
  • What do I ache for? What do I hope for?
  • What is my holy discontent? What do I long to see changed?
As you listen to God you will DISCERN.
  • Who am I called to?
  • Where am I called to?
This is followed with LOOKING and LISTENING.
  • Where are the opportunities to love and serve?
  • Where are the people and places of peace?
  • Where can we be good news to people?
  • What does good news look like to people?
As your vision for the MC becomes clearer you will need to write it down and share it with others who you see as potential leaders with you. Having refined and defined your vision and gathered a team who share your vision, you can begin to look at some of the other key principles that go into a Missional Community. Others have written about these in more detail but I do want to emphasise two.

Firstly ensure that the UP/IN/OUT principles are central to the life of your MC. Secondly make your MC Lightweight and Low maintenance. (For the 5 Essential Ingredients of a Missional Community see Mike Breen’s post from 3DM US.)

You are now ready, or as ready as you will ever be, to start your MC. Having a clear vision and knowing who and where you are called to will help answer the practical questions of where and when to meet.

So what do you do?

Just get going. Step out in faith and enjoy the adventure.

One of the promises that God gave us as we went on this journey is from Exodus 33:14 ‘My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’
david and jenny rosser

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.

Image courtesy of mack2happy /