Real Life Discipleship: Rhythm of Life
If MC’s are about people living life alongside each other and sharing life together, then it’s only natural that we should expect to see the “rhythms” of our lives reflected in this shared journey. We’ve talked about shared rhythms before in terms of eating, praying and hanging out together etc, but there’s also something important about sharing life in a community in a way that reflects the “seasons” of life communities are in.
Here are a few simple things I’ve noticed in Missional Communities over the past year or two:
#Seasons of life
It’s important that an MC has a rhythm that reflects the season of life for those involved. As some of the key members of a local young adult community have moved in to a new season of life, having children for example, we have noticed that the shared rhythms of meeting on week nights will become more of a challenge. The community leaders have started to look at what a more appropriate rhythm is, both for them and those they are wanting to draw in to the community. This has meant doing a Sunday morning gathering during the month instead, where those who struggle with late nights and family commitments during the week will find it more accessible! Some of what they do will also reflect this change – so for example rather than a hot meal round the table, eating together (a core value of “oikos” communities) has looked more like bacon rolls and sofas 🙂
As a local leadership team, we have released communities to meet on a Sunday morning as part of their monthly rhythm.
#Seasons of the year
It’s natural for everyone to have some seasons that feel quieter and more restful, and some that feel busier and more full of activity. Sometimes these will also coincide with different holiday/festival seasons like Christmas or summer holidays. If your community is in a particular season of the year, then let the rhythm of the community reflect this!
For example, some communities in a holiday season have had fewer gatherings, due to people being away, but the gatherings that they have had are maybe over a whole afternoon rather than a couple of hours, because it’s more relaxed and people have more time. It’s really important to be led by your People of Peace in this context – what is going to be the most accessible for them in this season of the year? What would most help them to participate in the life of the community at this time?
As well as the natural seasons that our communities may go through, it’s also helpful to identify as community leaders what “spiritual seasons” we might be in. For example, it may be a season where God is drawing you back to spend more time praying together as a community, or perhaps you are in a “training” season where God is wanting you to learn how to try a particular type of mission together. I’ve recently had contact with a Missional Community who are in a strong sowing and connecting season – this has meant that they have spent a lot of time doing things in the local area that mean they have got to know lots and lots of potential people of peace. As a result, they have spent a lot of time out on mission together. They now feel that it may be a time to slow down and try to develop specific key relationships with those that are open to Jesus, which will mean investing in fewer relationships, but at a deeper level. This will be reflected in their rhythm, as they reduce how much time they spend “going out”, instead spending more time inviting people to “come in” closer and share more of their lives with them.
MC’s are living things – every living thing experiences seasons, so our MC’s shouldn’t be any different! Rhythms are an expression of the life of MC’s so will always be influenced by the season we are in.
I’d encourage you to have a little think about your MC. What seasons are represented, in terms of:
- Season of life?
- Season of the year?
- Spiritual season?
How do you feel that your rhythms reflect this?
Simon Ford lives in Sheffield, is part of the King’s Centre Church and works for 3dm UK. He has been part of and led various young adult and workplace-focussed missional communities over the last 9 years.