Foundations for MCs: Communities of Good News
Today we continue our series on Foundations for Missional Communities, the titles of which are taken from our latest book, Leading Missional Communities. Previous posts have been:
- Communities of Discipleship
- Extended Families on Mission
- Finding the Person of Peace
- Organised and Organic
Today we continue thinking about how we are Communities of Good News.
Missional Communities exist to draw people to Jesus and see them transformed in community to become disciples of Jesus as they follow him. So in launching a Missional Community we need to think deeply about the Gospel and how we are going to share it with those we are seeking to reach.
The Gospel isn’t just about salvation, as important as that is, but is about living a life in relationship with God. We are called into a relationship with God (Covenant) and a responsibility of telling others about him (Kingdom). When this is central to the vision of our Missional Community it will change lives.
What is the good news for your Missional Community?
Teaching salvation is only part of the gospel. We need to become ‘a family on mission’ sharing all that the gospel means. This requires commitment, love and patience among other things.
We may put a lot of activity into creating community and family and work hard at inviting people in, but do we take the opportunities to share the whole of the good news of Jesus in a simple way? Encouraging people to move fully into all aspects of what it means to be a disciple?
“The church exists for nothing else but to draw men into Christ, to make them little Christs. If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself, are simply a waste of time. God became man for no other purpose”. C.S. Lewis.
As we take the opportunities that open up to us we need to remember what we learn from Jesus’ teaching and the New Testament writers. Life in the Kingdom of God is available now to everyone through trusting Jesus. The good news is that you can begin a new kind of life with God now by placing your trust in Jesus and his words. It’s an invitation to participate now in the life of God, joining him in what he’s doing right now on earth.
In establishing our Missional Community we need to ask ourselves questions such as:
- How can we live out the message of Jesus and talk about it effectively?
- How do we show and tell people the good news of Jesus?
- What is the good news to this group of people?
We have seen that when Missional Communities have strategically planned special events to reach their friends and community, for example at Christmas, that they have made a real impact. One MC, primarily for Adults with Learning Difficulties, reached out to their friends and carers by acting out the Christmas Story as it was read from the Bible. All those taking part saw aspects of the Gospel that they hadn’t seen before. Some of the parents and carers began to understand why the leaders were running the MC and it began to open up more opportunities to share the gospel with them. They became much more a part of the MC.
Another who through the Angel Tree project, bought and wrapped presents for the children of prisoners at a local prison. They raised some of the money for these presents from the local community, which when the prison was built were very opposed to it. This project began a process of better understanding between the prison and the local community. They were all blown away with the response, which was talked about through the next year.
So what does it mean for a Missional Community to share the Gospel?
It is offering an invitation to people for them to participate in the life of God. To join him in what he’s doing right now on earth. Life under God’s rule is available to anyone who wants it, and we enter that life by trusting Jesus – that’s the good news that Jesus and the apostles preached. Of course it includes forgiveness of sins, but also so much more than that. Simply put Missional Communities are families on mission who are following Jesus together, telling others “all about this new life” (Acts 5:20) and inviting others to follow Jesus with them. Missional Communities are Gospel communities, where the good news of Jesus is embodied and proclaimed.
Jenny Rosser lives in Durham with her husband David. They have been involved in the development and implementation of Missional Communities for the past 11 years.