On Leading a Families Missional Community: Part 1
Next month sees the release of our new book ‘Family on Mission’ which we’re really excited about. You can pre-order the book at a reduced price here. As you might have picked up we are also working on some new resources to help those who lead Family-focussed Missional Communities, the first resource being released next month.
Today we wanted to share a few thoughts from Lucy and Andrew Buckley who lead an MC called ‘Kin’ in Sheffield, UK, on their experiences and thoughts about leading a family-focussed MC.
Go at a slower pace
When gathered as families with young kids I have found that we can nearly always do less than I think we can. I am beginning to be at peace with this and trust that it is more important for me to be on the right journey going in the right direction rather than steaming ahead and getting frustrated.
Once a month on a Sunday when our community gathers we eat brunch (using paper plates) pray and worship for up to 15 minutes and then do one missional activity together. There is time to have fun, be together, tidy as we go and gently and patiently support even our youngest members in getting involved. It genuinely feels like we are able to journey a little together with God.
This is different from a year ago when we were meeting together starting with a coffee and thanksgiving activity, doing some worship, selecting from three or four Missional activities and coming back together for a big roast dinner. All this from a three bed terraced house! Small changes to simplify what we do means that we no longer finish the gathering with a house in chaos with no energy left for the rest of the day.
Pacing ourselves, making the life of our Missional Community flow around the natural rhythm and pace of our lives means we are not worn out just with the pace of being family together. I think it is important to have energy for the battles of life, or when life hits one of us hard, or a person of peace needs extra love and prayer. I want to battle the spiritual battles and not be so exhausted by meetings I have nothing left over.
Look at the big picture
It is probably also true of adults, but when kids are involved there is always the chance things will just seem to go “wrong”. Someone feeling off colour, tired, grumpy or just wanting to “have a blue cup and sit next to Jacob” can leave parents feeling stressed and frustrated that the “meaningful spiritual activity” is just not happening.
I have found at times like this it is good to remember that this is a LIFE of discipleship. In this life there will (often?) be times when our children don’t engage with us, God, mission and indeed each other in the ways we had hoped they would. So when our community kids are gathered together for family tea at the end of term and it gets to “that point” when mums look at each other and know now is the time to make a brew and let the kids watch a film together, not a time to discuss ways to serve the poor, or pray or make a worshipful collage then that is what we do!
I remember look at the big picture of ongoing life.
And when my children decide that rather than learning carefully thought out actions to the Lord’s Prayer at morning prayers they would rather run around and build a lego tower, then I will look at the big picture of ongoing life.
And when my children call me downstairs to stand on the window sill to sing me a worship song to God which they have created then I will cry, laugh, praise God and breath a sigh of relief that this spontaneity is also in the big picture of this life of ours.
Next week: Part 2!