Real Questions: Making MCs ‘seeker-friendly’?
Today’s post offers some thoughts on another of our real questions from our readers:
How do we start a missional community that keeps Jesus at the centre but is still palatable to unbelievers?
A missional community that I know was recently wrestling with how they have been using cool videos to create conversation points with non-believers but each time they start the videos their friends excuse themselves. The goal was to make the community accessible but it wasn’t working. The conclusion – we are doing the wrong things!
A missional community needs a missional focus to gather around and this focus is best established by identifying people of peace. People of peace, as seen in Luke 10 are people who like you, serve you and receive your message. A key here is the message! If the sound of the gospel is not in the conversation in some way you can’t truly identify someone as a person of peace no matter how good the relationship is.
The point is if your community is trying to reach people who are closed to the gospel Jesus will not be palatable no matter what you do.
We have fallen foul of this often and so are learning to make the message more central in our lives as we look to identify people of peace more accurately. Do your people of peace like you, serve you AND receive your message? The challenge is to ask “are we really identifying people of peace?”. Are you?
As we look deeper at Luke 10 we see that Jesus commissioned the disciples to “go and stay” with their people of peace. What this means is that they contextualised their mission around the people they were reaching. They stayed in homes and engaged in the things that the people of peace were already doing. They entered the world of the people of peace rather than trying to drag them into their own world and culture. They ate with them and played with them…..it was messy!
If you are starting a missional community you may have meetings but engaging your people of peace in them is further down the road. It’s about going to them not dragging them into our meetings. Real shared life is messy still today too and this is the starting point. Jesus will always be palatable to people of peace, often it’s our forms of engaging them that aren’t. So don’t just start a meeting, start sharing life!
This is a mindset shift for many of us! It means asking the question “how do we get involved in the lives these people already have?”. This is about incarnational living. People are most open and most relaxed in their own contexts. People I know are much more open and likely to talk over a curry and a drink than when invited into my home for a cup of tea.
As people begin to engage with Jesus tools to help can be invaluable. I would advise investigating tools like discovery bible study as a great way to help engage people in an accessible way with Jesus. This great website and blog is really helpful…http://www.movements.net
Ben Rook and his wife Esther lead CityChurch Leicester. They are passionate pioneers with a vision to see the City of Leicester become more and more like heaven on earth. This vision compels them to lead CityChurch to be a place of passionate spirituality, radical community and missional zeal. Part of the deal: lots of fun and lots of food.