Family Stories: Margaret
How do you know that your Missional Community is starting to exhibit the characteristics of real ‘extended family’? We’ve recently found it comes when unexpected events crop up. Here’s our story: it’s not unique and there are examples up and down the country, but it’s a reminder of how precious Missional Community life can be.
A catalysing event
Sometimes in Missional Community life something happens to make you realise that you really have come some way in terms of extended family. We’ve seen this quite recently. One lady in our group – we’ll call her Margaret – recently fell and broke her hip, and it has been great to see everybody rally around and provide practical and loving help.
Now Margaret actually lives alone in the city centre, some 10 miles away from our Church and from the majority of the group. Although she has no biological family nearby, it was wonderful to see the extended family of our missional community naturally step up and work together to take care of Margaret during her convalescence.
Spare rooms and drone missions
Brilliantly, the whole group spontaneously came up with ideas to help. Inspiringly, one of the newest members of the group offered to host Margaret in her spare room for a few weeks.
Margaret accepted. This had the advantage of bringing her right slap bang in the middle of our local community, meaning that the rest of the group were able to very simply serve Margaret by providing her with spare clothes, inviting her over for meals, taking her to the doctors or to church, and so forth.
Others in our MC who work in the city have taken on the role of “drones” – being sent on missions to recover various personal artefacts from Margaret’s flat on her behalf!
T-Shirts and communion cups
For her part, Margaret is nobody’s charity case and has been blessing us all in wonderful ways, such as babysitting for our kids just last night!
The best thing about it is that it all feels very natural and simply doing life together. It’s the outcome of several years’ slow but steady progress in building our common life. What wasn’t possible before – due to distance – is possible now for this season and it revealed the true family heart of the group as a result.
A brilliant summary of the whole episode came from Margaret herself, who said: “you served me communion wine today, and yesterday I was wearing your T-shirt because mine were still at home! That’s the body of Christ in all its fullness”!
The missional edge
And that “mission” in all this “community”? Well, two things:
The ‘missional DNA’ of the group has come out – Margaret has decided to throw a ‘thank you party’ for her friends in the local area (at one of our homes!) as a further way to mix Christians and non-Christians and build relationships.
But perhaps more importantly, it’s not gone unnoticed by our friends that we have an amazingly supportive group who share meals, homes and lives. Eyebrows have been raised approvingly, which perhaps isn’t a bad definition of mission after all!
Richard Medcalf is an Englishman living with his family in Paris. He blogs at purposefulpeople.net and has just finished a free guide “7 hard-won lessons for missional community rhythms”