Don’t Start Missional Communities

Everybody that starts a church wants it to grow fast. (yes…even us “missional community” guys)

Some of the reasons are good, like “I just want more people to know the grace of God that can only be found in Christ Jesus”. (that’s a dang good reason)

Some of the reasons are probably jacked up, like “I just want to be a famous pastor, have a comfy income, get invited to speak at conferences with other famous pastors, get 436 re-tweets of my deepest thoughts, and write a book that makes mamma proud and Joel Osteen nervous”. (for the record….I am sure those things are great…but likely make poor motivations)

But let’s be honest: very few people ever born can communicate like Matt Chandler, think like Time Keller, or dress like this guy. (don’t click the “this guy” link….don’t do it….I warned you)

The reality is that most of us will struggle to make ends meet, never get invited to speak anywhere, our blogs won’t become bestsellers, and our churches…if they grow….will grow slow.

If you want your church to grow fast, DON’T START “MISSIONAL COMMUNITIES”!

In my experience (yes…all 3 years) Missional Community driven churches grow painfully slow…and here is one reason why….

People really just want to be left alone.

What I mean is that most of us Americans who grew up on a steady diet of consumerism and individualism just want a “spiritual buzz” on Sundays.

We don’t want to be known, challenged, and we certainly don’t want to be taught that following Jesus happens 7 days a week….we don’t have time for that.

So if you want to start something that grows fast here is what I think might work…

Start a weekly meeting that features a good looking and talented singer (4 songs max), teach a short ‘spiritual message” that never talks about the cost of following Jesus, and tell people that you will see them next week.

Whatever you do….don’t start missional communities.


missional community | formerly known as following Jesus

I am part of a “missional community….I think?

Others would call it something like:

*a city group

*a gospel community

*a gospel community on mission

*a life group

*a community group

*a parish

*a family of servant missionaries

*an awkward group of Christians

And the list goes on and on…you get the point.

But what are we all talking about? What is a “missional community”?

It seems that Christians everywhere are starting to notice that something is wrong: that our experience of “church” does not look much like the “church” we read about in our Bibles:

A diverse community of people who are perfectly loved by Jesus, who are learning to follow him and to love one another and their neighbors.

In fact when we say the word “church” in America many things come to mind:

*a meeting on Sunday morning where a guy with a “faux hawk” does 4 or 5 bad covers of Hillsong United songs (guilty as charged)

*a building where their parents forced them to go to a flannel graph lesson on Sundays and a cold lasagna dinner on Wednesday nights

*a television preacher who tells them if they will send in a check that God wants to “bless them” with a fat bank account

*a 45 minute message from an excited preacher who thinks he is funnier and more insightful than he really is….who probably could have said the same thing in 20…..(guilty as charged)

On top of that some people just get mad when they hear the word “church” because it is a place where they have felt judged and rejected….not to mention that they blame us for the fact that Chick Fila is closed on Sundays.

Whatever people think when they hear the word “church”, they probably aren’t thinking:

A diverse community of people who are perfectly loved by Jesus, who are learning to follow him and to love one another and their neighbors.

I am coming to the conclusion that words like “missional community” exist because maybe we have given up on just calling it what it is: being “the Church”…formerly known as following Jesus.

Instead of redefining and recovering the power and beauty of those words…..

It might just be easier to start from scratch……and start “missional communities”.

So I am curious on your thoughts:

What do you call your “missional communities”?

And why?