Last year Redwood Covenant Church launched a bunch Missional Communities that we call Community Groups. The launch began with a bang. Over time, a few flourished beyond capacity. Others stabilized. Some contracted.
Over the past year, we’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t. Here’s three lessons we’re learning along the way…
Discipleship builds the core
Each Community Group is led by a volunteer we call a Guide. These Community Group guides are amazing, along with their leadership teams. We have found that Community groups lead by those who have been discipled, or are being discipled, and who are discipling others is the best way to form a strong core of a Community Group.
Effective mission happens where you work live or play
With summer transitioning into fall rhythms, our Missional Communities are finding their rhythm. Some meet monthly, while most meet twice a month. Several times a year, each Community Group focuses on serving God by serving people with tangible expressions of God’s love. We have found that the Communities that gained traction are those that have a mission focus where participants live, work or play.
It takes a while to shed a program mentality
For people accustomed to church programs that dispense information or offer entertainment, Community Groups can seem lackluster. After all, the “program” of a Community Group is the group. My experience is that authentic Christian community is more than enough to meet the basic needs we have to belong and to do something of significance. However, it takes time to foster connection and engagement among one another and with God.
We are just one year into a long-term commitment to foster Missional Communities. Entering our second year of Missional Communities, we will see more people discipled, more disciples discipling others, and more expressions of the gospel for people in the spaces where disciples live, work or play.
Think about it. Fourteen Missional Communities and growing; each one gathering people into an experience of Christian community and reaching out with a tangible expression of the kingdom.
It’s yeast among the dough. Its gospel infiltration. And it’s happening.