This continues the short series of posts on how we have practically tried to organise our Missional Community diary. It’s been quite a learning curve with a fair few mistakes along the way. This is what we are trying in year 4: why not start by checking out the introduction and what we learned in year 1, year 2 and year 3?
YEAR 4 – Opening up
In mid 2013, we re-planned again for the coming academic year (as families with kids our years revolve around the school calendar). We planned to revert to three Monday nights and one Sunday afternoon per month: keep the “Sunday celebration” format we had pioneered the year before, reserve one Monday for prayer and for planning the Sunday celebration and then have a meal on one Monday and a Bible Study on the other. We are also encouraging people to be part of LTGs for closer-knit discipleship.
However, what has been really encouraging is the way the team thought about each of those activities and tweaked them to make them more missional.
Our core team night will stay on a Monday as that is a day we have traditionally reserved for MC activity.
Our meal night – originally slated for Monday too – will move to a Friday, with a different host each month. This allows the host to invite both the MC and their people of peace, and Friday is a much easier invitation in our context than a Monday night for most people. Only Christians go out on a Monday 🙂
Our family gathering will stay on a Sunday afternoon. However rather than stick with the “informal version of a church” that we were trying out earlier this year, we are considering more accessible activities for our people of peace. Our “pray for the kids before school term” event earlier this month was well attended and a lot of fun… whereas we have struggled to get people outside of our core team to join us for “informal worship”.
The core team had been asking for a bit of dedicated Bible Study in the mix… originally, this was going to be for us plus anyone else we wanted to invite, but encouragingly the team decided that it would be more accessible to others if we ran separate men’s and women’s Bible Studies/discussion nights. In the week, it is a lot easier for one parent to pop out rather then hiring a baby sitter.
What I like about this is that it offers a clear path to getting more involved in the missional community life. Start off as friends… then perhaps come along to a Sunday afternoon gathering with the family (a fun time with just a dash of spiritual content) or a meal or two on a Friday night… then decide to come along to a Bible Study… then potentially join an LTG and then commit to the core team. In previous years we had “socials” and “intense discipleship sessions for the committed core” (!) but not much in between. This new set up hopefully addresses that.
- Rhythm: Girls Bible Study (Monday), Core Team Meeting (Monday), Afternoon Family Gathering (Sunday), Community Meal (Friday)
- Verdict: I’ll tell you in a year!
Learning: Find a rhythm that allows people to gradually increase their level of involvement/spiritual depth. Avoid too many meetings with a high bar – keep ‘core team’ meetings balanced with simpler, more accessible events with an ‘easy invite’.
In the next post I will summarise what we’ve learned so far, and provide a model for gathering that really simplified and clarified things in our minds.