How Do We Transition from "Sunday" to "Everyday"?

If you fail to pray, you will have missed the most important element of transitioning from Sunday to everyday. 

When we first began training leaders to start and lead missional communities we were primarily working with church planters and new churches. Now we increasingly find ourselves coming alongside already existing churches looking to transition from a Sunday centric model to equipping for ministry every day. Presently, I am leading my own church family at Doxa Church through this same transition. Admittedly, I am still in process, but I am learning a lot about transitioning through both my experience and the stories of others. Before I begin, it’s important to state that I could probably write a whole book on the topic of transitioning. What I have to say here is only the tip of the iceberg, but I pray it’s helpful nonetheless.

Unified Leadership

The first and most important principle is unified leadership—leaders who share the same convictions. Those who give overall leadership to the church must be both convinced and committed to a new direction: convinced biblically that this is God’s desire for their church and committed practically to living it out as an example to the people under their care. You will not consistently lead the church toward a new reality if you are not convinced enough to lose people who don’t agree and committed long enough to learn how to work it out practically for those who stay to see and experience the change. Leaders must be unified and in agreement about what they are committing themselves and the church to for the long haul. This is not like adding a program or making a minor ministry shift. This will be a whole church transition, and the transition will take many years.

Repentance

As leaders become aware of ways they have not faithfully been examples to the flock (1 Peter 5:3), they should be prepared to repent publicly. For instance, the Scriptures are clear elders are called to show hospitality, which is making space in their life, home, schedule, and budgets for outsiders. Hospitality gives a tangible expression to the truths and effects of the gospel showing how God welcomed us in through Christ. Leaders are called to lead the church in hospitality first by example and second through instruction. We will never move the church from Sunday to every day if leadership doesn’t lead the way in hospitality.

As elders come to see they have not been faithful in hospitality, they need to confess that to the church and ask God to give them the grace to change. Repentance will likely need to happen in many areas (i.e. being friends of non-Christians, discipling the flock under their care to be disciple-makers, showing radical generosity in all things, etc.). As leaders publicly confess and repent, they create a culture of grace in the church that makes it possible for the church to repent, as well.

I have found most people will not take new steps toward change unless they believe there is grace to acknowledge past failures and sin. Think about it, most churches are where they are today because the members choose to follow the example and teaching of their leaders. To expect them to change without leaders repenting publicly is an unhealthy expectation. They didn’t fail. Leaders did. If the church is going to turn corporately in a new direction the leaders will have to lead the way in repentance.

Preferred Future

However, we should not only look back on where we failed, we must also look forward to a preferred future. People will not change until the pain of staying and missing out on what could be is stronger than the comfort or familiarity of what is. Why did God’s people go to Egypt? Famine. They believed Egypt offered sustenance and a future. Why did Jesus’ disciples leave their careers to follow him? They believed He had something much better. If you are going to lead God’s people forward from Sunday to everyday, they will need to see that the better way is a life of full submission to Jesus in the everyday stuff of life.

Most people who love Sunday gatherings have likely experienced God at work in their hearts there. Leaders need to help people see they can experience even more of God’s presence and power in an ongoing way. Describe the life of a disciple filled with and led by the Holy Spirit on mission every day. Most Christians have not experienced much of the abundant life Jesus promised because they have not stepped out in faith to walk on those waters. I often hear people express their desire for a greater intimacy and acquaintance with the power of the Holy Spirit. However, I must inform them that the life lived in the Spirit is a life lived on the Spirit’s mission.

You won’t come to know the power of the Spirit if you live a life that does not require his power. To call people to transition from Sunday to everyday, I paint a picture regularly of a preferred future walking in the Spirit on mission with others who deeply love Jesus. If that life doesn’t sound better than only a weekly event on Sunday, people will not leave their present nets of comfort to venture out into the unknown. It’s true; there are significant costs in following Jesus every day, but the kingdom benefits far outweigh the worldly costs. Once again, this starts with leaders. If leaders are not convinced the future is better, they will not be able to convince anyone else either.

Program Support

Next, keep all programs that support the future direction, starve all that do not, and remove any that fight against it. I often use the analogy of a body when describing how to transition a church. The body has certain organs that if taken away will kill the body. It has others that the body can live without, and others, if damaged or infected, can kill the body. When making a transition, don’t get rid of the activities or programs that are the heart and lungs, skeletal supports, and nervous systems of the church. In most churches, Sunday gatherings and groups play vital roles in the transition to everyday mission. I’ve seen churches kill their entire church by shutting down all their programs to start missional communities. This is a fatal mistake.

At Doxa Church, we use the Sunday gathering to exhort, equip, and encourage people toward mission in the everyday. When I arrived here, they had community groups in place. I didn’t scrap them and start over; I decided to keep them and gradually transition them to missional communities. These two programmatic structures were and are vital structures for communication and care through which we can also bring equipping for the new direction. I also choose not to feed programs or events that do not specifically support the future direction. By starving I mean we don’t give leadership energy, coaching, or training to these ministries. We didn’t shut them down, but we don’t prop them up and work to sustain them either.

Each church has a limited supply of leadership and resources. We must steward our resources most effectively toward accomplishing the mission of making disciples who make disciples in the everyday stuff of life. We must do few things and do them well versus try to do everything mediocre. Finally, any program or ministry that is cancerous must be eliminated. A cancerous program is one that is fighting against the future direction or even poisoning others along the way. These cannot be allowed to continue or they will destroy the body.

Equip Pioneers

As you move forward you will find some have been waiting for this change. It seems God always has a remnant in the church being prepared to pioneer forward. As you discover the pioneers and early adopters, be prepared to give them the best support, mentoring, and training your church has to offer. They will need all you can give since this is new territory. Ideally, the overseeing leaders of the church are either in their groups leading by example or in other groups sharing their own learnings with others. The best way to move the entire church forward into a new direction is to have a few lead the way. People need to see and hear what life can be like from those who’ve gone before them.

We have found that placing pioneering leaders in pilot groups can be a very effective way to provide them with close training and development. A pilot group is made up of people eager to move forward into this new reality led by one of our equipping leaders who is most familiar with mission in everyday life. We presently are using the Saturate Field Guide as the curriculum for these groups. We call people to commit for a ten-week journey together through the Field Guild with the expectation that they will put into practice what they are learning along the way. We’ve done this both in singular groups and in larger groups that are broken up into 4-5 smaller groups. Through the pilot groups we have identified and equipped leaders, given people a taste of everyday mission in community and formed new missional communities as a result.

As leaders and others step out into everyday mission together, overseeing leaders must be present and available to coach and encourage them along the way. Most plans fail for lack of good preparation and ongoing support along the way. You can’t just launch people into a new reality. You need to provide ongoing training and evaluation along the way. Jesus didn’t just send His disciples out on mission. Prior to that He did it in front of them and with them. He pulled them aside regularly to explain what He was doing and to reflect on what they were doing. His training was hands-on and real-time. Then, when He did send them out, they returned with reports. Jesus provided additional training and coaching in light of their experiences or failures. We need to follow Jesus’ example of developing His leaders if we are going to expect people to lead from Sunday to everyday.

Smalls Steps and Shared Stories

I have discovered that the move from Sunday to everyday for some seems daunting. Some can’t imagine themselves making the trek up what seems to them to be Mount Everest. However, everyone can take a step on the trail. We have found that the vision of the preferred future is compelling, but without small steps being clarified, it can become paralyzing. Our job as leaders is to help people take small steps forward.

For instance, invite your neighbors over for a cookout, or call your group to pray weekly that God would open doors for the gospel. Take a prayer walk through your neighborhood once a week and ask God to open your eyes and open your neighbors’ hearts. Start going to the same restaurant once a week, and be gracious guests who learn names and stories of the servers and tip very generously. These are all small steps that anyone can take. Then share the stories of steps taken while gathered with the larger body on Sunday.

I know of one church that has a section in their weekly gathering called “I gave it a try.” During this time people share stories of giving it a try. I tried inviting our neighbors over for dinner last week. They denied, but we gave it a try. We try getting to know the story of the parents we sit next to in the stands while watching Joey’s football practice. We actually have a better idea how to serve them lovingly now that we gave it a try. At Doxa, we have a story each week from normal people in our congregation take small steps of faith in everyday situations. The people in our churches know what we care most about based upon what we do on the platform and what we regularly celebrate. Encourage small steps and celebrate each step taken.

Pray

Jesus instructed His disciples to wait for power from the Spirit before they went out as His witnesses (Acts 1:6, 8). The account of the early church throughout the Acts of the Apostles is one of consistent, prayerful dependency and Spirit-led mission. To lead our churches forward into everyday mission, we must become a prayerful people. Once again this begins with leadership. Leaders must pray regularly, consistently, and for significant periods of time.

We have adopted several ways of creating a prayerfully dependent culture here. We pray at 10:02 every morning for harvest workers. This is taken from Luke 10:02. We learned this from the leadership of C2C in Canada. We stop whatever we’re doing and take time to pray that our Lord will send more workers for the harvest and prepare the harvest for the workers. We also try to dedicate a block of time for prayer in most meetings. We also commit to “stop and pray.” If we are in a conversation where someone is in need of prayer, we don’t say we will pray. We stop and pray in the moment. We also stop and pray during a meeting when it is apparent we are lacking wisdom or direction. We have people praying during our gatherings on Sundays and more recently are asking our missional communities to commit to praying through an entire Sunday morning gathering to learn to pray together throughout the week. Our elders lead these times to both model our commitment to prayer and to actively train our people.

As our church grows in prayerful dependence they also grow in being led by the Spirit. Many Christians don’t know how to engage in the mission in everyday life because they haven’t yet learned how to follow the Spirit of God on mission in prayer. If you do all that I have already written and fail to pray, you will have missed the most important element of transitioning from Sunday to everyday. Jesus is building His church in the everyday stuff of life. Prayer is the key to submitting to Him and being empowered by Him to join in the work.

Missional Communities—Biblical or Cultural?

Are missional communities just a passing fad?

Recently, one of the leaders in the Soma Family of Churches asked me if I thought missional communities would be a passing trend. He wasn’t questioning the validity of them, but he did wonder if this was a time-based, culturally applicable approach to making disciples that may not be necessary sometime in the future. Is the concept of church as a missional community (or as we often ask, “Is missional community the primary structure for making disciples?”) just a pragmatic solution to a cultural situation?

My answer to my colleague and my answer to many others is a resounding “no.”

Why? Because I am convinced that missional communities are not a new program or methodology for the church, but an ancient way of being God’s people set apart for God’s mission in the world. “Sure,” I told my friend, “the name ‘missional community’ might be trendy, but the concept is really nothing new at all.” The concept is deeply biblical and culturally transferable from one time and culture to another.

WHAT A MISSIONAL COMMUNITY IS

To make my case, I first of all need to define what a missional community is. A missional community is a family of servant missionaries sent as disciples who make disciples. They are:

  • children of God who love one another like family
  • servants of God who show what the Kingdom of God looks like in tangible form
  • missionaries sent by God to show and tell the truth of what God is like and what God has done

The goal of this family of servant missionaries is to lead others to become the people of God on the mission of God in the world.

GOD’S ANCIENT WAY

From the beginning of time God has called a people to be His family—His image-bearers—chosen by Him to belong to Him and lovingly show God’s love by how they love one another like family. It began with Adam and Eve who turned to a different father—the father of lies—and as a result the family they led looked more like the devil and less like the heavenly Father. God then chose Abraham to be the father of a new nation: a family set apart as both beneficiaries of God’s love as well as benevolent givers of His love. This family was also called to be a display people, showing the world what God as King was like through the visible display of his kingdom. His people were called to be His servants who serve others just as God had served them. One example of this is in how God called His people to be hospitable toward strangers in light of how God had treated them while they were strangers in Egypt. Lastly, God’s people were sent from place-to-place with the intent of living amongst the nations declaring what their God was like in light of what He had done for them. Israel was a family of servant missionaries, loving, serving, and proclaiming the good news of God.

But they failed. They fell short.

So Jesus came as the true and better Son who laid down His life for us so we could become children of God. He is the true and better servant who showed us what the Kingdom of God is like by how He served and gave up His life. He is the true and better missionary sent by the Spirit to proclaim the good news of the Kingdom. He didn’t do this in isolation. He did it in community—a community on mission together—a missional community. Jesus and His followers were a missional community. When He first called them He said, “Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” Jesus formed a community on mission that loved one another like family, served others as a way of serving their Messiah King, and eventually were sent out as missionaries to proclaim the gospel in the power of the Spirit.

After He died on the cross and rose again, He sent His disciples out to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and establishing every disciple in their new identity as family, servants, and missionaries. What Jesus did with them first, He sent them out to do with others. Their baptism wasn’t just words. It was a statement of their new identity that informed their new way of living: loving, serving, and proclaiming together.

That’s exactly what they did. The early church loved, served, and proclaimed because this is who they believed they were in Christ.

Later, when Peter intends to encourage the church scattered throughout Asia Minor, he reminds them first of who God is and what God has done most specifically in and through the person of Jesus Christ. Following that, he reminds them of who they are in 1 Peter 2:9: But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Note the key identity statements he uses: chosen race (family of God), royal priesthood (missionaries anointed by the Spirit), and holy nation (servants of King Jesus). This is who God’s people were called to be prior to Jesus. It is who our baptism says we are because of Jesus. And it informs what we do as God’s people—the church—as we make disciples of Jesus.

This is who we are; therefore it’s what we do.

So is missional community a new idea? No. Is it going away? Not as long as Jesus continues to build His church and not until He returns and the mission is accomplished.

However, the way we work it out is always changing. In the early church they met from house to house. Some today meet from beach to beach, office center to office center, school to school. Some meet from house to school to office center. How we work out what it means to love like family may continue to take on different shapes and forms depending upon the culture and time we find ourselves in. Being servants of King Jesus in Tokyo might look very different than being servants of Jesus in Topeka. Proclaiming the gospel in secular New York might look very different than church-saturated Dallas. Our identity is the same, but how it gets expressed is always changing. The mission will not change, but the means likely will. The gospel will not change, but how we proclaim it must.

Yet no matter the place, the culture, or the time, the church is called to be a family of servant missionaries sent as disciples who make disciples.

We are a missional community, a gospel community on mission. Call it what you want. The name might change, but we will not.

This is who we are. This is what we do.

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Jeff Vanderstelt

Jeff Vanderstelt is the visionary leader of Saturate, the Soma Family of Churches, and the lead teaching pastor of Doxa Church in Bellevue, WA. He also travels around the US and the world equipping the Church in the gospel and missional living. He is the author of "Saturate: Being Disciples of Jesus in the Everyday Stuff of Life." He and Jayne, his wife of 22 years, have three children; Haylee, Caleb, and Maggie.

What is a "Missional Community"?

All-of-life discipleship—learning to follow, trust, and obey Jesus in the everyday stuff of life and training others to do the same—requires submitting to and obeying God’s Word in three key environments: life on life, life in community, and life on mission.

LIFE ON LIFE

God’s means of restoration in your life is others in your life who are committed to bringing your brokenness out into the open and bringing the gospel of Jesus to bear on it. The layers with which we’ve covered ourselves have to be pulled back, and we can’t do that kind of work alone. We have to get close. We have to be seen and known. This is what we call life-on-life discipleship—life that is lived up close so that we are visible and accessible to one another, so that others can gently peel back the layers and join us in our restoration. Jesus lived life with his disciples. He was close enough to really know them. He observed what they believed by watching how they lived. He became closely acquainted with their brokenness so that he could see their wrong thinking, wrong believing, and wrong acting. They were exposed. And as they were exposed, Jesus helped them to be restored.

LIFE IN COMMUNITY

If you look at the life and ministry of Jesus, and subsequently the ministry of the apostle Paul, you certainly would not come to the conclusion that one-on-one discipleship is best. Jesus discipled his followers while they experienced life together in community. We know they “got it” because the story of how they continued to live tells us they were devoted to one another in the day-to-day stuff of everyday life. Jesus’s way of discipleship cannot happen in one-on-one meetings alone. The church is Jesus’s body. It has many parts, but it is one body, so it takes many of us committed to each other’s development to help us each become more like Jesus … We all need many people who love Jesus around us to do this. Every person in Christ’s body is meant to work this way. You are meant to play a part in equipping and encouraging others. God intends for all of us to actively engage in disciplemaking in light of our unique design so that we both do the work and equip others to do it.

LIFE ON MISSION

Jesus didn’t say, “Show up to class and I will train you.” Nor did he say, “Attend synagogue and that will be sufficient.” No, he called the disciples to join him on the mission (“Follow me”), and while they were on the mission with him, he trained them to be disciplemakers (“I will make you fishers of men”). In other words, Jesus taught them the basics of making disciples while they were on the mission of making disciples. They could observe everything Jesus said and did. They could see how he rebuked the religious leaders who tried to make it harder for people to come to God. They were able to watch his compassion and care of people being ruined by sin. They couldn’t overlook his willingness to heal and help the broken. And the power he exerted over demons was clearly on display. They listened, watched, and learned in the everyday stuff of life. After a while, he invited them to share in some of the work he was doing. Sure, they messed up, a lot, but he was there to help, to correct, to clean up—to train them—while they were on his mission. They were in a disciplemaking residency with Jesus. After the disciples had spent time watching, learning, and practicing under Jesus’s watchful eye, he sent them out to begin to practice what he had taught them. He did not send them out alone; they went together. Then they returned and reported to Jesus what they had experienced. All did not go perfectly. So he trained them in the areas of their weaknesses and failures. He did this kind of ongoing training with them for more than three years. As a result, when he finally ascended to heaven, they had been prepared to fulfill the mission. The best training for mission happens while on mission.

MISSIONAL COMMUNITIES

The necessity of these three environments is the basis for what are commonly called “missional communities”: the Christian life—and the gospel identities and rhythms—cannot be lived alone, nor can it be carried out as one person among several dozen or a few thousand, which is the context of many American church gatherings. Instead, the best venue for living as disciples of Jesus happens in the context of a few other disciples, mutually committed to growing each other’s lives and faith, pursuing God’s mission together. Missional communities are not programs of a church; missional communities are the Church. In other words, the way God intends his people to live and thrive as disciples of Jesus is in the context of a community, growing in the gospel and on mission together. It’s in this type of community that life on life, life in community, and life on mission discipleship most easily happen.

(Excerpted from the Saturate Field Guide by permission.)

Comment

Jeff Vanderstelt

Jeff Vanderstelt is the visionary leader of Saturate, the Soma Family of Churches, and the lead teaching pastor of Doxa Church in Bellevue, WA. He also travels around the US and the world equipping the Church in the gospel and missional living. He is the author of "Saturate: Being Disciples of Jesus in the Everyday Stuff of Life." He and Jayne, his wife of 22 years, have three children; Haylee, Caleb, and Maggie.

Is It Okay to Leave My Church?

Have we finished the work you have for us to do in this place?

Recently I was asked this question: How do you know when/if it’s okay to leave a church? (My husband is a pastor on staff.) The (new) senior pastor doesn’t see Scripture Christocentrically or understand an ongoing need for the gospel. So how can we help with that, and at what point is it better to look for another church?

I know this is a question many will wrestle with at some point in their lifetime during our long walk with the Church here on earth. First of all, it’s always important to ask God, Have we finished the work you have for us to do in this place, and have You (God) finished the work you want to do in us in this place?

In this case, God may be calling you to participate gently and patiently in how he plans to bring reform to the church or pastor. If your work is done, He may be using this situation to release you to another work.

Second, it is very important to share your thoughts/concerns with leadership. In this case, it would be very important for your husband to speak truthfully to the senior pastor about his concern. If he has already done this and the senior pastor has made it clear where he stands, it’s still important to ask if he is open to discussing it more, reading some books/articles together, etc. Make sure you let him know you are open to learning from him about why he believes what he does. Encourage him to help you come to his conclusions versus the ones you have landed with. This kind of openness in learning and dialog is absolutely necessary. If the answer is still a clear “no,” then . . .

I recommend your husband ask the senior or board of elders (if there is a plurality of leadership) what they recommend he do. I often encourage leaders to clarify their convictions to their senior leadership and how they also believe in submission to leaders and unity in the local church. I encourage them to speak about their personal convictions and how they want to be faithful to their obey their conscience/Holy Spirit conviction while also remaining in submission and maintaining the unity of the Spirit.

This could lead to 1) a mutually agreed-upon process of helping you leave the church in a gracious way, 2) a process of further study together, or 3) an agreement to work together allowing for mixed views to coexist.

In all of this, make sure you bathe your decision in prayer, submit to wise counsel, and open your hands to whatever the Spirit wants to lead you to . . . even if it’s not what you had planned.

Comment

Jeff Vanderstelt

Jeff Vanderstelt is the visionary leader of Saturate, the Soma Family of Churches, and the lead teaching pastor of Doxa Church in Bellevue, WA. He also travels around the US and the world equipping the Church in the gospel and missional living. He is the author of "Saturate: Being Disciples of Jesus in the Everyday Stuff of Life." He and Jayne, his wife of 22 years, have three children; Haylee, Caleb, and Maggie.

On Mission this Halloween

This coming Monday offers a great opportunity for many to engage in new relationships with those around us or to revisit some old relationships with new missional intentionality. Regardless of what you think of the holiday and it's roots, the culture we have been sent by Jesus to reach is going to celebrate Halloween this Monday. We all have in front of us a wide open door for missionary engagement in our neighborhoods. I want to encourage you not to miss out on the opportunity. If you are looking to be more intentionally engaged this year, I want to present you with a few ideas for how you can more effectively walk through the open door that Halloween presents to us as Jesus' missionaries.

BE HOSPITABLE...Don't just give out candy

  1. Give out the best Candy. Please, don't give out tracks or toothbrushes or pennies...kids are looking for the master loot of candy. Put yourself in their shoes.
  2. Think of the Parents. Consider having some Hot Apple Cider and pumpkin bread or muffins out for the parents who are bringing their little kiddos around the block. Make your entry-way inviting so they want to come closer and hang for a bit if possible.
  3. Be Present. Don't hide out all night. Come out to the door or hang out on the porch and if they stop to have some cider, get to know their names and where they live in the neighborhood.
  4. Be Encouraging. Tell the kids you love their costumes and to have a great night. Practice building others up with words.
  5. Party. If you're really into it, you may want to throw a pre-Trick or Treating party. Provide dinner and drinks. Then, send the dads out trick or treating with the kids while the moms continue hanging with some hot apple cider, coffee or tea. Then reconvene with the parents and kids together to examine all of the loot (kids love to show their parents and other kids the loot).
  6. Learn the Stories. If you are out T or Ting with the kiddos or staying back with the other parents, ask questions...get to know their stories. Pay attention to their hearts and their felt needs. Look for opportunities to serve them later. This is how I first got to know Clay (while Jayne was hanging with Kristi and the other moms). I learned his story while we were with the kids and Jayne got to know hers. This led to both of them eventually coming to faith in Jesus.

GO TO THEIR PLACE...Join what is happening elsewhere

  1. Attend the Party. If others are throwing parties, you may want to join them. If so, bring drinks, food or whatever is needed. Then, serve by helping to clean up.
  2. Join the Community. If your community has key events, join them and invite some neighbors to go with you (then get to know their stories along the way). Our area has a trick or treating event on a main street where all the businesses give out candy, the firemen give tours of the fire engines, etc... We go with a group of friends to this each year and consistently meet more people to reach out to.
  3. Head to the "Watering Holes". If you do not have kids or are not going to engage in the Trick or Treating activities or events, consider going to the local pubs, restaurants or clubs near you for their events and get to know the people there. Make it your goal to learn the story of at least one person who needs Jesus and walk away with some next steps on how to serve them. You will want to do this with others so that you don't go it alone.

BE PRAYERFUL...Ask for the Spirit to led, guide and work

  1. Pay Attention. Ask the Spirit to open your eyes and ears to the real needs around you.
  2. Stay Dependent. Ask the Spirit to help you listen, care and serve those around you.
  3. Open Doors. Ask the Spirit for open doors for new relationships and gospel conversations

SHARE YOUR IDEAS...Let us know what you've done or are going to do. Please share your ideas with us...what have you done? What are you planning to do? Let's learn and prepare together...

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Jeff Vanderstelt

Jeff Vanderstelt is the visionary leader of Saturate, the Soma Family of Churches, and the lead teaching pastor of Doxa Church in Bellevue, WA. He also travels around the US and the world equipping the Church in the gospel and missional living. He is the author of "Saturate: Being Disciples of Jesus in the Everyday Stuff of Life." He and Jayne, his wife of 22 years, have three children; Haylee, Caleb, and Maggie.

Gospel Fluent Thinking

This past Sunday I spoke on Wise Thinking from the Proverbs (Proverbs 4:2-5:6). You can listen to it here if you'd like. The content is part of some work I am doing in preparing for my book on Gospel Fluency. I have found that many of us don't follow the advice of the wise father to his son: "Ponder your path". To Ponder is to slow down and examine what you are thinking and doing. The father tells his son that the wayward woman (foolishness personified) does not ponder, but wanders aimlessly down the path to destruction, while remaining ignorant of what she is doing.

How many times have you found yourself asking: "Why did I say that?" or "Why am I saying this?" as the verbal diarrhea overflows into a toilet of regret. Or "What was I thinking?" while you stand in the debris of your foolish missteps. And, "How did I get here?" as you astonishingly wake up to the reality that your lack of careful pondering has snowballed into a pitiful, mess of devastation. Maybe you just know someone else to whom this is true and now you just need some good advice for them ;)

During my message, I shared some thoughts about how we can take the time to Ponder - slow down - and let the gospel shape our thinking, which I believe will lead to steps down the path of wisdom as a result.

First of all CAPTURE your thoughts.

It was springtime in Chicago and I was at the McCormick Place to speak at the Christ & City event at the end of the Gospel Coalition conference. I walked into the large auditorium that was four times as wide as it was deep to hear Tim Keller teach. Previously there had been around 6000 in the room for the Gospel Coalition event. At this moment, there were now probably 3000-4000. I was scheduled to teach a breakout session in this same room later. As I listened to Tim teach, I found myself making notes and scratching out some of what I had intended to say. "How did he get my stuff? He had stolen a bunch of my material!" I forgot how much his teaching had influenced me – some of my notes sounded like what he was presently saying. That wouldn’t have been so bad if I were teaching much later or somewhere else, but I was going to speak right after him in the same room to many of the same audience. So, I quickly started reworking all my notes.

After Tim was done, I was ushered back into the green room to wait my turn to be called up. I finished making some final notes and then was brought up on stage. As I walked up, I realized they had forgotten my white board for the diagrams I was going to draw while teaching. Then, I turned to look out into the room and I couldn’t see anyone. Oh, people were probably there, I think, I just couldn’t see them because the lights were so bright. Now, one thing about me that is important to note, I am a relational teacher – I love to see people and adjust my teaching in light of what I sense the Holy Spirit is doing and how I see people responding. I had absolutely zero visible knowledge of what was going on in the room. As I began teaching, I wondered if there actually were any people in the room at all. It was hard to tell because there was almost no discernible response (I think they were all overloaded with information because we were at the end of a long conference with some very heady material...or asleep because they were so tired...or just saving seats for the LeCrae concert happening later in that same room). I did my best and hoped that it helped some people. Then after I was done, they ushered me away from the people who wanted to talk to me afterward because I had to make it to a dinner that was about to start. Zero feedback. Zero knowledge as to whether I was helpful or hurtful in my teaching. I was flying blind and the radio signal was off.

I went back to my hotel room later that night very discouraged and depressed. I played my talk over and over in my head and it only seemed to get worse the more I did it (the snowball started rolling and gaining size and speed - this is what happens when our thought lives are not brought into submission). I began to think I had wasted people’s time and in turn the resources of the kingdom. At one point I started believing that I must have said a bunch of heresy and D.A. Carson, one of the theologians and leaders of the Gospel Coalition, was going to have to call me in and confront me. Then they would have to publish an apology for having me speak, acknowledging that I don’t represent what the Gospel Coalition believes. I felt like a failure.

Have you ever experienced something like this? A time when you felt like a failure? Or, a time when you began to be filled with self-doubt or fear? Maybe you haven’t experienced anything like this, but have you ever found yourself consumed with some destructive thoughts? Like thoughts of hatred and rage that begin to dominate your mind crowding out all other thoughts? What about impure, lustful thoughts that seem to keep pushing you to think of women or men in inappropriate ways? Maybe your thoughts have gone more toward pride and self-righteousness, leading you to think you are better than others and to despise others that just don’t seem to live up to “the standard”.

What do you do with these thoughts? Maybe you’ve never thought about thinking about your thoughts. Its possible that you aren’t even aware of what is going on in your mind most of the time because you’ve never stopped to think about it. Have you ever paused and thought about what your thinking? Feeling? Contemplating?

STOP. What are you thinking right now?

Most of us are moving too fast to stop. Or, the idea of listening to our thoughts, paying attention to them is scary - we don't really want to pay attention to what is going on inside. Many of us go on vacation and stay busy so we don't have to acknowledge the murmur of restlessness, anger, resentment, anxiety, fear...or any other number of frightful thoughts and emotions. And then we need a vacation from our vacation because we ran ourselves ragged trying to avoid hearing ourselves. Some of us never take a break because the noise of a busy life is more comforting than the contemplation of the heart around the gospel.

Paul told the church in Corinth (2 Cor. 10:5) to take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. To capture something requires taking it under control and holding it in a place. We have to stop and ask "What am I thinking?" "Why am I feeling or thinking this?" "What is going on in me right now?" Lately, I have been asking my son Caleb, "What are you doing?" He responds: "Nothing." To which I reply: "You're always doing something." The same is true for thinking: You're always thinking something.

STOP - What are you thinking right now - Capture it - Control it - Examine it.

Most of us don't STOP to capture and examine our thinking. However, the apostle Paul says this is how we begin to experience transformation - by the renewal of our minds (Romans 12:2). Our minds will not get renewed if we don't pay attention to what we're thinking and then...

COMPARE your thoughts to What is True of God; What He has done for you and Who you are in Christ Jesus.

That night in my hotel room with my wife on the phone, we took time to compare my thinking to...whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things (Philippians 4:8). This meant comparing my thinking to what is true of God, His work through the person and work of Jesus and who I am now because of faith in Jesus. Jayne reminded me: "This is not about you Jeff! This is about Jesus! He is glorified in your weakness AND your 'success'. What if God wants to glorify himself through your failure. Are you OK with that? Anyhow, remember, you aren't the one who changes hearts. God does. Besides, you don't want people to be impressed with you. You want them to be impressed with Jesus." I shared more of what I was thinking, feeling, believing... and she kept comparing my thoughts to what is true, lovely, pure, etc... "God is in control, even if you failed Jeff. You don't need the approval of man. You are accepted by God! He is your Father who loves you. What else do you need?" We continued on as she exhorted me in the gospel and the truths of God's Word.

How often do we slow down to compare our thinking to what is true of God and what we have in the gospel of Jesus Christ?

And do we have people around us we can turn to for this? I hear of way too many Christians living life alone - God didn't save us for a personal ALONE relationship with him. He saved us from ALONENESS into a community - His Family. I believe if we did this more often with one another in community, we would not only have lives that better reflect what is true of Jesus, but our hearts would also be full as worship as we become overcome by the grace of God in the midst of everyday life.

Finally, CONFESS your unbelief through genuine repentance and replace the lies with truth.

In over 20 years of ministry I have heard plenty of confessions, but rarely do I hear people confess their sin. People regularly say "I'm sorry" and rarely say "I've sinned".

We generally regret the consequences of sin and then desire that they go away as quickly as possible. We say, "I'm sorry I hurt you (...and that you are so weak and hurt so easily)"; "I'm sorry that this offended you (...you should not be so easily offended) or "I'm sorry I did that (...because it doesn't feel good right now). True confession of sin, confesses sin.

I have found there are generally two reasons we walk down the path of foolishness, leading to destruction - two reasons why we don't do what is right and good:

  1. Ignorance
  2. Unbelief and Rebellion

My daughter Haylee has been struggling with fear and anxiety. She is nine. We didn't rebuke her for this ("Stop worrying. You shouldn't worry. That's a sin!) We instructed her about who God is and how powerful he is. We have been teaching her not only that he is great and in control, but also good and loves her. We reminded her that Jesus overcame sin, death and Satan - the three sources of all of our fears. And that He is both with her and for her. Along the way we have been teaching her to not be anxious, but to offer her concerns to God in prayer with thanksgiving, trusting that God can guard her heart and mind in Christ Jesus, granting her peace.  Haylee was ignorant. Not any longer. Now, if Haylee refuses to bring her concerns to God and prefers to deal with them on her own, she is no longer ignorant, but rebellious, walking in unbelief. I know that sounds harsh to some of us, but it is true. We either humbly submit the truths we know about God or we pridefully ignore them or outright reject them.

Paul says the same thing to the people in Athens after he describes the unknown god to them as the True living God who made them and everything they enjoy - Acts 17:30-31: "The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead."

Many of us or the people we care for and shepherd need to be informed so they no longer stand in ignorance. Our job in many cases is not just to confront sin, but to inform people with the truth of God and the good news of Jesus Christ. If they don't know the truth, how can they take captive their thoughts, compare them to Him and then respond in repentance.

However, once informed of the truth, we are no longer ignorant but informed. And when we take the time to capture a thought, compare it to Jesus and see where it is not in line with the truth of the gospel, we have a choice to make - repent or rebel. And repentance not only owns the sin, confessing it as such, but also owns the truth of God, confessing it in faith as our only hope.

That night, in my hotel room, on the phone with my wife, I repented. I saw that I was a prideful man and I was living for people's approval not God's glory. I wanted to do well, not just to help people, but to help myself. I wanted to be liked, accepted, approved of by man. I had believed the approval of man was more sufficient than the approval of God. It was unbelief in God's Word and unbelief in the gospel. I was sorry...not for the state I was in, but for the state of my heart before God. I acknowledged my sin of pride and unbelief in the complete work of Jesus that made me acceptable before God. As I confessed this sin, I also acknowledge my belief in his grace to forgive as well as my acceptance because of what Jesus had done, not for how well I spoke. I experienced healing and refreshment from his Spirit. God opposes the proud but he gives grace to the humble. We say that, but we are afraid to humble ourselves. I experienced his grace that night again.

After all of that, the Spirit confirmed that he did indeed use my talk, despite my weakness and brokenness. God does that - he works in and through our mess to show his power and glory. Crazy!

If we are ever to become a gospel fluent people, we must first of all become a gospel familiar people - we must experience it changing us first before we will have the confidence that it can change others as well. Take the time to capture your thoughts, compare them to the truths in the gospel and confess any and all unbelief and rebellion as sin and put your faith again in Jesus and his sufficient work for you!

Serving the MC (Jayne's Perspective)

Matthew 20:28 “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve…”

Missional Communities can be tricky. I can give you the rundown of what a “perfect gathering night” looks like or I can give you the real, unadulterated, hardcore truth that usually includes food on the floor, the dog puking (or getting out the front door and running toward the street), toddlers running around in diapers, loud thumps coming from the upstairs, water mysteriously all over the upstairs bathroom floor, multiple interruptions, clogged toilets, cell phones ending up in a mug of tea, and sticky spots on the floor that I will not notice until the next morning when the beautiful sun comes beaming through my clean (I mean sticky fingerprinted, and cloudy) front window…which illuminates memories of the night before. The smell of grilled meat and sweet potatoes are still ruminating in the house. Ahhh…I think we talked about Jesus??? Or maybe that was everyone else while I was running around the house…with joy in my heart…chasing a dear little boy named Finn. Finn is the active toddler of a couple in our neighborhood who loves Jesus and hopes to host their own MC one day. Finn’s mama and daddy were tired and needed to be with the adults tonight. I took my cue from the Holy Spirit and put down my Bible…and played with this little one upstairs for the next hour, while the older kids were happily entertaining themselves in the basement playroom. Finn and I played with legos, cars, balls, superheroes, looked at books, talked, tickled and laughed for a little over an hour while his mommy and daddy had a glass of wine and interacted around God’s Word discussing all the texts surrounding the Deity of Christ. Finn’s mom is a woman who loves Jesus and who loves to pray.

I can’t tell you what all the adults talked about because I wasn’t present in that discussion. But…I can tell you what was going through my mind while playing with Finn…like the fact that I am so thankful to have a home where people can openly talk about the Lord, and that Finn has a mommy and daddy that love Jesus and are partnering with us in this neighborhood to lead people to Jesus.  And that Jesus was with me in that upstairs room and I am not “missing out” on anything else happening in the house. I am part of a great call from Jesus to serve.  And most fondly, I was thinking of how God has given me a new mind and perspective on what it really means to serve...in the moment. I am humbled and grateful that He has revealed these things to me.

Many of us would like to think that we are “that kid” sitting in the front row of all that are gathered at the feet of Jesus while He is teaching. We are drinking in every word He says, feeling ready and eager to do anything He asks. Then…He says, “I need a volunteer!” All of our arms go up, we’re still sitting, but not really, we’re kind of half standing…and we shout “Pick me! Pick me!” But when He calls our name, we pull back, second guess, cower and say…”Nevermind…”

When Jesus calls on us, it always involves serving. Jeff was serving the adults tonight by teaching, instructing and leading in the main room. My task of watching Finn for this night was no less important to Jesus.  We, as hosts of our MC Gathering, are here to serve…period. If you are able to posture yourself with this attitude…and truth, you will experience joy in serving and be able to adjust to whatever task the Lord gives you for that evening.

Serving is not a gender specific, gifting or “personality” thing. It is a command in scripture and it looks different at different times. Anyone who knows me, knows that I love theology and I especially love interacting around God’s Word.  But tonight, God called me out of my chair to a different task. Serving is not always a premeditated, predictable act, but one that is recognized and accommodated at a moments notice. It’s a heart attitude of contentment, and it leaves you not exhausted, but filled with joy! Most of us can work up a desire to serve, but how we respond, in the spur of the moment, really exposes what is inside of us.

Jeff and I are on the same team. We are watching each other as we lead and we are filling in the gaps for each other. It’s like playing soccer. A team player doesn’t run down the field right next to the person with the ball, they open themselves up, watching and waiting for a pass.  Anyone who knows anything about the game of soccer, knows this is crucial. You position yourself in a strategic way so as to assist the other…and the goal is to score a point, not compete with each other as to who is in the “most important” position or debate who actually is responsible for the goal.

So…my charge to all of you would be to devote yourselves to prayer on this subject, not that God will help you be a good host, or that people won’t mess your house up…not even that God will “sustain you and get you through each week,” but that God will transform your hearts and minds to be filled with His Spirit and learn what it means to really “Serve wholeheartedly as if serving the Lord!” (Eph. 6:7)

God bless you all!

Planning the MC Mtg with Children in Mind

In the next several posts my wife Jayne and I are going to address the question: How do you do Missional Community with Kids? During this post Jayne is addressing the question: How do you address caring for kids during your weekly MC Gathering?

Keep in mind, when we think about children and our missional community we ask: How can our children join us in the overall mission? How do we disciple them all week long? How do we make sure the mission is accessible for them? How do we insure they can participate? And, how do we help them reach their peers as well?

When we think about our gathering on Tuesday nights, we don't feel like we have to address all of these in our 2-3 hour time together. We address these through the whole week approach.

Our gathering on Tuesday nights:

In our experience with kids, we have had to be very strategic. We currently have kids from under age 2 up to age 10. We have done different things, but what works well in my humble opinion is to have people rotate and share the responsibility each week. This adult or older child is NOT responsible for the whole night, but just for the discussion time. Also, it is important to really crack down and having a start and finish time of discussion that is clearly discussed and agreed on between all of the adults.  This is very important for the kids AND the adult who are serving the kids. An hour and a half is about all we can manage without major melt-downs…from both kids and adults.  Let the adult know that they are free to turn the kids loose at the ending time.

So, as an MC host, you would have a room set aside and ready with some snacks, puzzles, coloring stuff, toys, books etc. for the adult to take them in and watch them while you were having your discussion (some of our groups use a neighboring house).

Another option is to have this room ready for the kids to stay in and have an "on call" adult nearby peeking in on them, while partially engaging in the night. That has worked well for us too at times...although some nights an adult may need to be present or it will and has been known to turn into a “Lord of the Flies” situation.

You could have theme nights each week like..."Next week is popcorn and a movie night," or "Art night" and have crafting supplies ready for them to do a project. Obviously, the littler ones can probably only handle a story or two, but the older ones can work on some scripture memory or something like that. Reading to them from the Jesus Storybook Bible each week is a good option. Free play is also very important so the kids can socially engage and interact with each other. When the weather is nice outside (not much in the Northwest), we encourage the kids to play together outside.

Remember that all of our groups are always changing and adapting so our methods and practice need to change with them.

As the host of the home I have always tried to keep my eye on things and made an effort to help the mom's with young ones, stepping in to rescue them if they looked exhausted.  I think there needs to be leadership exercised as the host in serving, and sometimes that means that we sacrifice things in order to teach others how to sacrificially host and serve. We are always teaching by our actions…knowing that when others lead out of THEIR home someday, they will have seen that modeled and been taught that is how we develop servant leaders.

Remember that you are not being “Stuck” back with the kids…that your discussions are NOT superior and more important than your interactions with these young ones.  You can’t look at these kids as a hindrance or interruption. They need to be taught and guided and sometimes, depending on their age, this needs to be done in a separate area of the house so they can best learn and engage. It is an honor and privilege to pray for, prepare lessons for, and to hang out with them.

Most of the obstacles in our own group have been not logistics, but a heart issue. I have totally struggled with this in the past, that’s why I feel I can speak into it. My heart in the past has looked down on this task and looked at it as overwhelming and “not fair” that I am always “stuck” with figuring it out. I am ashamed of that...but, thank you Jesus for interrupting my thoughts and forgiving this sin, revealing to me that this is a situation to embrace, not “solve.” Hopefully, by the grace of God, after a little teaching to your adults, you will have people arguing about who gets to be with the kids next…I will pray you will see that happen…

Fleshing Out MC through Covenant

Committing to Life on Mission Together

As Soma Communities we define a Missional Community as a Family of Missionary Servants who make Disciples who make Disciples.

Every year we coach our MC leaders to form a group covenant shaped by this definition. They are guided through a process whereby they work through with their group what they all believe regarding the gospel and their gospel identity. Then, as they identify a people and place for accomplishing the mission of making disciples, they clarify how they plan to radically reorient their lives along the regular rhythms of missionary work in that context. The members who are willing to devote themselves to one another and the mission of the group then sign this covenant. This is followed by a public commissioning of the leaders and group at one of our church gatherings, similar to what we do when we send missionaries to another country.

This covenant is shaped around their identity in Christ:

Family – A missional community is a group of believers who live and experience life together like a family. They see God as their Father through faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ and the new regeneration brought about by the Holy Spirit.

This means they have and know of a divine love that leads them to love one another as brothers and sisters. They treat one another as children of God deeply loved by the Father in everything – sharing their money, time, resources, needs, hurts, successes, etc… They know each other well. This knowledge includes knowing each other’s stories and having familiarity with one another’s strength and struggles in regards to belief in the gospel and its application to all of life.

They speak the gospel truth to one another, regularly building each other up in love. They also love the people around them as if they were part of the family, showing them what the love of the Father looks like and in so doing inviting them to experience life in the family of God.

In light of this identity, the MC I am a part of committed to: 1-2 additional meals together outside of our weekly family meal; paying a portion of one of our families monthly expenses to the mom to stay at home; sharing our vehicles; helping with home repair projects; babysitting to give room for date nights; and much more…

Missionaries – God’s family is also sent like the Son by the Spirit to proclaim the good news of the kingdom – the gospel – and fulfill the commission of Jesus. A missional community is more than a bible study or a small group that cares for other believers. It is made up of Spirit-led and filled people who radically reorient their lives together for the mission of making disciples of a particular people and place where there is no consistent gospel witness. This means people’s schedule, resources and decisions are now collectively built around reaching people together.

Our MC committed to making disciples of The Wedge/6th Ave district and parents, teachers and students at Grant elementary school. We are intentionally engaged in daily life in this area together on mission getting to know the stories of the people in our missionary context; throwing regular parties and events; joining the existing parties and events; hosting The Story-formed Way to introduce them to the gospel; and praying regularly for their salvation.

Servants – Jesus is Lord and we are his Servants. A missional community serves those around them as though there are serving Jesus. In doing so, they give a foretaste of what life will be like under the rule and reign of Jesus Christ. Living as servants to the King who serve others as he served us, presents a tangible witness to Jesus’ kingdom and the power of the gospel to change lives. A missional community serves in such a way that it demands a Gospel explanation – lives that cannot be explained in any other way than by the Gospel of the Kingdom of Jesus (see 1 Peter 2:11-12; 3:15).

One of the key ways we are previewing what the restoration of all things will look like is through the community garden that we have created in our mission field. We also will serve at the school auction; serve at after school events; do regular neighborhood clean-up; and serve each other with home projects.

Disciples – We are all learners of Jesus our rabbi who has given us his Spirit to teach us all that is true about Jesus and enable us to live out his commands. Jesus commanded us to make disciples who believe the gospel, are established in a new identity and are able to obey all of his commands. The MC is the best context in which this can happen. Disciples are made and developed: 1) through life on life, where there is visibility and accessibility 2) in community, where they can practice the one anothers, and 3) on mission where they learn how to proclaim the gospel and make disciples.

For our MC this means: meeting once a week altogether around a meal, once a week men together and women together for gospel development (know the truth, believe and submit to it, do what ever the Spirit leads); learning how to study the Bible together in our combined meeting; going on a retreat to learn about biblical marriage and parenting; and training a new leadership team to be sent out to start a new MC by the end of 2011.

Every one of our MCs develops a similar 3-6 page covenant that they are coached through monthly coaching sessions to fulfill for the year. Every year they revise and rewrite their covenants.

2 Comments

Jeff Vanderstelt

Jeff Vanderstelt is the visionary leader of Saturate, the Soma Family of Churches, and the lead teaching pastor of Doxa Church in Bellevue, WA. He also travels around the US and the world equipping the Church in the gospel and missional living. He is the author of "Saturate: Being Disciples of Jesus in the Everyday Stuff of Life." He and Jayne, his wife of 22 years, have three children; Haylee, Caleb, and Maggie.

What is a Missional Community?

I posted the video for Gospel Fluency to provide the beginning to answering the question: "How do we develop a Gospel Fluent Culture?" I am going to post the second part to that series once it is edited. Now, before I start answering some of the other questions that have been posted, I want to clarify what a Missional Community is. The next post will describe how it works at Soma Communities. After that I will begin with "How do you do this with young children/as a family?" (one of the more popular questions).

So, What is a Missional Community?

A Missional Community is a Family of Missionary Servants who make Disciples who make Disciples.

Family – First of all a missional community is a group of believers who live and experience life together like a family. They see God as their Father because of their faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ and the new regeneration brought about by the Holy Spirit. This means they have and know of a divine love that leads them to love one another as brothers and sisters. They treat one another as children of God deeply loved by the Father in everything – sharing their money, time, resources, needs, hurts, successes, etc… They know each other well. This knowledge includes knowing each other’s stories and having familiarity with one another’s strength and struggles in regards to belief in the gospel and it’s application to all of life. They speak the gospel truth to one another, regularly building each other up in love. They also love the people around them as if they were part of the family, showing them what the love of the Father looks like and in so doing inviting them to experience life in the family of God (John 1:11-13; Rom. 12:10-16; Eph 5:1-2)

Missionaries – God’s family is also sent like the Son by the Spirit to proclaim the good news of the kingdom – the gospel – and fulfill the commission of Jesus. A missional community is more than a bible study or a small group that cares for other believers. A missional community is made up of Spirit-led and filled people who radically reorient their lives together for the mission of making disciples of a particular people and place where there is a gospel gap (no consistent gospel witness). This means people’s schedule, resources and decisions are now collectively built around reaching people together. (Matt. 3:16-4:1; Jn. 20:21; Acts 1:8; Acts 13:2)

Servants – Jesus is Lord and we are his Servants. A missional community serves those around them as though there are serving Jesus. In doing so, they give a foretaste of what life will be like under the rule and reign of Jesus Christ. Living as servants to the King who serve others as he served, presents a tangible witness to Jesus’ kingdom and the power of the gospel to change lives. A missional community serves in such a way that it demands a Gospel explanation – lives that cannot be explained in any other way than by the Gospel of the Kingdom of Jesus. (Matt. 20:25-28; Jn. 13:1-17; Phil. 2:5-11; 1 Pet. 2:16)

Disciples – We are all learners of Jesus our rabbi who has given us his Spirit to teach us all that is true about Jesus and enable us to live it out his commands. Jesus commanded us to make disciples who believe the gospel, are established in a new identity and are able to obey all of his commands (Matt. 28:19-20). The missional community is the best context in which this can happen. Disciples are made and developed: 1) through life on life, where there is visibility and accessibility 2) in community, where they can practice the one anothers, and 3) on mission where they learn how to proclaim the gospel and make disciples.

Responding to FAQs on Missional Communities

I have started a new blog and I want to serve as many people as I can through this medium. In this post I want to post many of the questions I receive through my training and consulting. I would like to find out what questions you want me to respond to. I am going to post the ones I hear most often and ask you either to let me know which of these you would like me to respond to OR what questions you have that I have not listed.

FAQs:

  • How do we transition our small group ministry to missional communities?
  • How can families with young children be effective in missional communities?
  • How do you raise up leaders for MCs?
  • How do you go about multiplying and sending out new MCs?
  • How important is the Sunday gathering in this approach to church?
  • How do you train MC leaders?
  • What does an MC leader assessment entail?
  • What is the role of women in MCs?
  • How does you wife handle this?
  • What basic training is required to start an MC?
  • How do you develop a Gospel Fluent Culture?
  • How do you counsel people who are "too busy" to be involved in an MC?
  • What does an MC Covenant look like and how do you help people form one?
  • What kind of ongoing training or coaching do you have in place?
  • What does this look like in a Suburban culture?
  • How do artists engaged this?

Let me know which of these you want me to begin writing on first OR what am I missing?

39 Comments

Jeff Vanderstelt

Jeff Vanderstelt is the visionary leader of Saturate, the Soma Family of Churches, and the lead teaching pastor of Doxa Church in Bellevue, WA. He also travels around the US and the world equipping the Church in the gospel and missional living. He is the author of "Saturate: Being Disciples of Jesus in the Everyday Stuff of Life." He and Jayne, his wife of 22 years, have three children; Haylee, Caleb, and Maggie.