Kaleo Church is still learning what it means to be a community of believers gathering throughout the week in homes across the county. We call these groups Missional Communities. Why? Our desire is that we would be gospel-centered communities on mission. As we’ve got a few years into this church plant there are a couple observations:
To ClarifyÄ¶A Missional Community is not PRIMARILY:
1. A Small Group
2. A Bible Study
3. A Support Group
4. A Social Activist Group
5. A Weekly Meeting
1. Small Groups as Bible Studies are the easiest to form but the most dangerous.
Why are they dangerous? In our early days we did much more class or Bible study gatherings. What we found is that theology “in theory” often leads to knowledge without wisdom. Thinking through the problem of evil and suffering in abstraction is quite different than sitting next to a young couple that lost their baby. Groups should use theology to re-orient people back to God/Truth but in such a way that it is focused on heart transformation and right thinking. Sometimes we call this teaching “theology on mission” since the aim of the theology is directed to specific worldview conversion.
2. Small Groups that deal with Support of one-another inevitably become exclusive and accommodating.
While not as easy as a Bible study, a support group can become the default when people are not on mission. Recently a church decided to move to a neighborhood small group model. Several of the ‘established’ small groups resisted. They provided an apologetic saying that their group had 30-years of deep relationship building that wouldn’t allow others to jump into this deepness they sought. 30 years of not being on mission will lead to exclusiveness and without mission the group will never get beyond itself.
3. Missional groups without a Community Centered on the Gospel can not last.
A missional group will quickly run into circumstances that require it to drink from the grace-renewal well of the gospel. Groups that gather around good causes and can-do attitude will eventually peter out as people become absorbed into something else or lack the motivation to continue.
Mission is a necessity for small groups to avoid #1 & #2 because mission requires gospel-supporting of one another that causes us to stand on the promises and truths in God’s word. Our hope is that our understanding of God’s word is intensified, our support through gospeling of one another is continual and the result is mission that causes us to seek the Kingdom of God first in all we do.