This series of posts provides an overview of each of the missional community practices we foster at The Austin Stone:
- An Overview of the Practices and a Story
- Different Kinds of Gatherings
- The Family Meal
- Life Transformation Groups
- A Third Place
- Putting the Gatherings Together
I’m eager for this series because it is primarily focused on the practical side of missional communities. Often times we stay in the theoretical world in the missional conversation.
That’s what I did with my talk at Verge 2012. I shared the idea that a missionary is someone who sacrifices everything but the gospel for the sake of the gospel. From there, I argued that we need new forms of gathering to be effective missionaries in our cities.
After that talk, the single most asked question I received was:
“What do missional communities actually do?”
So my aim in this series is to answer the question “how?”, rather than focus on “why?”.
Before we get practical, can I just say this though? Practices without a foundation of the gospel will ultimately produce self-righteousness or self-loathing.
The gospel does have implications for our lives though. If we’re rooted in the gospel, our communities will do different things. The practices we utilize flow out of our theology and philosophy of ministry.
I’ll explain each gathering in detail, but we use different environments toward one objective:
We want gatherings that foster obedience, not just information transfer.
And in order to fully obey Jesus, we need to build different kinds of gatherings into our communal rhythms to transition people from a “small group” mentality.
Any gathering or practice that we teach or cultivate is therefore aimed at obedience that flows from our identity in Christ. Who we are will dictate what we do.
What different ways have you tried to gather in your community? What has it produced?
Share in the comments!