Missional Community Practices – Different Kinds of Gatherings

March 27, 2013 — 3 Comments

This series of posts provides an overview of each of the missional community practices we foster at The Austin Stone:

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!

Todd Engstrom

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Although I was raised in the church and had a knowledge of God, I didn’t embrace Jesus until I heard gospel preached and lived out by some Young Life leaders. God has proven faithful and good to me since that day, even in great suffering and loss. I have learned to treasure Romans 8:28 as a wellspring of hope and truth. God has blessed me with an amazing wife (Olivia), three sons (Micah, Hudson and Owen) and a daughter (Emmaline). Growing up in the northwest, the thought never crossed my mind that I would have four children who are native Texans. Despite landing in the south, I still watch Notre Dame games with my children every Saturday in hopes they will land at my alma mater.

3 responses to Missional Community Practices – Different Kinds of Gatherings

  1. read about your “fitting them all together.” and since there is no article on gathering for sunday worship, I’m wondering how that fits in and where you gather. In other words, are you gathering as a group in local churches(probably not, as the identity and mission is methodologically different). Or as a group of smaller groups, or how?

    second question: what do you include in sunday worship? Bible teaching and worship, communion?

    Thanks

    • We gather for corporate worship on Sundays with our entire church community. Currently we are a multi-campus church, which serve as more regional hubs for MCs. We worship together in song, have the Word preached, and respond in worship and giving, as well as celebrate with the Lord’s supper.

  2. Thanks Todd, in our journey as a Church you always have practical advice to help 🙂

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