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
How Do I Do This With a Busy Schedule?
So we’re teaching people to gather as family over a meal, as disciples in an LTG, and as missionaries in a third place.
As we train folks in these different practices, honestly people freak out just a bit. The common refrain is “You mean I have to do ALL of this in one week?!?”
I recently had a conversation with one of our leaders. He is an orthopedic surgeon with three kids. His community has something like 25 children, and about three months ago they were completely exhausted with trying to meet each week.
In training, we gave him the freedom to stop gathering their whole community each week. Instead, they’re gathering every other week for a meal, and focusing on LTGs and third place.
Three months into the change, they are being far more effective at both community and mission.
It’s because they thought through a month, not a week.
As you think through shifting your practices, consider that these don’t have to happen the same way all the time, and every member of your community doesn’t always need to participate.
In the same way a nuclear family has different seasons of life and different needs at different times, so too do missional communities.
I recommend that communities at minimum cultivate:
- Gathering weekly in LTGs
- Gathering at minimum every other week for Third Place
- Gathering at minimum monthly for Family Meal
- Gathering to worship corporately on Sundays
Missional community doesn’t have to be complex – it’s thinking outside the box we have built for ourselves, and asking the question “how do we obey what God has commanded?”
Whether you’re leading a missional community or leading a ministry, I want to challenge you to consider – how are our practices fostering obedience to Jesus?