The Austin Stone is a church committed to the exaltation of Jesus through the proclamation and demonstration of the gospel to our city and the nations through missional communities. This blog series unpacks how we approach the difficult challenge of assimilation into smaller communities from our Sunday gatherings:
- The Difficulty of Assimilation and Mission
- The Basic Philosophy of Assimilation
- Barriers to Connection
- Strategies for Overcoming Barriers
- A Few Things We’ve Learned About Assimilation
Lessons Learned in Assimilation and Mission
As we’ve developed our approach to connecting people from our gatherings into community, there have been a ton of lessons we’ve learned along the way. In no particular order, here are some random learnings:
- It’s really difficult to balance assimilation and mission. Bottom line, there isn’t a perfect solution.
- Putting someone with no paradigm for missional community directly into a group living on mission is a recipe for frustration for the individual and the group leaders.
- Putting someone with a high value for missional community into a group that isn’t living out missional community is also a recipe for frustration.
- Starting new groups is way easier to instill a fresh DNA and connect new people than dividing groups and adding new people.
- It takes about 3 to 6 months for the average person to meaningfully connect into ongoing community at our church. Encourage people to stick with a group even if it’s awkward at first…connection takes time.
- Assimilation is not a “one size fits all” process. You need multiple pathways and opportunities to be effective.
- You will end up with healthier group participants if you train them early on in the life of group.
I’ve also learned a lot about connection from my friend Mark Howell…I’d highly recommend you take a look at his blog and read through it thoroughly!
I’d love for any nuggets of wisdom you have to share!