Although there are a number of reasons why we have chosen to implement missional communities at The Austin Stone, there are a few critical reasons I want to highlight in this series of posts. First was a Theological Reason. Second is a Philosophical Reason. Third is:
A Pragmatic Reason for Missional Communities
As a church, we believe that God has called us to make disciples EVERYWHERE in our city. 71% of the city of Austin, if asked to come to a worship gathering, would decline.
If we want to engage the entire city with the gospel of Christ, we have to take the church to them. This requires every single member of the body of Christ to life a missionary life, not simply the organization itself.
Practically, missional communities provide the vehicle by which the church scattered can engage every sphere of society. Thousands of people gathered on a Sunday makes little to no difference missionally in the lostness of our city. Thousands of missionaries incarnating the gospel together in our city has the power to change a city.
Also, as a large church, we must have a place where the saints are cared for and pastored, where the “one anothers” of Scripture are lived out, and where we can exercise oversight and authority consistent with the New Testament.
If all we were to do was corporately gather, and corporately engage in mission, our elders would still be lacking in our execution of the biblical vision for shepherding the flock of God.
Pragmatically, we need a vehicle by which the church can care for one another, support one another, and where we can practically meet the needs that arise in the community of God.