austin stone missional community

Fall Alignment Series at The Austin Stone


Each fall at The Austin Stone, we take some time as a church family to do three things:

  • Align our church to our vision through integrated preaching, resources, and missional community discussion
  • Invite visitors to engage in a missional community and live the life of a disciple in community on mission
  • Define practices we will commit to together in the coming year

This fall, we are working through the core values and practices of missional communities.  Our preaching team will provide theological foundations and a vision for the kind of people God desires us to be, and our pastoral teams will help shape and define that vision in over 350 existing and new missional communities.

I continue to beg the Lord to conform our church to the image of Christ individually, communally and corporately, and that our actions as a church would be in line with our redeemed identity!  Would you join me in praying that God would challenge and encourage every person at The Austin Stone to live our their identity as disciples, family and missionaries?

For the many of you that follow this blog, I would encourage you to join our church in the journey!  You can find the appropriate sermons each week at, and you can access our missional community curriculum here.

We are also releasing articles each week to help define and add clarity to the core values:

Finally, if you happen to be in Austin and want to join with a missional community, you can find the various groups that will be launching here:

My hope is that these resources would benefit you and your churches as you seek to be faithful to Jesus!

faq missional community

Transitioning to Missional Communities

Friday FAQ

I am often asked:

“What recommendations would you give a church that relies (and has relied for quite some time) on a traditional Sunday-school or small group model?”

While every situation is different and requires specific situational wisdom, generally I would say a few things:

Affirm what is excellent about an existing model

Sunday School has done some excellent things in equipping the church with sound doctrine and providing a place for belonging for many.  Although I’m not convinced that Sunday School is the most optimal strategy, there are still many things that I find incredibly valuable!  If you are going to make a change, it is important to recognize that you’re building off a foundation that has some excellent redeeming qualities.

Also, it’s important to recognize that there were people who invested a lot of time and energy into a particular ministry structure.  Honor the investment they have made by affirming them!  Few things are harder than when someone critiques work that you have put a lot into…put yourself in the shoes of the person who has gone before you!  Also recognize that one day someone will come behind you and point out the deficiencies of your ministry strategy some day.

I’ve learned this one the hard way, and had some great friends in ministry who have rebuked me for being an arrogant punk, and taught me to always affirm what the Lord and people have done in the past.

Pilot what you want to see

Before you start telling people what they need to do, you should probably do it first.  I’ve been around plenty of pastors who see missional communities more through the lens of a sexy effective program that makes sense for their church, but not for them.  Without first-hand knowledge of the trials and struggles of MC life, there is no way you can effectively lead others to the radical and sacrificial life of a missionary.  I love how my friend Seth McBee illustrates this:


Piloting will give you stories as well as first hand knowledge of the difficulties. The stories and struggles you accumulate during this time of pioneering will help you connect to others who want to change as well as clarify strategy for the future.

Take it slow!

Finally, take your time.  Think through how you can reframe some parts of an existing structure before you go for a wholesale transition.  Ready, fire, aim can certainly be effective, but remember you’re running a marathon, not a sprint.  Meeting people where they are is often difficult for a hard-charging leader, but it’s critical to maintaining trust and relationship with people over the long haul.  Also recognize you WILL make mistakes, and every strategic transition takes at least twice as long as you think it will.

The older I get, the more reticent to change I become, and we need to recognize that reality and help people by not moving too fast!