What is a Missional Community? – Definition

Over the next two weeks, I’ll be unpacking how we define missional communities at The Austin Stone.  See the previous posts here:

  1. Part 1 – Other’s Definitions of Missional Community
  2. Part 2 – A Vision for Missional Community


Our vision sets the stage for us to talk more about a missional community.

We are often asked “what is a missional community?”  Although definitions are limited in conveying the fullness of an idea, a missional community, as we would define it, is:

A community of Christ followers on mission with God in obedience to the Holy Spirit that demonstrates tangibly and declares creatively the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a specific pocket of people.

Because it’s impossible to capture everything we mean into a sentence, let me take some time to expand on what we mean by this statement:

The first piece of our definition that I want to highlight is this:

A Community of Christians”

In the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, God has redeemed a people for himself whom He empowers and sends to be his witnesses, as we see in John 20:21 and Matthew 28:16-20.

Additionally, as Jesus indicates in John 13 and John 17, the community of God is sent for a purpose.

We are called and sent to show a hurting, broken, and dying world that Jesus is who he says he is and did what he said he did.

The purpose of Christian community has always been to demonstrate God’s character to the world.  We do this as individuals for sure, but our communities are to be defined in this way too.

Another facet of this part of our definition is that being a faithful witness requires a community. You won’t be an effective missionary without the apologetic of your community.

We often say that we need to do “Lone Ranger” evangelism, but more often that not, it’s a dead end.  Community is essential to mission!


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