As we have led missional communities at The Austin Stone, we’ve found there are some common transitions in the life of our communities, and this series is discussing those four stages. They are:
A new community often forms into a Community Group, then transitions from a Small Group to Team of Missionaries. As these transitions take place, the mission of the group is growing in clarity, and often going from generic to very specific and local.
A Missionary Team has a core group of committed people trying to reach a defined pocket of people. This kind of community is the truest form of how we define missional community.
Main Obstacle to Mission
Although a Missionary Team is doing an excellent job of living life together on mission, there are all kinds of challenges that exist.
More often than not, we have found that Missionary Teams are discouraged by a perceived lack of progress and the mundane nature of mission. Having worked through all kinds of transitions, a Team of Missionaries can struggle with faithfully and deliberately living life together over time.
The second struggle that many Missionary Teams face is multiplication – how and when do we multiply? Often times the struggle begins when someone comes to faith in Christ, and the dynamic of the group changes.
Main Coaching Point
On the coaching front, Missionary Teams will need practical tools when it comes to leading someone to Jesus. How do you baptize and disciple a new believer is a big question we deal with. We also teach them when and how to multiply – you multiply when a new leader has emerged, or you multiply your community when a clear opportunity for mission presents itself.
Missionary Teams often don’t need more practices or coaching, they need pastoring and encouragement to remain steadfast in their relationships with non-believers, even when it seems like nothing is happening.
How have you stayed committed to the mission and community you are a part of? Leave me a comment!