This is where leaders get hung up a lot: they read a book (like Total Church), go to a conference (like Verge), develop a man crush on a leader (like Jeff Vanderstelt), and suddenly expect everybody in their community to “get it”.
The reality is that all of us are new at being the church this way (missional communities), and the people you are leading are either new Christians (who will shockingly act like new Christians) or they have been Christians for a while (which means they have years of experiencing “church” a certain way).
How do you know if this is you? You spend a lot of time being frustrated with the very people you are called to love and lead.
2. DON’T JUST TEACH PEOPLE “HOW TO LIVE” & FORGET TO TEACH THEM “WHO THEY ARE”
There is nothing quite like a group of people “doing missional community” that have no idea that Jesus loves them. It’s a mess. It’s a new legalism that will lead to all sorts of awkwardness that actually isn’t very missional at all.
Oh that our missional communities would be an overflow of the Gospel of grace and Jesus’ relentless love for his people, rather than good deeds we do to try and impress God, one another, and the random twittersphere.
3. DON’T DE-VALUE SUNDAYS
Early on at Austin City Life we would welcome people on Sundays like this:
Welcome! If you thought you were coming to church today we hope it’s the last time you do!
Don’t do that. Now I know we meant well (Church isn’t a building, 4 songs, and coffee with donuts but rather a people!), but I am sure it was not very welcoming!
Another thing that it did is de-value the importance of the Sunday gathering. Sundays are important. Our affections for Christ are stirred, we are challenged by Gods word, we are encouraged by one another, and many from our city come and hear the good news of Jesus (some for the first time) – so what’s not to love? Now you may need to de-emphasize Sundays, but that is not a reason to de-value them.
Nate Navarro is the Pastor of Missional Communities at Austin City Life in Austin, Tx. He is husband to Melissa, step-dad to Jessica, and dad to Ava, Betsy Grace, and Mary Jones. He also serves as co-director of Austin non-profit Music For The City. Nate loves writing songs, plays an occasional show with his band The Romeria Lights, and enjoys Texas Longhorn and Washington Husky football.