There’s a lot of talk these days about missional communities. Currently, I am working through Porterbrook’s Missional Community Life curriculum in three different venues, so I am discussing it quite a bit. About a year ago, I started my kingly moleksine when I accidentally bought a sketchbook moleskine instead of a regular hardback journal. I am not an artist, so there’s really nothing for me to sketch, but I do like to lay out my thinking in various ways, including systems, charts, diagrams, etc.
Several months ago, I began thinking about what would be the process of an unbeliever being engaged in a gospel community on mission. The result of that thinking was this process I “skecthed” out on my kingly moleskine:
Be-ing on Mission in Community
1. Be-friending – gospel-driven believers neighboring well in their community and building intentional relationships with unbelievers with a “sent” focus
2. Be-longing – these believers cultivate these relationships by dwelling (incarnationally) with their new unbelieving friends and invite them to be a part their small (group) community where they are engaged within a network of authentic relationships with other Christians
3. Be-holding – as unbelievers embrace the hospitality Christians have shown them, they witness firsthand and behold what the Christian life looks like (embracing the gospel). They see and experience up close both in word and deed lives transformed by the gospel.
4. Be-lieving – unbelievers come to understand what responding to the gospel means, namely repentance of sin and faith in Jesus Christ because they have seen it lived out among Christians. Through this, they also come to believe themselves in the good news of Jesus Christ.
5. Be-longing – new believers are incorporated into covenant membership in the body of Christ through the ordinance of baptism and learn life in the family of God
6. Be-coming – new believers begin to grow through continual rediscovery of the gospel in all its implications and application, being conformed to Christ in a community aggressively pursuing holiness and authentically practicing humility.
7. Be-getting – growing Christians reproduce themselves by making disciples in a community of disciple-making disciples
So the process of being on mission in a community takes an unbeliever from first engaged with gospel intentionality and ends with gospel reproduction (the process then repeats). The process can be broken down in pairs as well:
Mission and Community –> Befriending and Belonging
Mission and Gospel –> Beholding and Believing
Mission and Discipleship –> Belonging and Becoming
Mission and Leadership –> Begetting
That’s a brief summary of some of the inner working in my reflection of be-ing on mission in a gospel community. I’d love to get your thoughts on this. My hope is to create meaningful pathways for both believers to move out for the mission and for unbelievers to move for the message.