In our experience, the most effective Missional Communities are the ones that have the clearest mission vision.
In other words, the leaders are crystal clear who they are primarily reaching and discipling.
What is a Missional Community Mission Vision?
Any vision for a missional community has to focus on reaching a specific group of people who are not yet whole-hearted disciples of Jesus. You can define the group by neighborhood (ie geography) or network (of relationships – such as a common interest), although obviously both aspects are always at work to some extent.
There is no ‘wrong answer’ here! Whether rich or poor, young or old, trendy or traditional, like you or different from you, the point is, who are you called to love intentionally? There are the people who will be at the center of your mission vision. These are the people amongst whom you will most authentically make disciples.
One way to think about this is to ask yourself, ‘In the new missional community, where will we put our proactive energy?’. Yes, there will always be unexpected situations that we are called to react to. However, just relying on those moments is no way to build an effective and growing missional community.
Instead, you as the leader must define who your missional community is called to focus upon.
Your Mission Vision Defines Your Details
This is absolutely critical for defining your MC culture, because everything else flows from this. For instance, the time, location, food you eat, and how you socialize will be determined by who you are reaching. Likewise, the way in which you pray, the style of worship, or the language that you use to describe spirituality will all be impacted by your mission focus.
So the starting point is to work out who your mission vision is to.
The questions at the end will help you on this journey, although there is one that generally is the most useful one, namely, who is your Person of Peace?
Person of Peace
Jesus teaches us about the idea of Person of Peace in Luke 10:1-11 (centered around verse 6). A very brief summary would show us that a Person of Peace is someone who:
- Welcomes you
- Receives you (and thus, probably unknowingly at first, Jesus in you)
- Serves you
- You intentionally invest in
- Operates as a gatekeeper, opening relational doorways into their network of relationships
My unsophisticated summary for all this is, ‘They like you and you like them’!
The principle Jesus teaches us is that the fields are so white for harvest that we should start with the easiest pickings first. Those will be different for different people, which should mean that if everyone plays their part, the whole field will be harvested!
Your role is to work out where you are meant to be focusing at this time. Essentially, Jesus asks:
- Where do you have favor?
- Who is already responding positively to you?
- Where do you think you will easily connect and impact lives?
Therefore, as you are thinking about where you should be witnessing and planting a missional community, a key indicator is, where is your Person of Peace?
The gatekeeper principle is important here. A Person of Peace will introduce you to others in their social network, giving you credibility and creating opportunity for you to impact a whole group of unchurched people.
The other thing to note is that a mission vision is not a static thing – it evolves and develops over time. However, at all times it should be specific and clear, even as you follow the leading of Jesus.
Finally, you need to process your tentative conclusions with an objective leader in the church, to give you accountability. They will help challenge you to be as specific as possible — I make all our group leaders write down their mission vision in 1 or 2 sentences, to force clarity and focus.
This is also important to do if you reckon that you can’t think of a clear mission vision right now. That might be true, but many times we have found that people end up thinking that due to self-imposed rules or boundaries (“Is that allowed?”) that are not from Jesus!
- As you look around, who are you called to love in a special way?
- Who and where is your Person of Peace?
- Is there an obvious ‘open doorway’ of opportunity for the Kingdom to advance?
- Who do you currently ‘do life’ with most enthusiastically?
- What is Jesus saying to you as you pray about this?
Who is your mission vision focused on reaching and discipling?
Use the comment section below to share your thoughts and experiences.
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