In a previous post, I shared some observations about the meaning of missional and some comparisons between missional and attractional evangelism. In this post, I want to focus on 5 characterisitcs of a missional group. I call these characteristics the “5 C’s of a Missional Community.” The better your group is at these five characteristics, the more missional it is becoming:
The Five C’s of Missional Community:
- C – Connect
- C – Content
- C – Consecrate
- C – Cause
- C – Change
Let’s quickly clarify these characteristics.
Connect – Missional groups do not live in isolation. With the exception of some discipleship groups, Sunday School classes and home groups are places where group members are seeking to connect their friends to the group and ultimately to God. I said the previous sentence carefully. Missional groups are not waiting for guests to find the group! Missional groups do not sit in a room and hope an unchurched person stumbles into the class. Instead, missional groups are actively inviting unchurched friends and neighbors to join them, to connect and make friends with people in the group. But also, ultimately to connect their friends with God and His Son, Jesus Christ through repentance and Lordship.
Content – Missional groups are deeply devoted to the study of God’s Word, both corporately and individually. Missional groups have such a high view of the Bible that the Bible itself is the focus of the study. Other resources are allowed in their study, but only if they help illuminate their study of Scripture. Missional communities understand that they are studying the very words of God Himself, “words not taught by human wisdom, but taught by the Spirit”. (1 Cor. 2:13). Missional groups go beyond being informed by the Bible, the people in these groups are being transformed by their study of God’s Word (Romans 12:2).
Consecrate – Consecrate means to set apart. Consecration is important for the entire group, but even moreso for the leader of the group. People model leadership. Unconsecrated leaders produce the same in their followers. Consecrated leaders will ultimately lead their group members to live lives that are set apart. Missional groups need consecrated leadership.
Cause – Missional groups exist for more than just the group. They exist to make disciples… both in their class, across the street, and around the world. A missional group recognizes that they are how the church organizes itself to complete the Great Commission. Missional groups recognize that they have unique gifts and abilities that are meant to expand the Kingdom. “Cause” is what a missional group does to put the Gospel on display in their community. I am a big proponent of Sunday School class or small group mission experiences. These experiences involve the entire group in hands-on mission involvement in their community. Groups that are conducting group mission projects almost always develop a sense of vitality that results from their effort to spread the Gospel through their neighborhood. This is nothing less than Spirit empowerment that comes from being faithful to the Gospel. These groups are experiencing the power of God in their midst as a result (Romans 1:16).
Change – God is bringing change to this world. Because of their ministry and faith in the Gospel, missional groups see change happen in several levels:
- First, they see change in themselves. They are growing believers and life in Christ is meaningful and fulfilling. It’s not always easy, in fact it is often tough. But their faith is growing.
- Second, they see change in their own group as they join together to put the Gospel on display.
- Third, they begin to see change happen in their own church. I firmly believe that the best way to change a church is one class at a time. Change a class – change a church!
- Fourth, as more of their church’s groups become missional, they begin seeing changes take place in their community. Their church is no longer a building on a corner, but a family of believers that is impacting lostness with neighbors, ball teams, civic organizations, and the work place. The Gospel of Jesus Christ drives out darkness and transforms communities.
- Finally, they see change happening in their country and their world. An unreached people group they have been praying for has the Bible translated into their language. A neighbor that one of the members has been witnessing to comes to faith in Christ. A church is planted; souls are being saved with the power of the Gospel.
For more information on the 5 C’s of a Missional Group, I have a series about it on my blog.
Bob Mayfield is the Sunday School/discipleship specialist for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. Bob also has his own blog at www.bobmayfield.com