By Kay Kotan
Director, Center for Multiplying Disciples
Jesus said, “The first in importance is, ‘Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.’ And here is the second: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment that ranks with these.”
Mark 12:29-31 The Message (MSG)
We have all heard the statistics. Depending on what study you are reading, the unchurched is a growing percentage of our population ranging from 60-70%. We have come to understand there is simply a population of people who will never darken the doors of any church for a whole variety of reasons. Churches will not have the opportunity to receive them as a guest for worship. Ever. Rather than bemoan the facts, complain about why “they won’t show up,” and/or give up, we must remember we are still called to reach those very people in our mission field. But how?
We are indeed a called people. We are called to GO (not stay) and make disciples. We cannot just wait or hope they show up. We must go into our mission fields. It always warms my heart when I see a congregation out in the community sharing Jesus with those T-shirts on saying “the church has left the building.” These are people who are “going!”
What does it mean and look like to leave the building to reach people in our communities that will likely never be a part of the church as you and I know it? First, we need to intentionally be in places where unchurched people hang out. You are likely already in those places. This could be activities, events or hobbies you love such as volleyball, dinner group, book club, the gym, knitting group, cooking class, canoeing, wine-tasting, attending sporting events, etc. The options are endless! Basically, you are hanging out with unchurched folks doing the very things you love to do. You may already be part of a group. Or you may have the opportunity to start a new group around your own affinity. Once we have heard the affinity possibilities in our mission field, we then begin the process of developing the missional community. The development process for this group is what we refer to as HARVEST.
Every church can have a missional community or two! In fact, some churches have a network of missional communities reaching more people than in their Sunday morning worship service. And in reality, every disciple could be investing in and building up a missional community or two. Just imagine what could happen! If we really began to intentionally raise up missional communities, there would be a whole new (potentially huge) movement where new people in our mission fields around Arkansas can begin to build authentic, trusting relationships with other Christians and with Jesus!
If you are curious and would like to learn more about why missional communities are needed, how to get started building one, and/or how to develop the missional communities, gather a team from your church and sign up for one of the two trainings coming up Jan. 18 or 19. You can register at bit.ly/reaching-missional-communities.
Come join us in this exciting movement to reach new people in new ways for Jesus Christ!