This is the final post in our short series on Missional Community as it is envisioned here at The Austin Stone. In case you missed them:
- Why Missional Communities?
- What is a Missional Community?
- MC Practice 1 – Life Transformation Groups
- MC Practice 2 – Third Place
- MC Practice 3 – Family Meeting
Today we’ll finish with some concluding thoughts on Missional Communities in the life of our church.
Fitting the Practices Together
We’ve spent a lot of time discussing the practices, and it is overwhelming to think about fitting all of them into a normal week, but don’t think about a week, think about a month! LTGs should happen every week, but you can rotate Third Place and Family Meeting. Experiment with it in your calendar.
Last week I wrote, “Family Meetings are incredibly valuable, so long as they fulfill their purpose.” It’s worth saying again. When they get off track they very easily become merely another weekly Bible study that grows and swallows everything else. That’s our default.
If either of the other practices disappear, that is an unhealthy sign. It is much easier to stay focused if there are a core of people in your MC who seriously love Jesus and are bought in to doing all of the practices together.
Tools are Only Tools
Your Missional Community is your network of relationships, not one or all of your practices. We’ll be the first to say that the practices we commend are merely tools and not gospel. What tool you use is optional. What each tool serves is not optional.
We must not leave our outward life unattended because we don’t happen to like the tool. Jesus commands us all to pursue the lost, to go deep, and to live in community. These are not only commands, but also God’s kind provision for our satisfaction, fullness, and a righteous life that is pleasing to Him.
How are you practically living out the outward, inward, and communal call to obedience?
The Glorious End of It All
We started this series by saying that God is passionate about the glory of His name. In the very end, the revealing of the glory of God is the culmination and fulfillment of history. Jesus, the Son, is exalted as the Lamb who was slain to purchase men for God from every tribe, and language, and people, and nation. All of creation will finally do what it was made to do: display God’s righteousness, His grace, and His glory. All will know!
Our Place in God’s Big Plan
This glorious vision is like a puzzle that God’s Spirit is sovereignly piecing together right here and now. He is displaying His glory by building His Church, gathering His people from the whole earth. God’s enormous plan is working in the seemingly small and mundane choices we make: meeting at a 3rd Place, extending an invitation, sacrificing a preference, doing an LTG, praying for boldness, being a family together, talking about Jesus.
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We love Missional Communities
We love Missional Communities—Christians in community who are committed to glorifying God by believing the gospel and making disciples, baptizing them, and teaching them to obey all He’s commanded us. May God grant us to be faithful in these small things, and then take our meager efforts and multiply them to bear much fruit!
Interested in learning more about missional communities? Check out the Austin Stone Institute. Get theological training and practical experience through a variety of internships and residencies.