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?