It may seem odd to suggest a personal missional community vision seeing as this is about a community coming together for a mission. While odd, I’ve seen many missional communities flounder because the individuals within or leading the community had not taken the time to cultivate their own personal understanding and vision for missional communities.

The personal missional community vision is needed to serve the overall collective missional community vision, which I will have more on in a later post. The need is great, but an error could be holding so tightly to your own personal vision that it becomes about you over the community.

Everyone has a vision for their community, but it is typical found in unspoken expectations, hopes, or disappointments. Everyone must evaluate their aims for community to see if it is line with God’s heart for His people.

Why the Vision?

The “success” of your missional community depends on everyone being committed to something greater than themselves, mainly the gospel of Jesus Christ. When each person goes a step further to process and consider how the gospel of Jesus Christ shapes their approach to being on mission with the community of God it becomes a game changer.

The reason I developed my own personal missional community vision (see below) is because I need a North Star to come back to when I get off track. I get tired, distracted, and concerned with other things. What do I mean by North Star?

The North Star is the only star that doesn’t appear to change positions and is always steady. Because of that, it can serve as a navigation tool and has for centuries. Our vision is intended to serve as a North Star. Steady enough to guide us when everything around us changes.

How do I cultivate this North Star vision?

Often our vision is informed by experience instead of scriptural truth. Experience can be an assist, as it informs what has blessed us and helped us, but nostalgia often causes experience to blind us from what was incomplete about our own experience.

Instead, we must search the scriptures to be informed and spend time processing how we naturally approach community and mission. As we process our natural approach, we must be willing to let the scriptures expand our natural approach to match God’s instructions for us.

Some questions to consider:

Why am I involved in my (small group, missional community, community group)?

Try and be honest about the needs you have, the desires you have in leading, and your hopes for the community.

How do the scriptures affirm my natural approach to being involved?

The scriptures agree with our needs, our desires to lead, and our hopes for community, but not all of them.

How do the scriptures expand my understanding of being involved in God’s community and on God’s mission?

Nobody has it figured out perfectly, so chances are you don’t either. God desires for us to grow in greater understanding of His ways and more like Christ with our life. Allows the scriptures to expand your understanding.

How does the gospel of Jesus Christ inform my approach to community?

The gospel can free us of reputation management, of behavior modification, of preferential approaches to relationship, and empower us for God’s mission.

How does the gospel of Jesus Christ guide my interaction and attitude toward my neighbors, co-workers, and boss?

Relationships with neighbors and our friends in the workplace can be very satisfying and very frustrating. Only following Christ allows us to approach these relationships well.

My vision with your vision

The harder part is taking your North Star vision and allowing it to be informed more practically and even refined by others in community. Moving vision from personal to collective requires compromise and while compromising sounds bad, it actually results in the community being able to accomplish more than just your vision would.

We’ll get into that more tomorrow, but for now, I’d like to share my vision and encourage you to cultivate your own.

My vision:

For the gospel of Jesus Christ to guide me as I enter into my missional community so that I don’t hide my shortcomings or sin, but feel free to share of my need for God, repentance, and faith.

I desire to enter my missional community ready to meet needs and have others meet my needs as the family of God. I desire to see people become more like Jesus through the scriptures and applying the gospel to every area of life. I hope people find greater joy, hope, and excitement for life through our community’s love for one another.

Lastly, I desire for my friends and neighbors to see and experience God’s love through our community serving and inviting them into our family.

What’s your Personal Missional Community Vision?

There’s no doubt you have a vision for your community, but chances are you haven’t analyzed, processed or voiced it. Take the opportunity to articulate your expectations, hopes, and dreams then let God shape your vision beyond what you have experienced or imagined.

Everyone has a vision for their community, the question is whether it is God’s vision or their own idea. @logangentry http://bit.ly/YNGYQK

About The Author

Logan Gentry

Logan currently serve as the Associate Pastor for Lower Manhattan Community Church in New York City. He has previously served as a Lead Pastor, Executive Pastor, and Community Pastor at other churches in NYC. His experience has focused on visionary leadership, missional communities, leadership development and church planting initiatives. Logan regularly assists churches in creating, cultivating, and implementing ministries to meet the needs of their congregation and engage their context with the gospel of Jesus Christ as a coach and consultant. Logan is married to Amber, they have three children and live in Manhattan.

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