When your co-worker or your neighbor asks you what you’re doing tonight, how do you answer when you’re gathering with your missional community/community group/life group/city group/small group unicorn?
As we develop vision for our missional community, we need to be able to simply remember it and share it with others.
For some reason saying “I’m going to a missional community where we live life together, sit in a circle to discuss the bible, and divulge our questions, doubts, and failures for the week” doesn’t seem like the easiest thing to say.
As your community develops a collective vision from your personal visions, look for a simple way to describe your community to your neighbors, co-workers, or friends.
Aim to be simple, clear, honest, and intriguing. This seems to be the way Jesus engages His disciples, the religious leaders, and those far from God in the Bible. He told stories, made simple statements that stood out, rarely felt the need to over explain, and then invited people to experience more.
Our tendency is often falls into two categories.
We try to make it cooler than it is, either with excitement or flowery language or we try to make it no big deal. Neither is true. In actuality it’s profound but simple, something everyone wants but doesn’t know it exists. A community that embraces one another without qualifications, provides space for questioning, vulnerability, and openness, then seeks to meet each other’s needs while joining together to meet the needs of others. Who says no to this?
Yet we don’t invite, partly because we don’t know what to say.
3 Simple Things for Remembering the Vision and 1 Example
Here are 3 simple things to consider as you seek to remember and share your vision with others.
Simple without Over-Explaining
The tendency for the church is to over-explain everything. Our aim for understanding is good, but we tend to expect people know everything as fast as possible without giving people the time and space to wrestle and struggle with what they know and believe.
Your vision should mirror an elevator pitch – less than 30 seconds, memorable, and create a desire to know more.
Clear about Christ without being Confusing
If you invite someone and they are surprised that you’re talking about Jesus, then your vision isn’t clear. There is a lot of confusion around the church, around the gospel and around the teachings of Jesus. In light of this, make sure your vision is clear that your community is about Jesus without complicating it with a lot of details.
Your vision should talk about Jesus and how your community interacts with Him and His teachings.
Intriguing along with Invitation
When Jesus spoke to the world around them, he seemed to tell them just enough to keep listening until he invited them to follow him and then he was quick to provide clarity. Similarly, we have the opportunity to talk about our missional communities in a way that is intriguing and inviting.
Your vision is incomplete without an invitation and the best invitation follows an intriguing explanation.
An Example for You
Tonight we host our community group at our house. You’re welcome to join us.
Our Community Group explores the teachings of Jesus and how our faith in His teachings leads us to love God, care for one another and meet the needs of our neighborhood. We eat together, talk about the challenges we face in our lives, discuss the scriptures and how they influence the way we act together and in our neighborhoods.
You’re welcome to come sometime. I’ll let you know the next time we get together or do something in the city together. You’d have a lot of fun.
Remember and Share Your Vision
After you identify a vision you think is simple, clear about Christ, intrigues and invites; remind your community regularly that this is what you are after and encourage them to share this with their neighbors, friends, and co-workers.