As I consider the current missional community conversation, there are 5 major tends to watch conversation over the course of this year. These trends are not necessarily changes to the missional community and church conversation, they are the result of the local church wrestling deeply with how to live missionally as a community to their context.
These are the 5 trends to watch in your local church and in the broader missional church conversation.
- Re-Valuing of Sunday as Missional
- Customizing Missional for Each Church
- Patient Discipleship
- Dependence on Prayer
- Empowerment of women and youth
I’ll expand briefly on these 5 below, but will be posting a blog on each of them in the coming week.
Re-valuing of Sunday as Missional
The missional community conversation has largely been dominated by an emphasis on community life over Sunday gatherings. This is largely a response and a correction to the over-emphasis that has existed for years on the Sunday gathering as the only means of discipleship. The failure of the over-emphasis on Sundays was not seeing the gospel of Jesus Christ for all of life.
The re-valuing of Sunday as missional is recognizing the power of missional communities combined with a gospel-centered, Jesus exalting, and culturally engaging Sunday gathering. Mission flourishes when Sundays and missional communities are valued and serve God’s purposes together.
Customizing Missional for Each Church
The books and resources surrounding missional communities are largely pragmatic. The initial stream of resources flowed out of the success of a local context with local rhythms and practices. They have been helpful, but when embraced as the method for all places and all times, they lack the ability to meet the needs of every context.
The next phase for any church seeking to be missional is to take missional principles and adapt them to the gifts, needs, and missional reality of their local context.The next phase for a church to be missional is taking principles & customizing them for their context.
Discipleship is really messy and more of a slower process than we want or realize. The strongest amongst of can find ourselves in the most difficult of circumstances, the lowest of spiritual times, and even find ourselves in sin. The same is true of every believer.
Discipleship has often been viewed as an up-and-to-the-right straight process of growth, but discipleship is way messier than that, involves setbacks, patience, and a belief in the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ to overcome every sin, struggle, and trial.If we want to be missional, we must become patient in the messy process called discipleship.
Dependence on Prayer
Our western tendency toward strategy, practices, and methods can lead us to over-plan, over-whiteboard, and over-analyze the next steps. We can too easily trust in our methods instead of trusting in God.
Methods change, but God is everlasting. As the missional conversation grows, watch for the call to prayer to go with it. We must depend on God to act and this dependence leads us to cry out in prayer.We can too easily trust in our missional methods instead of trusting in our missional God.
Empowerment of women and youth
The missional conversation has largely been dominated by pastors and male leaders. Ever since Verge 2014, I’ve seen more and more people speaking to the need to empower women and youth as missionaries of the gospel of Jesus Christ to wherever they are.
It’s not that the missional conversation hasn’t empowered women and youth, it’s that the next phase will seek to speak directly to the life and circumstances of women and youth. In a number of ways this could move the church to be missional in new contexts that need the gospel most.
God is growing His church
There is no doubt that God is growing His church, both in number, but also in maturity. The same goes for us becoming more like God in our approach to the missional conversation.
The conversation is maturing so it can become a greater reality in every context.Watch these 5 trends in the missional community conversation this year.