Missional Intentionality Part 1
We had our Fall Missional Community Quarterly this past week and talked about what it means to be hospitable and invitational. Our MC Quarterlies are meetings designed to give our MC leaders a chance to learn from each other and continually grow, so one of our hopes is to provide a place for leaders to get fresh ideas and insights into what is working and what is not in their groups. Meeting with other leaders who are in the trenches of leading missional communities can spark vibrant dialogue and problem solving.
Jonathan and Laurel Witt, the leaders of the Central Boulder MC, led us in this conversation. The leadership team of this MC in an attempt to spur their community to action, chose to have their group study Everyday Church by Steve Timmis and Tim Chester. This book spells out what it means to leverage what we as Christians do everyday to be missional instead of segmenting out new patterns of life for that purpose. We don’t have a dichotomy between Christian life and normal life. This involves loving the overworked grocery story clerk, the slow barista at the local coffee shop, the next-door neighbors that take their dog everywhere, etc.
The group decided that since they love camping, they would plan monthly trips and make them open to anyone. They did this with two things in mind: missional intentionality and relational investment. We’ll talk through missional intentionality below and get to relational investment and takeaways in the next blog.
Bridget and I had the pleasure of being invited to these trips within a couple weeks of moving to Boulder and got to see how their missional intentionality played out first hand. We jumped into a weekend camping trip with 30 or so people having only previously met three of them - which was intense, but so worth it. What was staggering for us to see on this weekend trip was how genuine and easy it felt. Sometimes when church groups attempt something like this 1. It doesn’t take off because no one invites people or their invitees don’t want to come 2. It is awkward because the non-church-goers feel like an assignment rather than a person. These camping trips did not feel this way at all. In fact, those invited extended the invite to their own friends and the group got bigger! They didn’t decide to make this a “Christian camping trip” but instead made it a camping trip.
Bridget and I have gone with them three times now. There is a hilarious shared Google spread sheet to fill out beforehand, which is wonderful for structured people like myself. We plan to do a hike together on Saturday mornings with a whole bunch of food and drinks to follow. Preparing food to share out there is a challenge but for some reason we still commit to making pretty decadent meals. Those that don’t want to hike either go fishing or read books in hammocks. Jonathan will typically create a structure with his bear hands to block the sun when relaxing.
The key differentiator for this group as they planned these trips was the love of Jesus in them. This freed them up to make an event and love people for the people they are without making a thing out of it. At the end of the day - the win wasn’t in just creating a special event, but was in the conversations the casual trip allowed them to have. There tends to be a good amount of raw conversations and that’s a good thing. So think mindset shift as opposed to behavior modification.
In the next blog we’ll talk about relational investment and where this conversation went with the other MC leaders at the Quarterly Event.
If you have questions about Missional Communities or about leading one - please email Matt.