Winter MC Quarterly Part 1
We had our Winter Missional Community Quarterly this past week and talked through understanding the pressure leaders place on themselves. 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.
I led the conversation this time - which was a break from our normal pattern of having one of the MC leadership teams teach the lesson portion. This topic came up with the staff as we were praying for our MC leaders and the health of their groups. Some of our leaders have recently been in seasons of feeling exhaustion, so as we examined what could be the cause of this we decided that a time of reflection and gospel reassurance would be beneficial for us all.
The main thing that needed to be highlighted is that the job/role of a MC leader is to love God and to love their people. The primary role is not to grow an MC beyond a certain numerical amount or cultivate an extraordinary sense of community. Those are great goals and motivations - but they are not complete in themselves. Our mission statement at The Well is to proclaim the gospel and make disciples. So thats where our expectations lie with us as MC leaders as well.
There are many things that can lead us to overstepping and feeling too much pressure. We focused on three of those reasons: we may have a strong desire to do great things, we may be placing our identity and worth into the role, or we may have unmet expectations.
As leaders, we may come to the table with grand plans. We may have envisioned tons of conversions, our dig groups getting deeper and deeper with fruit upon fruit, our groups replicating a couple times, or the bartender at the local third place bar is now in a dig group coming to know the Lord. All incredible goals. I want that for our MCs as well. But the point here is that if that’s the end all be all - things can and most likely will be disappointing if thats not the instant result.
I’ve been reading this book called “The Imperfect Pastor” and Zack Eswine in the first chapter is talking to a younger pastor about getting started in ministry. The younger man is saying lofty goals to his mentor and is inspired and ambitious. Zack during this convo is looking back on his many years including a divorce after going “all in” for his ministry. So Zack tells him -
“What if you are there already? What if you are already what God has in mind for you? You are a blessing to people in Jesus already. What if the place of ministry where you are with the family that you have is the place where God means for you to be with him? I’m just trying to say that it seems really important to know what we mean by ‘the ministry’ if we are going to go all out for it. My desire is that what you are going all out for is actually the thing God intends with the definition God gives it.”
So this isn’t meant to be a slow down and stop being awesome conversation. He isn’t trying to stifle his dreams. As he goes on in the chapter there are two things he wants this younger man to know. He wants him to have true contentment in the Lord and not the goals - so would he be content in the Lord despite the plans. And he wanted him to know that although God has plans for him in the future - He also has plans for exactly where his is in the present.
For us this could mean - his plans are not just for you to love the 25 people that our MC might have down the line - but also to love the 5 we currently have. The great things you do for the lord are not contingent on our definition of greatness.
I know it can be tiring if our groups haven’t grown in months or over a year. I know that it can be tiring if things haven’t gone as we have planned. But luckily its still great because we are proclaiming the gospel and making disciples. This isn’t a talk on lowering standards. This is a talk about understanding God’s will and rejoicing in our parts in it.
In the next blog we’ll talk about identity, unmet expectations, 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.