Recently I asked Coram Deo’s Deacon of Missional Communities, Paul Gardner, what he would want people to know about being part of a missional community. Paul is one of our most experienced MC leaders and has recently taken on the responsibility of coaching and training all of our current and future MC leaders. Here is what he said:
I want people to know that they will see the truth proclaimed. We learn to proclaim truth. We learn to protect truth. In our missional communities we learn how to communicate the gospel to our culture. We learn to recognize where lies exist. We learn to affirm where truths are present within the culture. We learn to proclaim the gospel in plain language, instead of speaking in Christian language and talking about Christian tools. We learn to replace lies with truth. (In my MC, I think of one young woman who was very much into pursuing career and security… The gospel has challenged this; now she is now staying at home part time, learning to submit to her newly professed Christian husband, and despite challenges with his job security, is trusting in the provision of Christ).
I want people to know that they will experience death. People will suffer within missional community. People will experience affliction, challenge, discomfort. People will learn to live for Christ instead of their own desires. They will learn to die to themselves. They will be humbled. They will die to legalism. They will die to their schedule. They will to die to false sources of righteousness. (Our MC has taken responsibility for one of the single moms among us. We recently took a whole Saturday to move her from one house to another. One of our guys spent many hours trying to ensure she would lose as little money as possible on damage to her rental house. Another is stepping in to help her with her son, seeking to serve as the influential male figure in his life. My own wife watches her kids regularly so she can get a break. This is not comfortable. Death has occurred here.)
I want people to know that they will see grace extend to more and more people. Bottom line: people get saved. God has purposed that His people would be involved in the salvation of those who do not believe. This happens in gospel community on mission. Too many examples to list here.
I want people to know that as they engage in gospel community, they will be the one that is changed. Many people ask questions like “Why would I want to be part of a missional community?” We complain about the content. We complain about the rhythm of missional community. We think of missional community as one evening commitment during the week. We want to give the bare minimum. We want to only be part of a missional community with young singles, no kids. Or we want to be part of a missional community where our kids’ needs are met. We fight for our own comfort. But as we pursue missional community, we find that we are the one renewed. Where we believe lies, the truth becomes clear. Where we live for our own desires in the flesh, we experience death and rebirth. Where we desire to experience personal renewal, we enter into the story of others experiencing renewal.
We will experience death and affliction (momentarily) but on the other side is a weight of glory beyond all comparison. We get to be part of God’s story. We move from seeing only what is visible to seeing what is unseen… what matters eternally.
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This is excellent! We are praying for these things to be evident within our MC; desiring nothing more than to see God glorified as we continue to learn and grow in what it means to be a missional community. Thank you so much for sharing this Bob, and for writing it so succinctly Paul.