Missional Communities: How to Assess Health

Over the years we have used a number of different metrics to determine the health of Coram Deo’s missional communities. Last year I sat down and asked the question: what are the intuitive marks of a healthy MC? When the movement leaders around me point to an MC and say “that’s healthy,” what are the common denominators we’re identifying? Here are the four indicators I came up with:

  1. Stories: are there ‘good gospel stories’ coming out of this MC – stories of conversion and/or significant spiritual transformation?
  2. Discipleship: are disciples being made? Are leaders being trained? Are the people in the group maturing into disciples who make disciples?
  3. Spiritually Formative Community: are the people in this MC truly instrumental in each others’ spiritual formation? Are they taking responsibility for each other and for the mission?
  4. Replication: would we want to replicate this leader/group? Does this leader/group reflect the goal of our ministry? (If not: is it an issue of character, competence, or compatibility?)

For those of you leading missional churches… do these sum it up adequately? Any additional markers you’d add?


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  1. Perhaps this can be absorbed into one of your categories.

    How does this group surface and resolve conflict? Until conflict surfaces, the group is probably not cutting deep enough. How conflict is dealt with reveals the extent of gospel understanding.

    I don’t want leaders who are “above” or “beyond” conflict. I want leaders who can walk through conflict via the gospel.

    Not only does this dynamic empower the four good “healthy metrics” you mention, but it also saves it from being purely utilitarian – “rooting and grounding our hearts” (and relationships) in that for which they were created: “love” Ephesians 3:17 :o)

  3. The way I have seen conflict dealt with is through “discipleship” or through the “spiritual formation” piece. This happens in a group setting (Porterbrook Omaha, Missional Community) or in a one-on-one relationship (pastoral conversations). It has been natural for me to flee conflict, so it is formative for me to address the conflict and it is also formative for the community/individual.

  4. So I’ll throw this in the mix – I’m always slightly troubled (convicted) by this verse. After Paul meets with the elders in Jerusalem to discuss his ministry to the Jews, he says “The only thing they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor” (Gal 2:10) Does ministry to the poor have a place in assessing MC or church health? Or maybe in a broader sense, we might generally call this “giving.” Does evidence of giving outward (beyond the group itself) need to be part of the assessment? just curious as to see the response.

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