faqs

FAQS

Please click on any of the questions below to see our responses


“Married couples – should they belong to the same Missional Community or can they be in separate communities?”

We usually encourage a couple to have a shared place of belonging in a Missional Community. If the couple have 2 strong visions, then we see there are 2 options:
• they choose one person’s vision as primary vision and belong to a MC that represents that vision, with the other person choosing to serve that vision too
• they both find a context that allows them to pursue their own vision, but they find a shared place of belonging to a MC that can support them in what they are doing.
However this decision is made, it is important to process this well with someone else or another couple and remain accountable about walking out this decision.


“What’s the difference between a small group and a Missional Community?”

A small group is a family-sized group of 6-12. A Missional Community is an extended-family-sized group of 15-30. When functioning well, both should have a healthy balance of UP-IN-OUT relationships (although we often find that there is a danger of small groups tending towards just doing UP and IN together).
The difference is in the level of closeness in relationships. Small groups have deeper relationships between everyone in the group, but Missional Communities are able to bring in a sense of “shared adventure” to the relationships. We find that Missional Communities are a great size for still being able to grow in relationship and care for each other, but are also big enough to actually make a difference in mission.


“Is the size of a Missional Community important?”

Yes. From a sociology point of view, Missional Communities fill what is known as the “social space” that is often missing in a lot of churches. Whilst you may have small groups to fill the “personal” space and Sunday gatherings to fill the “public” space, the “social” space is an important mid-size group that is missing in much of western culture. What we have found is that this “space” is often a great access point for those who don’t know Jesus. Its not as intimidating as joining other people’s “personal space” in a small group and not as anonymous as joining in the “public space” on a Sunday morning.It is also an easy size of group to share life with others (based on common geography or interest) and has proved to be an incredibly effective way of raising up leaders, giving them increasing levels of responsibility and experience.


“Do Missional Communities work for all ages?”

Yes! We have developed Missional Communities for kids, youth, students, young adults, families (mixing kids and adults), business people, vulnerable people, the elderly… pretty much every type of person you could imagine. What we seek to do with Missional Communities is apply transferrable principles to any context or mission field, rather than prescribe a formula which then only works for a few situations. The outworking of these principles will look different depending on the missional vision of the community, but the principles themselves remain the same.Kids – we normally expect kids to be part of family MC’s, with kids small groups to help with discipleship within the community. Click here to read a blog by Rich Robinson on kids and missional communities.

Youth – these may either be family or youth specific (i.e. led by youth). We have seen some great examples of both. We would always encourage youth led communities to begin with strong relational connection and accountability to both the youth team/ministry and the families of those involved.


“What do Missional Communities do when they meet?”

We expect all Missional Communities to have some expression of UP/IN/OUT every time they meet. The balance of this can depend on the type of gathering they are wanting to have. For this reason, we expect Missional Communities to have a rhythm and pattern for meeting throughout the month. Some gatherings may focus more on UP and IN whereas others may focus more on IN and OUT.If the leading beat of a Missional Community gathering is OUT, this may look like going to love and serve a local area/group of people in some way with practical help, or setting up a fun gathering to invite their People of Peace to.

If the leading beat of a gathering is UP, the community may gather to eat together and pray and worship before doing some Bible study and praying for their People of Peace.

It is important to note that what Missional Communities do is referenced to their missional context. They are not trying to recreate a church service or “Christian ghetto” within their mission field.


“What if we are small church of only 20-45 people?”

The question to answer in this case is whether you are trying to function in “public” space or the missional community-sized “social” space (see answer to “Is the size of a Missional Community important?” for more info on this). Some small churches try to function in the “public” space, which just feels forced and misses out on the level of relationship and family that can be experienced within the smaller “social” space.There may be 2 or 3 visions/opportunities within the church that could have small Missional Communities formed around them, or a small church could decide to all get behind one as a large Missional Community.


“What does worship look like in a Missional Community?”

People can be led in worship through:
• CD music
• Guided meditation
• A creative activity
• Drama
• A reading or reflection
• Sung worship
The list could go on! The emphasis is to make sure that when Missional Communities gather together, they help people to express praise and thanksgiving. Its important to think outside of the Sunday service box and allow people to be creative!


“How does pastoral care work in a Missional Community?”

The emphasis is placed on creating a culture and infrastructure where people are primarily able to care for eachother at a MC level, rather than always needing to involve central staff. This means that it is the job of the central staff to train and equip MC leaders in how to deal with pastoral care issues. In this way, the MC becomes the primary point of contact for pastoral care, with the central church being there as a secondary option if necessary.


“How do Missional Communities relate to the church leadership?

We encourage churches to think of MC’s as orbiting in and out of the central church throughout the month/year. This comes back to the principle of rhythms (as discussed in “What do Missional Communities do when they meet?”).
We see the need for MC’s to stay connected to the centre and be part of both larger celebrations and smaller gatherings by themselves out in the missional context they have been called to. The balance of celebration and local gathering is one that should be determined by dialogue with senior staff about the vision and makeup of the community.


“How do Missional Communities relate to Sunday services?”

We encourage churches to think of MC’s as orbiting in and out of the central church throughout the month/year. This comes back to the principle of rhythms (as discussed in “What do Missional Communities do when they meet?”).
We see the need for MC’s to stay connected to the centre and be part of both larger celebrations and smaller gatherings by themselves out in the missional context they have been called to. The balance of celebration and local gathering is one that should be determined by dialogue with senior staff about the vision and makeup of the community.


“How do I get started?”

Any journey into MC’s begins with people choosing to live first as a missional disciple. For us, living as a disciple means choosing to live in accordance with the person and pattern of Jesus. It is important to spend time discerning the missional vision that God has given you – what is your holy discontent? What is your heart’s desire? Where are the places/people of peace that God has given you?
Once you are clear on some of these questions, you can start to call others on the adventure too. This is the start of growing a MC and is all done in the context of dialogue with your church leader.


“I’m a small group leader – should I stop my small group and do a Missional Community?”

No! Instead, spend some time thinking about what your missional vision is, or the vision of the community is. Once you are clear on this, invite others to join with your group and meet regularly. Perhaps look for other small groups that share your missional vision and start to explore whether you could join forces as multiple small groups forming one emerging MC.


“How do I transition my church?”

We have written a blog series on this to start answering this question, but essentially it always starts by you living as a disciple first. As you do this, you invite others to do the same with you. This becomes the “yeast in the dough” that starts to grow a culture of discipleship. Once you have started this, you will begin to be able to identify those with a missional vision and release them to lead. This is the start of a transition to MC’s operating in a church.


“Can I get help?”

We offer various forms of input, help and support at 3dm UK in order to walk through this process with leaders from across the world.
We offer coaching for senior leaders, community leaders or ministry leaders who are looking to adopt the principles of discipleship and mission.
We also have a range of content and resources available to help you in the journey of MC’s and missional discipleship.
Otherwise, if you would like to get in touch to find out more, please click here