Jeff Vanderstelt (Soma Community Church) presented a robust view of gospel-centered missional communities. If you haven’t read or listened to Jeff and Caesar’s thorough thinking in this area, I highly recommend it. Audio should be up soon.
What I want to share are some of the insightful comments Jeff made that are the fruit of years of leading and cultivating MCs. I found these comments most helpful for the present form of Austin City Life and have, in many cases, taken those comments and reworded them (mainly because I don’t have the direct quotes).
- As leaders of missional communities we must abide in the timing of the gospel. If we abide in the timing of the gospel, which is a lifetime, we will not become disgruntled or despair over the slowness of growth in missional communities, among our disciples. There is a tendency for all MCs to drift to Bible Study, to Community Group, to something other than a group of disciples that live in the gospel together on mission.
- Any group can do “Acts 2” as a moral act without mission. There is a tendency for MCs to devolve into a mere meeting, to not be a true community. Many of our people mistake the MC meeting for missional community. Two hours a week of sharing life and truth is not sharing life and truth. It is easy to slide into a meeting-focused approach to MC if we are not consistently challenged by mission. It is in being forced to give up our time to serve others that our heart issues are exposed. It is in painting a house, picking up a foster kid, serving a meal that our selfishness, grumbling, complaining, and relative indifference to the needs of others are exposed. In this exposure we are meant to turn to our community where we can receive gospel reminders, encouragement in the truth, prayer for increased love for others and for God.