We thought…but found… (part 2)

This my second post reflecting on the core of what we’ve learned in starting a church as a network of missional communities in NW Indiana. In my first post, I wrote about three things we’ve learned. I’ll just jump right into the last five…

Fourth, we thought that we could start by discipling people and creating an “extended missional family” around our nuclear family. But we found that we needed a few co-workers first who had some history of disciple-making together…

I think that the bar is further right at this point!

What a great introvert shirt! I think that the bar is further right at this point!

Fifth, we thought that we could start a missional community without pastoral gifts, but we found that the pastoral gifts (especially healthy sharing of needs and conflict skills) are extremely important in doing life-on-life well…

Sixth, we thought that we could use our house to foster incarnational mission and relationships. But we found it a surprising amount of work for our family on so many levels to have our house as the main gathering space.

One of my dreams was to free up money, resources and time from programming, administration and buildings. It seems to me that most churches spend 80+% of their resources on the worship services and building. What would it look like if a church used more of  it’s resources on relational mission and disciple-making? What if it it only spent 20% or maybe 50% on the worship service and building?

I’m guessing that some personality types could do house-based ministry well. I’ve met some families who really thrived with it. They seemed like high “Ps” on the Meyer’s-Briggs – very go with the flow, laid back types. But we’re higher “J” and it was a lot of work for us to navigate.

Lastly, we thought that proximity would be really important to foster informal community. We found that proximity does help, but that a common mission and scheduled rhythms are what mostly holds a community together.

It really was amazing to live so close to a few others in our simple church. But proximity alone doesn’t result in community. We learned half way through that there has to be intentionality in creating community. There has to be a real common mission and also space set aside in our schedules. And “meetings” – as in put-it-on-the-calendar-every-week-connections -are very important in our busy suburban culture.

I think those are the main things we’ve learned from our church plant. I’m so thankful for the community we’ve shared life and mission with over the past years. And I’m excited to see how God uses each of our experience for the sake of his mission in NWI and beyond.