Paul Britt is in Year 2 of the Send SFL Residency Program at Family Church.
As I was driving up to my rented storage unit, I couldn’t help but notice the commercial building next door was torn down to the frame. It was a unique perspective allowing me to see the structure at its very core. It looked as if a fire had gutted the building, but the structure’s framework was still standing strong and ready to be built according to the owner’s new preference. The longevity, engineering, and usage of the building are determined by the framework.
Missional communities, much like buildings, must have some kind of structure. At Family Church, we have chosen a three-thirds model that is reproducible and reproducing. This framework is easy to follow, solid, and can be tailored to meet the needs of individual Missional Community (MC) core teams.
Each third of the three-thirds model relates to a core value of Family Church.
The framework looks like this:
The First Third: Build Families
The intent here is to build the church family and individual families by helping people discover and pursue God’s design. During this time, we also look back at the time since our last meeting as we share with each other. This is usually done around a small, simple meal.
Step 1: Gather for a Meal
A Meal with Jesus by Tim Chester points out the importance of the opportunity afforded around a dinner table. Meals were a common occurrence throughout the Gospels and are an inviting experience to build community and a missional mindset.
It is evident that the early church was a cohesive unit. The Gospels and Epistles refer to all believers as a family of brothers and sisters with Christ as our father. Romans 7:4 explains, “So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.”
At this meal, we build relationships among brothers and sisters with a common Father. We eat and talk like any family does, but the framework guides our focus as we discuss joys to celebrate and challenges to bear. This is a unique opportunity to dive deep relationally with our group. During our time, we learn of prayers that have been answered and glory is given to the Father. It can be extremely encouraging as the group sees the fruit of its labor through prayer. Typical stories include a hard exam that was passed, the healing of a friend, or deeper understanding of Scripture. This is a great way to start the meeting with momentum and give praise to Almighty God for his provision over our lives.
Not to be ignored are the challenges we are facing. This portion of time can often build cohesiveness within the group. As we learn about each other’s current struggles, we can encourage one another with prayer, wisdom, or solutions. Philippians 4, Galatians 6:2 and Acts 2:41-47 all discuss bearing burdens of the family, meeting needs, and breaking bread. Miracles, gospel conversations, and new believers were the results of bearing each other’s burdens. We expect that as our group becomes family, we will see needs met, prayers answered, and lives changed, thanks to the blood of Christ.
Step 2: Grow and Go.
We call this portion “loving accountability.” Once again, we are looking back at the time since our last meeting and to discuss how we have individually obeyed the Bible and lived missionally.
Growing is many times accomplished by going. Spreading the good news of Christ is accomplished as we live on mission and reach the lost. This is when we discuss opportunities we’ve had since our last meeting to use our gospeling tool, the 3 Circles: Life Conversation Guide. With loving accountability, we remind one another of the missional goals we set for ourselves during our last meeting and discuss steps taken toward accomplishing those goals. Even small victories are celebrated and we encourage one another to continue in our mission to spread the gospel.
Follow us to get future posts on the last two-thirds.