How does a Missional Community launch new groups?
One of our Missional Communities’ goals is to start new groups. Since Missional Communities are building deep relationships and living on mission together, the thought of starting a new group can be scary. However, it is a necessary part of the process if we are going to reach more people with the gospel. So, how does a Missional Community successfully launch a new Missional Community? As I said in my previous blog, we are just learning how to do this, but initial experiences have taught us these lessons:
- A leader must be prepared and equipped to lead the new community. We are training and equipping new leaders by asking them to first serve as co-leaders in existing Missional Communities. These co-leaders will be prepared to launch a new group once the existing group grows.
- Other individuals from the existing group who support the new group’s leadership will join them, and need to have the gifts of hospitality, logistics, and outreach. Once this leadership team with a variety of gifts is ready, a new group can be launched.
- When launching a new group, the leader should avoid saying something like, “We are splitting into another group.” This is not what is taking place; instead this group is multiplying in order to reach more people for Jesus.
Missional Communities are successful when they launch new groups, so launches will be celebrated and encouraged because more people will be impacted with the truth.
When does a Missional Community launch a new group?
Missional Communities launch new groups for two reasons:
- The existing group becomes too large. When the following activities become difficult because of the size of the group, it needs to consider launching a new group or groups: finding a large enough meeting place; providing adequate childcare; welcoming new people to the Missional Community; feeling a freedom to invite new people to the group.
- A new “unreached” people group is identified. This decision could be based on geography, demography or affinity.
How does a Missional Community provide childcare?
There is no simple answer to this question, and there may never be for the simple reason that each group is unique, but it is likely to be the first question asked when parents consider joining a Missional Community. If we have any hope of fulfilling the Great Commission, we have to provide adequate answers to this question. Here are several options:
- Have the Missional Community meet at a home or a location large enough to provide the children a place to play. This could be a basement (not in our context), a nearby park, a backyard, or a playroom somewhere else in the house. If the space is available, the Missional Community members can then strategize to find the desired number of trusted baby-sitters who can provide safe, fun childcare at a reasonable price. The group can pool their money together to pay the babysitters.
- Have qualified students supervise the younger children, but assign a parent to be on alert in case a significant need arises.
- Find a neutral location where parents can drop their children off under respected supervision for the duration of the meeting.
- Get on a rotation schedule, where the children are physically present with the adults at every other meeting, and tailor your time to include them.
Again, the variety of childcare solutions is as varied as the groups themselves. With prayer and determination, parents can live on mission together with other adults even when their children are young. What better way to model living on mission like Jesus told us, than to just do it?