What’s the difference between Small Groups and Missional Communities?

As you know we’ve begun a shift from Small Groups to Missional Communities. With any change, big or small, there’s bound to be questions. One question I want to answer is “What’s the difference between Small Groups and Missional Communities?” Here we go.

  • Missional Communities do not replace our small groups as much as they refine our small groups. The shift to Missional Communities is not an abandonment of our small group ministry, but a strategic call for our church to live out our entire Gospel Identity as Christ’s Church–together. Typically, Small Groups tend to focus on a couple Identities, Family and Learner. They are practically synonymous with “Small Group Bible Study”, right? And healthy small groups are the groups that have well attended, enthusiastic Bible studies and that provide a place where people are known, loved and accepted. Those things are great! We want this to continue in Missional Communities and yet also say “But wait, there’s more!”
  • Missional Communities are committed to living out not only Family and Learner, but also Servant and Missionary. So if it helps, you can think of Missional Communities as Small Groups committed to living out all four of our Gospel Identities together. Thankfully, some of us have been working towards or doing this already! For some of us who find it challenging to be Servants and Missionaries we will need to learn from you. Changing the name to “Missional Communities” reminds us that we are committed to learning and living, not just learning and leaving.
  • The shift from Small Groups to Missional Communities has more to do with a change of heart than a change of program. Calling each other to be servants to each other and our communities cannot be planned to only occur on Friday nights from 6:30-8:30PM. Being Servants will interrupt our plans and disrupt our comfort. Therefore we must ask our Heavenly Father to give us a Christ-like mind (Philippians 2:1-11). Calling each other to be missionaries to our neighbors is probably more challenging than going on a mission trip to another continent! Being Missionaries will cause us to examine if the gospel is as precious to our souls throughout the week as it is on Sunday. Therefore we must ask our Heavenly Father to cause us daily to see his glory in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:5-6; 5:14-20). We cannot commend to others that which we ourselves do not cherish!

Please pray for each other over the next few weeks as we continue our preaching series “Shift: from Small Groups to Missional Communities.” If things are confusing, don’t give up! We’re only in week 3 of a 5 week series! Seek out answers by writing your questions on the response card each week. Consider finding time to talk with the elders and those teaching about Missional Communities. And most of all pray that God would be glorified as we learn to live on his mission together—for his glory, our good, and the eternal joy of our neighbors.

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