Be-ing on Mission in Community

There’s a lot of talk these days about missional communities.  Currently, I am working through Porterbrook’s Missional Community Life curriculum in three different venues, so I am discussing it quite a bit.  About a year ago, I started my kingly moleksine when I accidentally bought a sketchbook moleskine instead of a regular hardback journal.  I am not an artist, so there’s really nothing for me to sketch, but I do like to lay out my thinking in various ways, including systems, charts, diagrams, etc.

Several months ago, I began thinking about what would be the process of an unbeliever being engaged in a gospel community on mission.  The result of that thinking was this process I “skecthed” out on my kingly moleskine:

Be-ing on Mission in Community

1.  Be-friending – gospel-driven believers neighboring well in their community and building intentional relationships with unbelievers with a “sent” focus

2.  Be-longing – these believers cultivate these relationships by dwelling (incarnationally) with their new unbelieving friends and invite them to be a part their small (group) community where they are engaged within a network of authentic relationships with other Christians

3.  Be-holding – as unbelievers embrace the hospitality Christians have shown them, they witness firsthand and behold what the Christian life looks like (embracing the gospel).  They see and experience up close both in word and deed lives transformed by the gospel.

4.  Be-lieving – unbelievers come to understand what responding to the gospel means, namely repentance of sin and faith in Jesus Christ because they have seen it lived out among Christians.  Through this, they also come to believe themselves in the good news of Jesus Christ.

5.  Be-longing – new believers are incorporated into covenant membership in the body of Christ through the ordinance of baptism and learn life in the family of God

6.  Be-coming – new believers begin to grow through continual rediscovery of the gospel in all its implications and application, being conformed to Christ in a community aggressively pursuing holiness and authentically practicing humility.

7.  Be-getting – growing Christians reproduce themselves by making disciples in a community of disciple-making disciples

So the process of being on mission in a community takes an unbeliever from first engaged with gospel intentionality and ends with gospel reproduction (the process then repeats).  The process can be broken down in pairs as well:

Mission and Community –> Befriending and Belonging
Mission and Gospel –> Beholding and Believing
Mission and Discipleship –> Belonging and Becoming
Mission and Leadership –> Begetting

That’s a brief summary of some of the inner working in my reflection of be-ing on mission in a gospel community.  I’d love to get your thoughts on this.  My hope is to create meaningful pathways for both believers to move out for the mission and for unbelievers to move for the message.


Explore posts in the same categories: Community, Gospel, Missional

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7 Comments on “Be-ing on Mission in Community”

  1. Christiane Says:

    I am thrilled to see your initial steps.
    This is a foundation of ‘loving-witness’ of Our Lord among the believers that God sends into our communities.

    I recently read the reaction of a famous person who said ‘What could they have been thinking?’ when a group of Christian people offered to befriend and help Muslim people who had come to their community.

    I haven’t recovered from that reaction, as the famous man was praised and quoted and celebrated by many who also could not understand that a ‘loving witness’ of Our Lord Jesus Christ involves simply ‘love’.

    Without those first steps, the harshness of judgment of those who are ‘different’ reflects more pride than Christian compassion for people placed in our path who need our help.

    We are called to love. And to serve. In His Name.

  2. […] you’re in. What that looks like will be different depending on where you live, but Tim Brister has a helpful “Be-” list to give some guidance. Be-ing on Mission in […]

  3. wes Says:

    In the Be-longing section #2, you are inviting them into your community context. In the NW, belonging typically doesn’t happend until you get invited into THEIR context. So, I would add a “step” to the progression after or as a part of #1: JOIN them in their context and allow them to INVITE you into their context.

    It seems after #2, the assumption is non-believers are involved in the community for steps #3-7 to happen. This can be true but the greater distance to travel is from #1 to #2. Missional communities have to do better here. This often is more difficult b/c groups aren’t willing to leave their community gathering to be a sent people or do both #1 and #2.

    Also, Be-longing#4 and Be-coming#5 can begin long before Be-lieving. In fact, you say this to some extent in #3.

  4. […] Be-ing on Mission in Community: The process of being on mission in a community takes an unbeliever from first engaged with gospel intentionality and ends with gospel reproduction (the process then repeats).  The process can be broken down in pairs as well: […]

  5. Jimmy Proulx Says:

    I like your thoughts on this. To be churches that make disciple that make disciples, it is important for the leaders to teach discipleship. My experience is that a lot of churches have dropped the ball on discipleship. They love having people come to salvation but then the churches just leave them at the altar. There is no mentoring or guidance in helping a new believer advance in their sanctification process. This results in spiritually immature people making spiritually immature decisions. Discipleship must be taught to the leaders and then passed down into small groups to individuals.

  6. […] Be-ing on Mission in Community […]

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