Sent to sow in our own backyards
by Andreas Mayer
None of us felt like an evangelist when we started.
But after 10 months of being part of a missional community – also known as a ‘Love Life Community’ – we’re starting to see its fruits. This is both in our own faith and understanding of Jesus and in the lives of the friends and colleagues God is connecting to us.
The basic idea of a missional community is simple. Instead of everyone in a congregation trying to serve in ministry and do a little evangelism on the side, one or more teams of between three and eight people are intentionally released from serving in other areas to focus their energies on local mission.
This means having time to meaningfully connect with individuals, not run programs. While doing so, the team members continue to worship with and be pastorally supported by their congregation.
As people come to faith, the missional community connects them into the mother church for ongoing discipleship. All of this is done with faith that our gracious God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – is already at work in the lives of not-yet-believers, drawing them to himself, and that our role as a missional community is to prayerfully discern how God is at work and where we can join in.
In our case, our congregation – Immanuel Lutheran Church, Woden Valley, in Canberra – is one of the ‘Sending Churches’ in the LCA, supported and trained by Church Planting Mentor and Mission Facilitator Dean Eaton.
As Dean trained us in evangelism and local mission, some of us were challenged by God (and our pastor) to step out of our comfort zone serving in church and be part of a missional community. Our congregation now has three missional communities representing three different age demographics.
It’s now been 10 months since we took up that challenge and, while God hasn’t worked through us in quite the ways we were expecting, we have grown in recognising the prompts of the Spirit and being faithful in following them.