For the last 5 years we’ve made “growing as disciples and making new disciples” through missional communities our primary focus as a church. MCs have been the place where we’ve learned to live our identity in Christ (family, servants, missionaries) in everyday, ordinary life. MCs have been awesome and life changing for so many. They have also been hard, messy, and revealing! We will always be a church that makes following Jesus in community, on mission, and in all of life primary— because we believe this is what the New Testament calls us to.
With all of that said, this summer (June and July) we are encouraging all of Redeemer’s missional communities to take an 8 week break from formal gatherings. Although a lot of churches often take a break from groups during the summer or holidays, this is something that we’ve never done before. In fact, in the past I’ve said things like “a missional community is family of servant missionaries. You don’t take breaks from being family or living on mission”. While I still believe this to be true, I’ve come to see that it would be wise and good for us to take a break from formal MC meetings this summer. Here are a few reasons why:
Because we believe that “community” isn’t something you attend one 1ight a week, we can still live in community AND give our leaders and host homes some needed rest. Most of our leaders have been leading missional communities for several years now. As I’ve been meeting with our leaders, I think it would be a blessing to give them a break from having to prepare, plan, lead, and host. Not all of our leaders feel they need a break, but our elder team has agreed that we want to engage a church wide practice of slowing down and resting this summer. Just to be clear— we want to encourage you to continue to “share life” with those in your MC this summer. Get together with others for meals, play dates, and DNA throughout the summer, but by taking a break from MC gatherings we want to give our leaders some time to slow down and rest.
We are moving into a building this Summer (woohooo!), and for the first couple of months it will take extra time and energy to get it ready. Our hope is to be able to begin Sunday Gatherings in the new space by August. In order to do this we will need to schedule several different work days at the new building. During these work days we will be asking for volunteers to come up to the building to do a variety of projects on some evenings or weekends. Taking a break from MC gatherings will allow us to focus extra energy on the space for a couple of months. In the future we hope having a permeant space for our church will give us more energy for missional communities, but it will take us a couple of months to get there.
Slowing down is a spiritual practice that we need to practice more. Psalm 116: 7 says, “Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the Lord has been good to you.” Stopping (breaking) from regular rhythms to rest and reflect on God’s faithfulness is a spiritual practice that we often ignore. Over the last few years “missional community life” has become a regular practice in many of our lives. I think it will be a really good practice for us to take a break so that we can reflect and consider all that God has done and is doing in our missional communities.
Missional Communities will officially “break” the week of June 4th and begin again the week of August 6th. I’m confident this is going to be a uniquely rich summer for us as a church family! If you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to let me or your MC leader know.