All I Have is a Mission

In a few weeks, I’ll be launching a new Everyday Group (missional community) at Everyday Church. When I felt like God was first calling me to start this a few months ago, it’s clear that passion was not the only ingredient I needed. I wrote the following on January 25th:

A few weeks ago I realized that a mission is all I have. I’ve been dreaming about a new Everyday Group in Inwood/Washington Heights that would be focused on artists for months. I’ve mentioned it to a few people with mostly the response of, “that sounds cool!” and not much else. I even intentionally focused my life to be more on mission and connect with artists. After a while I got pretty discouraged that no one else was really rallying around what I was doing. Mission is hard to accomplish all by yourself! How was an Everyday Group of 20+ people focused on a mission together ever going to form from this?!?

Today as confronted to brutal facts, I realized that all I have is a mission. A mission by itself is not enough to build community. What I’m missing is a compelling picture of what the new Everyday Group could be. This involves vision (a picture of the future) as well as a plan (a pathway for how to get to the vision).

Anyone can be passionate about something on the hearts, or even that God has called them to do. Having a compelling vision coupled with a plan to make it happen is a completely different experience. Have you ever had a passionate dream to start something, but eventually realized that you lacked either vision or a plan?

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All I Have is a Mission

Launching with a Leadership Team

It’s the invisible necessity of missional communities. It’s a pipeline for current and future leaders. It’s what makes missional communities possible.

It’s a small group of  leaders (4-8) being discipled together by their huddle leader, usually as they lead a missional community together. “Huddle” is the term that 3DM uses, but I just call it a leadership team. It is a safe place where leaders can be challenged in their walk with Jesus. It’s is where leaders are poured into. I didn’t say that this is where I do leadership development. I do that. But it’s about helping them become closer followers of Jesus, not just leaders.

In a few weeks, we’ll be launching a new Everyday Group (or EG, our name for Missional Communities) that is focused on championing creativity in our neighborhood. As the future group leader, I started by recruiting a special leadership team. We have been meeting about every other week for the past 4 months to grow as disciples, clarify the vision, and try out the mission before inviting others to join us. Once we launch and invite others to join us as a legit Everyday Group, we’ll have a number of leaders ready to lead and disciple the group. When I think of trying to launch a group with 20 people on board (the minimum amount of people needed to start EG), I don’t know how I would have done it without starting with a leadership team.
(Actually, all of this sounds exactly like what you do when you plant a church: Find a planter, build the launch team, pour the vision into them, make sure all of the bases are covered, and launch a public service)

Here are the halmarks of a leadership team for me:

1) Relationship. The EG leader recruits everyone personally. There is an on-going relationship that will deepen as the team grows together. We share deep, often personal stuff with one another, so committed relationship is key.

2) Intentionality.  The team focuses both on launching/leading an Everyday Group as leaders and on each person’s walk with Jesus. Both of these must have equal weight. It is easy to fall into just one, but both are desperately needed. (This way of thinking is known as “invitation and challenge.” 3Dm has a great article where can learn more about it here)

3) Community. The team is leading together. As a team, they can share celebrations and challenges together that they wouldn’t be able to share with others in their group. These celebrations/challenges could be focused on leadership or on discipleship.

4) Process. The team provides a place where leaders can process both what God is doing in their personal lives and what God is doing in the MC they lead. The MC is the place where anyone in the church can receive training, “trying out” living for Jesus. The primary questions we ask in our leadership team meetings is: What is God saying to you right now? and What are you going to do about it? Both of those questions deal with leadership & discipleship issues and deserve a space for processing.

If launching a new Everyday Group were all up to me, it would mostly likely fail. But with a solid leadership teamin place, I am extremely expectant to what God will do through us. And beyond this group, I look forward to when those who are on the team today will be leading their own teams to launch their own EGs in the future.

Launching with a Leadership Team