What do you expect to see in a popular card shop at Christmas time?
The walls were lined with every kind of colorful, artistic card for the holidays in the popular Paper Source store. After searching far and wide, not even one card—word-wise or image-wise—alluded to Jesus’ birth. It seemed the stationery store was more comfortable with displaying make-believe flying deer, talking snowmen, and a jolly Santa who slides down chimneys than they were with Emmanuel, God with us through Jesus.
The next generation is in trouble
A large percentage of the next generation of Americans don’t get warm fuzzy feelings when they hear about Jesus, Christianity, or church. And due to the present political climate, a lack of interest is morphing into a strong distaste for anything Christian. The George Barna(s) of the world have informed us through their research that the next generation’s biblical faith and interest in church is indeed on a serious downslide. If we keep going in this direction, it won’t be long until Americans become the next unreached people group.
Living missionally for the next generation
My grown nieces and nephews have no interest in visiting or attending a traditional institutional church or a contemporary enterprise-style church. A “bring them to church so the Sunday church service can win them over” model will not work for them. In the same breath, many people of the next generation will dedicate their heart and time to yoga or other similar practices that blend communal, spiritual, physical, and mental practices.
THE SPIRITUAL HUNGER IS THERE, BUT OUR APPROACH MIGHT NOT BE.
One way forward is missional communities (MCs). A missional community is a group of Jesus followers (the size of an extended family) who practice the integrated rhythms of loving God, loving one another, and loving others by sharing and demonstrating the gospel to a pocket of people; and who multiply more MCs among new pockets of people.
In these cases, we are not inviting people to the “church” that they so dislike.
What we are inviting them to is:
- To instant and authentic community.
- To taste and see Jesus around the kitchen table, around a fire pit, or on a moving day for a specific family.
- To experience one person asking another to forgive them.
- To people showing up at their house with tools the minute they heard about the felled tree on their house.
- To explore, discover, and apply God’s Word together day in and day out in all aspects of life.
- To experience discipleship before they even know what it is.
- To a constant question among the group: “How can we as a community tangibly demonstrate the gospel to others around us? Any widows who need our help? Any single mothers that find life crushing in on them? Anyone who might be interested in diving into Jesus’s spoken words to those He encountered over coffee? Other?”
- To spontaneously changing up the meeting time together because there is something alive in the room or the Holy Spirit has other plans.
- And so much more.
To be honest, I can’t think of hardly anyone (unchurched folks) that would respond to an invitation to church, but several people come to mind that would most likely respond to an invitation to a community of people living on mission.
Why is Five Stones Global writing about missional community/house church/micro-church?
We have come to believe that missional communities, house churches, and micro-churches should serve as viable sending bases for missionaries. One of the main reasons is that their simple, transferrable, reproducible, and biblical practices translate well into a global setting. An additional bonus is that they have a high potential to care for the missionaries they send due to their strong relational connections. It reminds me of the Antioch church sending out Paul and Barnabas.
So we dedicate part of our time to coaching missional communities, house churches, and micro-churches on how to live missionally and multiply locally, and how to be an effective source of sending missionaries globally.
If this interests you, let’s talk.