Over the course of the last several years of leading and multiplying Missional Communities my wife and I have seen some common mistakes that can prevent a Missional Community from multiplying. These are not only mistakes we've seen but also mistakes we have experienced directly in MC's we have led or MC's being led by those we have discipled.
1. Absence of Discipleship within the Missional Community
At 3dm we often say that "Discipleship is the engine that drives the mission." This is never more the case then within a Missional Community. When someone decides to launch a Missional Community without discipling a smaller group within the MC than over time it is very easy for the leaders of the MC to become the providers (of everything) and those that come to the MC settle to be consumers.
This absence of discipleship simply means there is an absence of intentional Spiritual Parenting and the natural result will be an obstacle to MC multiplication because there will not be any spiritual children maturing into spiritual adults and sent out to lead their own Spiritual Families on Mission.
2. Choose comfort over Shared Responsibility
One of the easiest ways to slip in to a typical "Consumer Culture" is to choose comfort over shared responsibility within the Missional Community. When those who are leading the Missional Community are more focused on the comfort of those who are a part of the MC it will always lead to a consumer culture where the leaders will eventually become burnt out.
MC's are meant to be light weight and low maintenance; one of the key ways this is possible is by creating a "producing culture" through shared responsibility within the MC.
If you are leading an MC where you are doing all of the emails, cleaning, prep, planning, etc there is a really good chance you are choosing comfort over shared responsibility.
3. Lack of Predictable Patterns
Predictable patterns are essential for the continued "on the fly" discipleship that is necessary for reproducing Missional Community leaders. As we look at Jesus' life we see that one of the things that makes Jesus the most incredible leader ever is that Jesus offers "imitation."
So often our culture gives people the right "information" and then tells them to go and "do it" which is a recipe for disaster and one of the reasons our culture has a hard time with reproduction.
Predictable Patterns create space for the necessary imitation and "on the ground" training that is essential to producing the kind of leaders that can multiply Missional Communities.
4. Limited Organic Interaction
It's been our experience that in our pursuit of becoming a "family on mission" that organized and organic relational interaction are essential.
In American "church culture" the organized predictable patters usually come very natural because of the programmatic nature of our culture's approach to church. However, when the organized nature of Missional Community is the only interaction among those in the MC then there is a really good chance that the MC will look more like a "program" than a "family on mission."
The "organic" nature of a Missional Community is the natural interactions between those who are a part of the MC that are not scheduled but happen naturally when people are committed to doing life together. These organic interactions create an environment where multiplication becomes a natural result for the MC.
An absence of these organic interactions will make multiplication feel unnatural and forced instead of the natural evolution of how a "family" develops.
5. Choosing Perfection over Excellence
When we judge the success or failure of Missional Community based upon the professionalism of any given MC event and the leaders of the event we create a huge obstacle to multiplication.
When MC can only be led by the "professionals" than MC has moved from a vehicle to experience "Family on Mission" to another proponent of "celebrity" christian culture.
However, when we are proponents of pursuing "excellence" instead of "perfection" we create an environment where people are not afraid to fail but encouraged to take a risk of leadership. This pursuit of "excellence" is a training culture that allows people the freedom to grow through incompetence in to a place of competence where the natural result is MC multiplication.
A Couple Closing thoughts...
My wife and I have been leading missional community for the last 4 years and we continue to learn each and every season how to more effectively cultivate a "Family on Mission" where the natural and predictable result is the multiplication of the family.
We are not perfect examples; we are simply living examples. One catch phrase that we hold on to with all that we are is, "anything worth doing is worth doing poorly until you get better at it."
This fall we are going to engage in another season of Missional Community. It won't be perfect but it will be a vehicle that will allow us to experience the gospel reality of belonging to a "Family on Mission" that will make a significant impact in our city during this season.
Would love to hear your thoughts, questions, and reflections....please comment below.