Essentials of a Missional Community

With Mike BreenThis morning, seven of us are driving from Charlotte NC down to Greenville SC to have lunch with one of the most influential leaders in the church today; Mike Breen. Mike Breen’s ministry has had a profound effect on our ministry and Worship Harvest, specifically in the area of building a discipling and missional culture through Huddles and Missional Communities.

With over seventy Missional Communities, which translates to over seventy spaces where pastoring and discipleship is happening, and seventy frontiers where Kingdom breakthrough is ongoing at different stages, I can say that we’ve had relatively good success with this model. In fact this is our church model at WH. The MC is the church. Our locations (campuses) are equipping and sending centers for MCs.

So, I have spent quite sometime thinking about the basics that would help a Missional Leader succeed in leading an MC and creating a culture of discipleship and mission.

1. START a Missional Community.

What is the common denominator between Microsoft, Facebook, Buganda, Watoto Church, IHK, Nakawa Market and YOLO MC? Someone started it! This sounds silly and obvious but you know what, there will be no Missional Communities if people don’t start them. Someday is not a good day on your calendar. The truth is, you’ll never get better at anything you’re not doing yet! John Maxwell talks about the law of diminishing intent. The longer you take to act on a decision, the higher the chances you won’t. Some of you reading this have been sitting in your MCs for a long time now. It’s time to test your own leadership mettle. Start a Missional Community!

2. SHEPHERD the People.

Yes you read that right! Once you start an MC, you have pastoral responsibilities. You’re building an army to take love to the community but some of them haven’t received that much love themselves. Since you can’t give what you don’t have, an MC should be a space where people are loved and counseled through the issues of life. Past and present brokenness issues that have been buried, that continue to undermine their progress should be dealt with through prayer and counseling. Dr Ramesh Richard taught us that a good shepherd; Leads the flock, Feeds the flock, Guards the flock and Heals the flock. So, go on and shepherd the people God is sending your way.

3. SERVE a Frontier.

Mike Breen defines a Missional Community is a midsize group of people seeking to bring Kingdom breakthrough to a specific neighborhood or network of relationships. So, a Missional Community is first of all Missional and then a Community. The Frontier is that space where the MC is bringing Kingdom Breakthrough – The Mission. It’s where the MC intersects with the world. Since the big idea is not simply to have an MC but to catalyze a movement of discipleship and mission, you as a leader must be very intentional about taking your people on mission. Many MCs have struggled in this area even though they desire to do well. I think part of the problem is wanting to start off where Mother Teresa left it! Whatever you do and however small and seemingly insignificant, launch and serve a frontier. In fact, the most successful MCs are those that have launched with a frontier already defined. Remember, the point is not the frontier or the activity, it’s the culture of mission being developed. The earlier the better.

4. SELECT and Huddle Leaders.

I have not come across a healthy successful MC where the leader is not intentional about Identifying, Equipping & Deploying (IED) other high-capacity leaders in the MC. The best way this works is by the leader(s) huddling their most influential leaders and letting them lead the MC in many aspects while simply providing guidance and vision. You have to create time outside of your regular MC meetings to connect with your leaders. If you don’t know how to choose them, consider Bill Hybels’ criterion of Character, Competence and Chemistry in that order. All three should be present. Don’t choose your leaders hastily. Appointing is easy, disappointing is hell. Pray and observe your leaders especially under pressure before choosing them. After all, the cream only rises to the top when heat is applied! Find, select and huddle your high-capacity leaders.

5. SEND Leaders to START Other MCs.

What would have happened if the disciples had refused to leave the sweet fellowship in Jerusalem (which they almost did until persecution changed the story)? We wouldn’t be here. The Church of Jesus Christ is a Movement that must be changing, adapting, growing and moving the whole time. Anytime settlement kicks in and prevents us from reproducing and multiplying, we are probably being disobedient! The only reason you came to faith is because someone reached out. MCs are much more organic and can reproduce at a much higher rate than traditional church plants. I think that every MC should reproduce at least once a year. This can happen three ways. The first is the MC splits into two and the leaders send off another capable leader with half of the MC as was the case of YOLO and Dunamis. The other is where the leaders disciple a number of leaders and multiply at once where the different huddles led by the different leaders evolve into MCs. This is what we did with the elders and their G12s becoming MCs. The last one is where the leaders raise another leader and leave the MC under their leadership and go on to start another MC as was the case with BLA and Eagles. So don’t settle or stagnate, send out leaders to multiply your reach.

So here’s a summary of what we’ve said:

  1. Start a Missional Community
  2. Shepherd the People God sends you
  3. Serve a Missional Frontier
  4. Select and Huddle Leaders
  5. Send out Leaders to Start other MCs

For more information on all this, please read Building a Discipling Culture and Leading Missional Communities, both by Mike Breen. You can get a copy from any of the eight Worship Harvest locations.

Question: On a scale of 1-10 where would you place yourself on each of those five parameters? You could actually share in the comments if you don’t mind. Otherwise just let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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33 thoughts on “Essentials of a Missional Community

  1. A compelling writ Mosze. Breaks down the process well into simple practical steps.
    We have followed this advice and seen Kingdom breakthrough in Gayaza having started with one MC in 2014 and grown to 11 now. In order not to settle or die, our MCs at WHGAYAZA need to zoom in on this wisdom to grow to health. Thanks.

  2. In my brief time as a missional leaders, point four has been true. I did appoint in haste not based on prayer but purely on the extrovertness of the individual. I thought thier loudness equalled leadersship. Well I had not seen them in pressure environments and this was when I had an oops moment. Yes there is paid in having to ask someone to stop doing what you said they were born to do. Thanks Moses

  3. Woow, that’s when multiplication happens!
    To finish the great commission, we need to be intentional at all these parameters….where do I place myself? Am off to assess…..
    Thank you Mosze

  4. Good things have happened because MIKE put his God given Ideas on paper and they got to us. Thanks Mozse for digging wells of wisdom for us. Blessings!

  5. This simple blueprint has been repeated over and over to devastatingly great results. Having been in a missional community for some years, i can say, an MC that is healthy is such a powerful kingdom environment. Thanks Mosze

  6. This is louder than you’ve written. Awesome information. Many times we fear to start things, yet God gives Grace to sustain what we’ve started for His cause. Very encouraging. Thanks alot.

  7. Thank You Mosze.
    Here is how I would rate Myself
    1.START a Missional Community(10/10). We (Stacey&I) lead a missional community.
    2. SHEPHERD the people God sends you: (6/10) – We are yet to know all the stories of the people in our MC.
    3. SERVE a missional Frontier: (2/10) Identified a frontier but we have not yet kicked off
    4.SELECT&huddle Leaders:(7/10) – We are huddling the leaders.
    5.SEND out leaders to start other MCs:(8/10). We sent out a couple to start an MC three weeks ago. we are about to birth another one this month.

    I have come to learn that leading a missional community is a great way to understand how the body of Christ works.

  8. 1-Start a Missional Community
    9/10. Allen and I lead a missional community

    2-Shepherd the People God sends you
    9/10, We know the stories of majority of the people in our MC, except for the new ones that we have sent out to different huddles

    3-Serve a Missional Frontier
    4/10, Our huddle leaders have identified frontiers in their huddles that we going to help them take off.

    4-Select and Huddle Leaders
    10/10. Allen and I are huddling 3 couples that lead the different huddles and we meet every Monday to discuss progress and help with challenges in the huddle.

    5-Send out Leaders to Start other MCs
    5/10. We are yet to send out our huddle leaders to start MCs. Our target is end of June 2017.

  9. 1. Start a Missional Community-10/10
    2. Shepherd the People God sends you-7/10. I need to be even more intentional In shepherding God’s flock especially in regards to guarding and healing them.
    3. Serve a Missional Frontier-6/10. We are bringing transformation In education through paying school fees for children. We so far pay fees for 5 children in our neighbourhood.
    4. Select and Huddle Leaders-8/10.
    5. Send out Leaders to Start other MCs – 0/10. That score will change soon.

    Thank you Mosze. You have shown how easy it is to lead an MC. Anyone can do it.

  10. This is a good read. I have witnessed this model revolutionarize worship Harvest into a growing community of connected families on a mission which makes me proud. I know am way below as per the scale, but like the article states, I have to start. This is definitely something that has been on my heart.

  11. i love this and it could work as a checklist or markers for Missional Commuinty
    i especially lie the part of start !!! i tend to overthink things, this has greatly encouraged to fully embrace the entebbe road MC ……………….

  12. After all the information that has been said on the subject of MCs, you have given me a snapshot of what I need to do and evaluate as a Missional Leader.
    The question I have is, in what ways does the shepherd “heal” the flock?

  13. Start a Missional Community – 10/10

    Shepherd the People God sends you – 7/10
    We are intentional on having 101s with members of our MC

    Serve a Missional Frontier – 10/10
    As a worship team we do this weekly at the Garage and any other opportunities that arise.

    Select and Huddle Leaders – 7/10
    We are huddling the leaders. We meet twice a month.

    Send out Leaders to Start other MCs – 5/10
    The leaders are aware that they will be required to start other MCs. We are currently preparing them for that eventuality.

  14. 1. Start a Missional Community-10/10
    2. Shepherd the People God sends you- 6/10. There is need for being more Intentional
    3. Serve a Missional Frontier-5/10. We have identified opportunity at St. Peter’s SSS Naalya
    and we shall be starting in their coming term
    4. Select and Huddle Leaders- 2/10. We have leaders in mind but haven’t actualized the
    huddling
    5. Send out Leaders to Start other MCs – 0/10. We are still a young growing MC which will
    give birth in due time

  15. This is a “KISS” breakdown of MCs. I love Youth and I had never been in a space where there is so much community, love & purpose that someone’s life just starts changing. Sheperding people is the one that resonated the most with me. I have been meeting youth for tea or lunch every week for sometime now. We do tea, share our life stories, pray together and leave. I have found that all those that I met have become committed friends to me and to the #InvadersMc. I believe when you Shepherd the people of peace that God brings to you well, Frontiers, huddles and starting other MCs is made easier.
    My current rating
    1. Start a Missional Community (10/10-Precious and my started & lead the #Invaders)
    2. Shepherd the People God sends you (7/10 – I have met 70% of the people in my mc on a personal level, heard their stories, they have heard my story & I know where most of them stay)
    3. Serve a Missional Frontier (3/10 – We have a frontier though seasonal with St. Peters SS Naalya.)
    4. Select and Huddle Leaders (5/10 – We have a huddle of 4 leaders who take turns to lead MC every quarter. They do an incredible jo & are growing as leaders & disciples of Jesus)
    5. Send out Leaders to Start other MCs (5/10 – We have not sent anyone from our MC to start a MC but we ran a huddle that birthed the Zion Knights & Neon Lights MCs in MUK & KYU. These are part of the #Advance Campus Movement.)

  16. Loving this piece Mosze. I have personally learnt a lot from MC and Leading one is teaching me lots more. I agree entirely with all the 5 points outline. They are very simple to follow and reproduce. Am working on selecting and Huddling my leaders. I must say the 3Cs are very helpful.

  17. I love MCs because they kill the settlement and consumerism culture among us believers. Surely the only reason why i know Christ is because someone reached out. And MCs push us to be more intentional about the great commission and transforming our communities. To bring His kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven.

  18. This is how I rate
    1.START a Missional Community(10/10). We have started MCs
    2. SHEPHERD the people God sends you: (7/10) – This is a must whether we like it or not
    3. SERVE a missional Frontier: (3/10) We’ve identified a frontier but trying to desist from being Mother Theresa. So we are going a lil slowly. We want to first spend time with them like Claude did in Burundi.
    4.SELECT&huddle Leaders:(6/10) – This has been challenging. A fight of differentiating ducks from eagles. We’ve had a duck-at-eagle-school experience. But we are giving different people challenges.
    5.SEND out leaders to start other MCs:(4/10). This hasnt gone well.

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