This 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:
- Start a Missional Community
- Shepherd the People God sends you
- Serve a Missional Frontier
- Select and Huddle Leaders
- 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.