One of the most significant values of Missional Communities, is also the least recognized. MC’s are created and sold based on the value of conversion. In other words, “adopt missional communities as your outreach program, and you will expand as a ministry through conversion growth.” There’s nothing inherently wrong with this, of course. What Christian ministry does not want to see its community grow through students that are responding to its message for the first time? Even in the MC’s that do not see conversions, there is a powerful lesson to be learned by their leaders.
Christian Students that choose to lead a Missional Community, sign up for way more than they usually expect. The primary distinction for Christianleaders that are leading an MC from those that are leading a typical small group is that they are expected to GO to people outside the church, instead of recruiting them to join them in the usual Bible Study. In other words, these Christians do not only sign up to steward other student’s faith, but also to exit the social confines that the Church normally operates in.
The Christian world is a fun, but often sheltered one. While most university students are buying fake ID’s, going to keggers, and crashing private parties on campus, ministries throw ice cream parties and board game nights. A missional community leader can’t just live in this safe, isolated, church manufactured existence alone if they wish to reach outside of it. Instead, they have to make hard decisions about where and with whom, they will step outside of Christian culture’s bubble.
The positive end product is a Missional Community leader that is both conflicted and matured at the same time. A possible negative result is an MC leader that decides the world apart from faith, is more appealing to them than one that depends on it. I will let the question of God’s Will, Man’s Will, whether or not these people were ever Believers, and Perseverance of the Saints land in the arena of reader debate. A simple observation is that when Christians…every Christian, ventures out into a desert, they are tempted and have to formulate real answers and convictions to tough questions and situations that they will continue to live out thereafter.
I believe that most Missional Leaders will eventually find themselves on the other side of their journey outside of Christian isolation, and will understand who Jesus is in much deeper capacities for the rest of their lives. However, many Pastors fear what will happen to the members of their flock that are encouraged to venture past these walls. What do you think?