A couple of days ago I posted which of the Five C’s of a Missional Group is the most missional, or in other words, what makes them the Five C’s of a Missional Group as opposed to the Five C’s of an Attractional Group?
I think that the temptation is to go straight to the C that has “missional” in front of it, which is missional cause. Certainly the cause or mission of the class would make it missional. Let me share why I do not believe that cause is the most missional C of the 5 C’s.
I was in a meeting recently and one of the people in the meeting suggested that we have a “missional” project as part of the event that we were planning. The suggestions were that perhaps we could have a food or clothing drive. Okay, all well and good… except that those are mission projects, not missional projects. In fact, I would suggest that if it is a project, it is in all likelihood not missional!
As small group leaders, we need to learn our lingo, and participating in a service or mission project does not make us or the project missional. Being missional is living as missionaries in our culture. Service or mission projects may help us, but missional is an attitude of our heart, it is living in our community as Christ would live in our community and living missionally is not tied up in projects. Having a food bank or clothing ministry as a church is a plausible ministry, but having a social ministry does not make the church missional. Seriously, who wants to be thought of as a project for your class!
“Connect with others” is where the rubber meets the road in the Five C’s of a Missional Group. Specifically, when group members are connecting with lost people in their neighborhoods, work places, schools, and putting the Gospel on display, that is when the group has become missional. Living as a missionary in the neighborhood reveals the true purpose of all of those Bible studies, ministering to group members, and prayers that the group members have been a part.
Living as a missionary and connecting as a missionary to the culture puts new light on the other C’s. Consecrated leaders are setting themselves apart in order to lead each member of the group to become a missionary. Remember, people model their leaders. Living as a missionary puts new light on biblical content. Matthew 5:13-16 is no longer a passage for us to use to instruct the culture on morality issues, but a call for us to live as missionaries in our culture and be living examples of salt and light.
Transformational change occurs when we connect relationally with those around us and put the power of the Gospel on display in front of them. In fact, each of the Five C’s is ultimately rooted in connecting with others.
There is a reason why I chose the word “connect” when developing the Five C’s. I originally was leaning toward the word community, specifically biblical community. But in reflecting and studying how this term might be received in a small group or Sunday School class, I realized that as a term it might come across as inward. But connecting has a different feel about it. To connect with someone requires effort on my part. It is this effort that is the essence of missional living, in my opinion.
It requires effort on God’s part to connect with me. I had rejected Him and His Son; I was living a life apart from God. God initiated the contact with me. John 1:14 says that God become flesh and dwelt among us, in other words, He left His neighborhood to connect with me in my neighborhood. Romans 5:8 says that God demonstrated His love for us, in that while we were sinners He sent His Son to die for us.
As small group or Sunday School leaders, we must reorient the direction of our groups. Leading groups to become experts in Bible trivia is not our mission. We must lead our groups in such a way that we are training and equipping every member to be a missionary in his or her neighborhood. In this manner, we understand that the Five C’s of a Missional Group are crucial to the process of making a disciple out of each person in the group.