This series of articles is focusing on Mike Frost’s handy little book “Surprise the World – The Five Habits of Highly Missional People”. It might be hard to picture how adopting Frost’s five habits could transform a congregation. So let’s imagine together. Let’s imagine a series of “What ifs”.
What if there was a congregation, small in size and made up of mostly elderly people? The congregation has church buildings that they meet in for weekly Sunday worship services (when it is safe to do so!!). For the rest of the week the buildings and grounds are used by community groups for running their own activities. It is a busy site with groups coming and going, however there is little that each of these community groups know about each other (including the congregation).
What if congregation folk had read Frost’s book and felt called to bless these community groups that come to the buildings week by week? What if the congregation felt urged on by the community nature of God to help build community among these community groups? Knowing that these groups struggle to afford any promotional material on their own, the congregation offers to coordinate a combined advertising campaign for all the groups in which each group pays an equal proportion. Through the campaign the groups begin to be more aware of each other and begin to refer group members to other groups when there seems to be a fit.
What if the congregation wants to bless these community groups further? What if the congregation realises that on their own they don’t have the energy or resources to run community programs, but they do have the energy to further support the community groups that are already using the church property? The form of the support could be becoming a member of a group or offering to volunteer for a group in whatever way would be useful and manageable. Through participating with the groups in these ways the congregation folk are deliberate about living “questionable lives”. They find more little ways to bless the groups and their members.
What if over time authentic relationships begin to form between the members of groups and the congregation folk? What if they begin to share more life with each other, including eating together? What if moments begin to happen in which they share life deeply with each other, and begin to wonder what makes each other tick? What if these conversations begin to touch on the place of faith in each other’s lives?
What if at this point the congregation folk don’t do what congregation folk might normally do at this point? What if they don’tsuggest coming along to the regular Sunday worship gathering? Rather, what if the congregation folk continue in their habits of blessing and eating with members of the groups, and begin to do this more regularly with those who express some interest in faith, slowly drawing together a small group of people who together are interested in learning more of Christ and listening more to the Spirit?
What if over time this small group grows in being intentional about discipling, nurturing and keeping each other accountable? What if the group grows in how together they live out the five habits of highly missional people, and they bless and eat with others in those community groups and beyond? Wouldn’t the congregation have been transformed? Wouldn’t they have become a fresh and vibrant transformed expression of church?