Missional Communities are a form of missional-shaped church among unreached people and places. Find out all about the emerging network of missional communities in London by visiting www.missionalcommunities.london.
Missional communities have these key attributes:
A missional community is a group of believers who live and experience life together like a family. They see God as their Father because of their faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ and the new regeneration brought about by the Holy Spirit. This means they have and know of a divine love that leads them to love one another as brothers and sisters. For them, church is neither a location nor an event, but a series of relationships, firstly with Jesus and then with each other. They treat one another as children of God deeply loved by the Father in everything — sharing their money, time, resources, needs, hurts, successes, etc. They know each other well and are committed to live in relative proximity. This knowledge includes knowing each other’s stories and having familiarity with one another’s strengths and struggles in regards to belief in the gospel and it’s application to all of life. See John 1:11-13; Romans 12:10-16; Ephesians 5:1-2.
God’s family is also sent like the Son by the Spirit to proclaim the good news of the kingdom — the gospel — and fulfill the commission of Jesus. A missional community is more than a bible study or a small group that cares for other believers. A missional community is made up of Spirit-led and Spirit-filled people who radically reorient their lives together for the mission of making disciples of a particular people and place where there is a gospel gap (no consistent gospel witness). This means people’s schedule, resources and decisions are now collectively built around reaching people together and going to be with people where they gather to ‘worship’ and ‘share life’… e.g. Third spaces: pubs, homes, cafés, restaurants, schools, gyms… (Matthew 3:16-4:1; John 20:21; Acts 1:8; 13:2).
Jesus is Lord and we are his Servants. A missional community serves those around them as though they are serving Jesus. In doing so, they give a foretaste of what life will be like under the rule and reign of Jesus Christ. Living as servants to the King who serve others as he served presents a tangible witness to Jesus’ kingdom and the power of the gospel to change lives. A missional community serves in such a way that it demands a Gospel explanation — lives that cannot be explained in any other way than by the Gospel of the Kingdom of Jesus See Matthew 20:25-28; John 13:1-17; Philippians 2:5-11; 1 Peter 2:16.
We are all learners of Jesus our rabbi who has given us his Spirit to teach us all that is true about Jesus and enable us to live out his commands. Jesus commanded us to make disciples who believe the gospel, are established in a new identity and are able to obey all of his commands See Matthew 28:19-20.
Disciples are made and developed:
- through life on life, where there is visibility and accessibility
- in community, where they can practice the one anothers, and
- on mission where they learn how to proclaim the gospel and make disciples.
A missional community does not seek to get ever larger, but rather to multiply itself by releasing its members to plant new ones. Leadership is pioneering, innovative, teams are made up of apostles, evangelists, prophets, teachers and pastors.
A global network of missional communities is growing linking regions and nations across every denomination and sphere of society.
Examples of Missional Communities in London
- Acton Vale Missional Community – led by Rev Mark and Carrie Bishop
- Shepherds Bush Missional Community, led by Phil and Jenny Hoyle
- InnerCHANGE, www.innerchange.org led by John and Deanna Hayes, (an order within Church Resource Ministries) planting MCs in some of the poorest parts of the world. Currently leading a MC in Shadwell and linked to St Paul’s. John lectures at St Mellitus and NWTP.
- CRM apostolic community in Shoreditch, led by Colin and C’havala Crawley, linked to St Peter’s Bethnal Green
- Roehampton Missional Community – led by Andy and Clare Smith
Networks and resources
- LEN – Local Estate Network: a network of missional communities on local estates across London led by Andy and Clare Smith, leaders of Roehampton Missional Community
- Church Mission Society website
- Fresh Expressions website. Fresh Expressions exists to encourage and support the fresh expressions movement, working with Christians from a variety of denominations and traditions