Vision and Reality: Starting to close the gap…

So, we have talked about identifying the pioneers and early adopters in your community – those who will act as front runners for your vision and become yeast in the dough.

But what do you do next?

Well, at this point there are 2 main challenges, both of which are about making the vision real and not something that remains a concept or theory. Below is an outline of these challenges and some highlights for where we will be taking things in the next few weeks.

The first challenge is to live a life of example.

John 1:14 tells us that ‘the word became flesh’. You will need to back up the words of your vision with your lifestyle – doing this presents them with the vision in a life they can connect with and want to imitate. The simple truth is that we cannot expect to lead people where we have not been ourselves or where we are not going! We have to be on the same journey that we are calling others to go on and walking in the same direction we are calling people to head towards.

Sound challenging? It is!

Sound like a process? Definitely!Something that we will talk about over the coming weeks is what it looks like to live this out personally and call people to imitate your lifestyle as you imitate Jesus. We will look at both the joy and the cost; the adventure and the challenge. These are the crucial first steps to begin the journey.

The second challenge is how to invest in these people that you have invited to join you.

This challenge involves deciding how you will gather people and help them to begin the process of examining their own hearts and lives. Through doing this, they will be able to re-imagine and be envisioned about what it means to live as a disciple. This is the way to uncover and refine the missional vision that God has placed within them.

Only by going through this process will your new pioneers really be able to affect change and become the yeast in the dough. To do this, you will need a clear strategy and plan. You will also need to start implementing some vehicles for change.

For this reason, something we will look at in more detail is Huddle. This is our primary vehicle for discipleship and represents the cornerstone of investment for both existing and emerging leaders. Many of us will be motivated by the end-goal to produce missional leaders who are leading Missional Communities. But remember;

Missional Communites are just the outworking of a culture that has discipleship at its core.

Huddle is a key component of building this culture and makes real-life discipleship a foundation of community life. We will explore how to invite people in to this process and to start making your vision a reality.

But wouldn’t it be great if people could get a taste of what it could look like?

In our experience of walking many leaders through this process, we’ve found it helpful to invite teams to come and spend time with others who have already started the journey and immerse themselves into a rich learning experience. For this reason, we run various events and workshops, focusing not just on the principles of Missional Communities & Huddles, but the stories, experiences and real-life examples of leading them too.

This “immersion” experience helps leaders and their teams to have something tangible to see, interact with, discuss and imitate. They are able to meet and interact with practitioners who are further along the journey, ask them questions and have myths or misconceptions dispelled. The input on the principles and practices of discipleship and mission is often an opportunity for leaders to paint for their teams a clearer picture of the course they want to steer.

They are helpful, both for those who have started the journey already, and those who are just exploring what it might involve. Capitalising on the initial enthusiasm of your pioneers is key to growing momentum at the start, so we encourage you to use the many opportunities available to do this.

We are running a Missional Communties workshop on 22nd September in Sheffield, which you can find out about by clicking here.

There are also extended discipleship and mission workshops taking place near London on the following dates:

5th-6th November 2012
27-28th November 2012
29th-30th January 2013

More details of these events will be available soon.

As you begin the journey, why not come and connect with those who have already been walking this path?

(Image “MountainTrekking” by Michal Marcol)
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