Missional Movements – why we need to start at the beginning

Like many others in recent times, at 3dm we’ve noticed how phrases like “movements”, “missional church” and “missional communities” have increasingly become part of the topical landscape for Christian leaders and writers alike. God is on the move and the conversation is an exciting one.

However, one of the biggest lessons we’ve learnt in our journey is that there is always training process you need to go on to see any of this stuff work in real life.

Having all the exciting books and ideas just isn’t enough.

There needs to be a shift in the way people actually think and live that brings lasting change. Our story in Sheffield has been about God teaching us which building blocks need to be put in place first to grow a missional movement that starts to impact a city.

It’s a bit like mobilizing the troops – you could send untrained soldiers out to the front with all the right weapons, supplies and equipment and just hope for the best, or you could take them through a training process, step by step, that empowers them to use all those resources to become an army.

It’s obvious isn’t it?

They need to be able to think and be trained in the right way first, before they can become a truly effective force. To do it any other way would just be sending them out to slaughter.

So why should it be any different with a missional movement?

If we want to see something grow, and last, and continue to grow, we need to lead people through a process that empowers them to live this different life. This means starting at the beginning. As we have observed what’s happened in growing the movement here in Sheffield and beyond, we’ve found the process looks like this:

building blocks June 2013

You can see from this why all sustainable movements need to have large foundations in place to support the vehicles, resources and structures that sit on top.

At 3dm all our content, coaching and learning communites are designed around following this process.  In fact, these building blocks are what make up the 4 gathering themes of our 2 year Learning Community cycle.*

And over the next few weeks, we’re going to give you a snapshot of each of these key themes and talk about how they work together to get us on the right trajectory for leading missional movements. (For a fuller picture of each of these themes we recommend reading the associated book, available at the 3dm book store.)

So next time we are going to start at the beginning.

The first building block. 

Building a Discipling Culture.

*We run a 3 day Learning Community gathering every 6 months, with a total of four gatherings over a two-year period. Each Learning Community focuses on a particular theme, building on each other through the process and we want to spend the next few weeks delving into each theme of the Learning Community.

Our experience shows us that the most effective way of getting to grips with, and implementing, the themes of the Learning Community is to participate on one! If you are interested in participating on a learning community please click here


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