This is the start a 3-part series designed to help your Missional Community have a good balance of UP (focus on relationship with God), IN (focus on relationships with each other) and OUT (focus on bringing good news to others) from our friends at http://www.missionalcommunitiesblog.com . We hope you find it helpful – feel free to ask questions or make other suggestions in the comments! The original was posted on May 1, 2015 .
Engaging your Missional Community to have an ‘UP’ dimension can prove quite a challenging task. It is important that we remember to have a balance of all three UP, IN and OUT dimensions across the different gatherings and activities of our MC life. Otherwise we can be in danger of leaving UP to Sunday services, or prayer triplets and thinking our wider MC gathering has a purely IN or OUT purpose.
It’s also important to be reminded that we’re not trying to recreate a Sunday service at our MC. It’s ok if we don’t have a worship band, or if the leaders aren’t used to teaching from the Bible. Make your UP times appropriate to the size of gathering, demographic and your setting. This is also a way of discipling people in your MC about their personal UP, as the things you do together can be more replicable for them.
Here are a few areas of UP and some ideas of how to do them in your MC:
Thanksgiving prayer can be particularly good for helping people to engage with God in a larger group. This is also great for any people of peace who are part of your MC, as we can all try to think of something we are thankful for. We’ve also used the different names of God as a tool for helping people thank God for different aspects of His nature.
Hearing God’s voice
Growing in the prophetic can feel challenging depending on who’s in your MC. Using props, like items from the outdoors, can help give people something to focus on and see what God says through them. We did an exercise with our young families MC where we all did a handprint on paper and the rest of the group wrote words around our hand about how God sees us.
Sing together – don’t be afraid for it to be a little rough round the edges! Using Psalms are a simple way to worship. Try re-writing a Psalm in your own words. Videos with songs and actions for kids are fun. You could also do more creative worship, using props like a ‘thanksgiving tree’, which people can pin labels to which they’ve written on.
Reading the Bible together
‘Discovery Bible Study’ is a good tool that essentially uses the Learning Circle to process a Bible passage. In a larger group you could get teams to retell the passage using drama, song or charades. In our MC we did a scavenger hunt in the park and then made a collage of our favourite Bible story. We had some great discussions about why we particularly loved certain stories and characters in the Bible.
Finally …. remember to keep it simple! Leading an MC isn’t supposed to feel like leading a church in your spare time. Make UP times fit in with your MC’s predictable patterns. This creates continuity and helps the MC to feel connected with one another’s journey with God.
Helen, her husband Jon and son William live in Derby. They’ve been part of and led missional communities for the past 8 years and are currently leading a Missional Community with a vision to reach people in the workplace. They love red wine, cheese and the TV show Gogglebox!