A couple was out walking their Jack Russell Terrier, Charlie, in the mountains. A squirrel walked passed, and Charlie broke free, pulling his leash behind him. Just that suddenly, the pair realized Charlie was gone.
They stopped and asked some hikers if they had seen Charlie, but no luck. They stopped by the ranger station and asked if anyone had found Charlie, but they hadn’t. They called their Bible study back home and asked them to pray for Charlie. They called the local radio station to ask them to announce that Charlie was missing. Charlie missing was no small matter. There were coyotes in the hills.
Through the course of the day, the community mobilized. A biker rode through the hills calling Charlie’s name. Rangers drove the mountain roads looking for the dog. Members of the Bible study drove in to help search. As the sun was setting, it looked like the dog might be gone. Then they got a call. Campers had found Charlie hiding underneath a car that was parked exactly where they had parked that morning. The couple describes this as the most profound sense of a community they’ve ever had.
When I first entered the ministry over twenty years ago, I had a simple vision. I wanted to be a part of an Acts chapter 2 church. You can read what made that church so inviting.
“Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:46-47).
What attracted me to the Acts 2 church is what that couple experienced when Charlie got lost, community. I, like many, desire to be a part of a church that gets community. Life is tough, I want to know that when it does, I have a community that will rally around me and lift me up. Missional communities are filling a void created in many congregations, a loss of authentic community. People have drifted from the church in search of community. If your church does community well, I would love for you to connect with me and share with me what you are doing and I will share it with the readers.
How are Missional Communities Filling a Void?
Most missional community groups explore the teachings of Jesus and how their faith is lived out in loving each other and their neighbors. The quest is to discover how to put faith into practice to have transformational kingdom impact. Jesus’ teachings lead believers to love God, care for one another, and meet the needs of our neighborhood. It is the Great Commission of Matthew 28, Mark 16 and Acts. Missional community groups live out the Acts 2 church model, they eat together, talk about the challenges they face in their lives, discuss the scriptures and how they influence the way we work together and in our neighborhoods.
Reconnecting to our Roots
What if the church were united in the search for lost people? In the book of Acts, the community gathered and joined for the mission of reaching a lost world, and it was the most profound experience of a community they had ever had. We can have that again. If you wonder how you lost your way as a congregation look at the agenda for your next leadership meeting. How much time and attention are giving to searching for lost people? If you do have it on the agenda how much money is set aside to accomplish that mission? Then the final question is how much time is given to equip the saints for the mission? If we don’t plan it, pay for it, and prepare people to carry it out is it really a priority?
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