The Hard Part
My wife and I started our first missional community nine years ago. In retrospect, starting it was the easy part. Co-leading a community toward health over the long haul was the hard part. See, there’s a big difference between being a starter and being a leader. There’s a shift that must take place in our hearts as we cultivate seeds planted and organize the life of a community around the gospel and mission of Jesus. We found ourselves asking: “How do we lead a missional community once it has started?”
The first shift that had to take place was our own internal understanding of leadership in a community. We stepped toward the reality that a leader in the kingdom of God is not a tyrant, CEO, or service provider. Instead we realized leadership in a community is best understood as a gardener, catalyst, and example. There’s so much to say about this first shift that we compiled it into an e-book: Communities on Mission Starter for Everyday Leaders. This resource will help you process the vision, role, and expectations of leadership.
Secondly, we began pressing toward genuine shared leadership and delegation. For a community to thrive past the first few months, multiple leaders will need to use their gifts and take responsibility. Saturate’s resource: Missional Community Teamwork is very helpful in understanding the tasks and roles to be shared.
Lastly, we knew we had to improve our planning. We were trying to figure each week out as it came and it wasn’t sustainable. We began planning month by month and then week by week. This helped us up to communicate the plan early so people could participate, but it also freed our minds up to be present with people each week without having to come up with a new plan. We created the monthly planning guide and weekly guide for that reason.
We’ve learned a lot in our nine years; however, these three practical tools have helped us the most navigate the practical implications of leading a group once it’s started.
We created a short video that will walk you through our response and these resources a bit more.