Early in the pandemic, it was said, “We are all in the same storm, but different boats.” This has proven to be true over the past year and a half, especially when it comes to missional communities or community groups. Despite different experiences regionally, we can all agree that this season has emphasized our deep need for embodied community. We were made for real, embodied community and our churches and our neighbors are hungry for it as we continue to learn to live in a world impacted by COVID.
Our team at Saturate is spread out amongst different churches in different parts of the country and world, but we all share a deep commitment to being practitioners of missional community life where we live. Here are some quick snapshots of what community is looking like for some of our team this fall:
Jessica Pohle – Bellevue, WA
As the haze lifts from our time in quarantine, our neighborhood is coming alive. Yard work, garage clean outs, and more strolls around the block mean we’re running into the folks we haven’t seen in over a year. As my husband and I are filling our calendar with travel, meals out, and game nights at home, I think I am most excited about the No Pressure Last Minute Hang with neighbors. This typically looks like a quick text to set up a doggie playdate, sharing a larger than necessary batch of chili in the backyard, and, my husband’s favorite, an ax throwing competition down the street. We didn’t realize 18 months ago how important our little community was to us (and us to them!), but having them to love on has brought intentionality back to our day to day.
Atanasio Segovia – San Miguel, Mexico
“Flexible” is the word I would use to describe what community will look like for us this fall. Things are fluid in Mexico. COVID cases are on the rise and our vaccination rate is low. In the fall, we’ll most likely see more restrictions on gatherings and public life. These changes will affect the institutional and “gathered” rhythms of the church. Nonetheless, community does not depend only on our “gathered” rhythms. We have the “scattered” and organic part of the church to experience it as well. We’ll lean on these parts to grow together and know each other more. For my family and I, it might look like sharing intentional time with part of our missional community. We’ll do it in walks in open spaces or meals with at least one other family. Since the gospel gives us community, we’ll be intentional about sharing and showing it in everyday life.
Sara Parker – Atlanta, GA
I love fall… cooler temps, pumpkin spice everything, and transitioning from the breezy, spontaneous nature of summer back to the familiar rhythms of routine. This weekend our community group is kicking off the fall with backyard games, a kiddie pool, and lots of food. With COVID continuing to bring complexity to our lives, we are shifting our fall rhythms. Twice a month we’ll gather with everyone all together at a park or in someone’s backyard, and weekly we will meet separately as the men and women. We’re going to alternate meeting on Zoom and in person on someone’s back deck. I’m thankful for everyone’s willingness to navigate the complexities of this season with grace, flexibility, and understanding. Being in a suburban context, there’s a strong cultural pull to isolate and insulate; I’m praying we can continue to journey together with honesty, sensitivity, and creativity amongst the challenges. I know Jesus has good things for us this fall as we seek after Him together.
Adam Hillyer – San Francisco, CA
In the midst of several core families moving away from our church last year, our elders prayed for Jesus to send more workers to our city and to our church. He answered that prayer! This fall, we are launching several new missional communities with shared leadership teams that include leaders who are new to our city. After a long, extended lockdown our church is hungry for community and we are already starting to look at multiplying our initial missional communities to embody Jesus’ presence in more pockets of our city. Personally, my family is excited to have people around our table and fire pit again, and to develop deeper relationships with our church and with our neighbors.
Duke Revard – Aledo, TX
This fall my family is gathering with our church plant on Sunday nights outside for a meal, fellowship, studying the Scriptures, communion, and prayer. We will have baptisms this Sunday at an outdoor baptism service! We are currently in a series on launching missional communities. Men in our community are meeting on Tuesday for a larger mentor DNA group—a short teaching then breaking into triads to process and pray. My missional community is focused on reaching middle school students and their families in our community.
We hope that these ideas are encouraging to you as you consider what community will look like this fall in your context. In a moment where forms and structures have to continually change, let’s remember the centrality of Jesus and our shared commitment to living as His family, servants, and missionaries in our personal and community life together.