3. Suburbs allow you to know people well enough to serve them. There are people with needs right around you. Rather than serving at some organization over 20 minutes away, you can get to know your neighbors and serve them. We had a single mom living across the street and, as we got to know her, I saw that her yard was a constant struggle for her. I told her that her yard was now our responsibility.
So our entire MC showed up and worked. She sat in our driveway sharing a drink with my wife and was blown away, unable to comprehend why we would do this. So, get to know people. Is there a couple who hasn’t had a date in over a year because they need a babysitter? A mom who needs English lessons? An elderly recluse who needs a friend? Some neighbors who are looking for a regular central hangout?
Practical Elements of Suburb Missional Community
Let me talk about a few crucial practical elements have been a huge part of my MC.
1. Pray. I know, I know. This sounds like one of the Sunday school answers: “Jesus … Bible … God … pray!” But it’s not. Missional community is truly a work of the Spirit. The Spirit alone makes our testimony about Jesus effective to the world.
Jesus rebuked the disciples for their prayerlessness in working for Him against Satan’s kingdom (Mk 9:29). No less for us when we’re laboring to win people out of Satan’s kingdom. We must pray in a way that believes “you do not have because you do not ask!” Ask often with names and faces in mind.
2. Do things differently on purpose. This is crucial. Somebody smart once said, “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” You and your people won’t drift toward mission any more than you naturally drift toward any other kind of difficult obedience. In past groups, we assumed that studying the right thing would move us to obey it. It never really worked. So, we had to even talk about our MC differently from the beginning.
3. Cultivate community while doing mission. Obviously, there are at least two parts to missional community: mission and community (duh). So, that means that you’ll have to keep your eye on both. Your community needs mission and your mission needs community. A community without mission is self-focused (and disobedient).
A mission without community is hamstrung without the community apologetic. In our MC, we spent time in my home gathering for meals from the very beginning. At these meals, sometimes my neighbors would come by, sometimes they wouldn’t. Cultivating mission and cultivating community isn’t either/or, rather it’s necessarily both/and.