Prep Time and Cast Vision
As a community begins, we encourage them to prepare for the first get together by thinking through the vision for the community. The majority of this vision comes from answering the questions above, but the first gathering of the community is not merely the leader sharing. The first gathering must be centered on the leader sharing the vision, but also forming the vision as a community. This involves letting the community speak into and establish the collective vision.
The entire community must take ownership of the vision. These first few gatherings are typically Christ followers who are discussing the core values being fleshed out to their neighborhood.
As the community group moves forward, we encourage the leadership to continually share leadership in the various ways the community life is functioning. From sharing the discussion lead-role to inviting people to use their gifts in hospitality, mercy or even prophecy to benefit the community as a whole. Each person has value to the community and the community will be lacking until each individual seeks to use their unique gifts, talents and abilities for the benefit of the whole. A community of contributors is formed through all seeing themselves as leaders toward the collective vision of the missional community.
This formation stage lays the groundwork for the future of the community. Taking the time to consider its direction is essential for long-term health and avoiding massive corrective transitions in the future.
We have not always done well in preparing leaders, but have learned not to be quick to form new missional communities, that we must be thoughtful in our approach as a church. Too much thought can delay momentum and movement, but too little will destroy it altogether.
Forming missional communities requires thoughtful assessment of how the gospel of Jesus Christ shapes a community to extend grace and mercy to their neighbors.