This wraps up the series on 9 Practices of Missional Small Groups (Community) Leaders. I wrote these to post to build upon my book Missional Small Groups where I introduce a way of understanding Missional Community as a story that a group tells through their life together. As I have written these posts, I have come to see how these practices and the concepts that underlie them show us how to create a missional habitat, a natural environment where the missional community story spontaneously happens. To those who are new to missional life, one might think that missional community “just happens.” But life doesn’t just happen. Life happens when the environmental factors are right to support that life.
I grew up on a farm. My father who loved just about every farm animal imaginable. Chickens, sheep, cows. You name it, he raised at least one of them at some point. We even hatched chicks from eggs we collected from the hen house. Sometimes a hen would “nest” and incubate the eggs herself, but we also had an incubator that would create the right environment for the development of chicks. It takes 21 days for a baby chick to develop and start pecking its way out of the egg shell. But for this to happen the eggs had to be placed into the right environment. Eggs don’t just become chicks without an intentional environment. This is the purpose of an incubator .
I’ve sought to identify missional incubation practices. When you do these things, you are much more likely to create an missional habitat where missional community “just happens.” It just flows organically almost as if life is supposed to be lived this way. But that makes sense. God created us to live in self-sacrificial, other-oriented love. God is agape and we are made in the image of agape. We are most ourselves when we live in agape. These practices aim to create an environment where agape can be experienced freely.