Unifying Design for a Local Church – New’ish Model

What is a local church model that puts three unifying directions of the mission of Jesus into a strategic plan?  We have been thinking, tinkering, and now implementing a new’ish model for Gateway Church the last 18 months.

Here are some of the design ideas.

ONE – Hillside Teaching to the 1000′s

The first directive we have learned from Jesus is the value of having a hillside to teach on.  Jesus gathered his disciples, tax-collectors, prostitutes and the sick on a hillside to teach them about the kingdom of God.  Of course Jesus taught in the synagogue too.  However, the sinners were not welcome in the synagogue. So Jesus created a new venue for teaching people about the kingdom. Jesus came to seek and save the lost…the sick, the sinners, not the righteous.  He created gathering places on the hillside for people to learn about the kingdom of God.  Our Sunday morning services are the hillside we teach on.  It is meant to inspire people to the realities and practicalities of life in the kingdom and as a follower of Jesus.

TWO – Missional Sending of the 100′s

Jesus invited people to learn from him not only through teaching but through relationships.  His disciples, who numbered in the 70′s, were sent out on mission two by two to various villages and towns.  This group of seventy were the disciples who took the message of the kingdom relationally to others.  This group of missional disciples had a large enough critical mass to courageously take the message of the kingdom to the surrounding area.  The scope of their collective effort made it possible to take risks and actually see impact.  Our medium sized missional community is for meeting spiritual and physical needs among hyper-local groups of people.

THREE – Life Transformation of the 10′s

Jesus called the twelve discples out of the larger group of seventy to be in closer relationship with him. He was gathering this committed core of learners to share life together.  He taught them the deeper layer of meaning and personal implications from his hillside teachings. He challenged them to be transformed by his coming and the new kingdom he was creating. By setting aside their old lives they grew into the new life (except for Judas). Jesus discipled them intentionally to live transformed and take with them all of his teachings and commandments.  It was life on life relationships of love, service and learning. They eventually went on to change the world.

Model Diagram

In the middle of these three unifying directions we are building hyper-local Networks by geography and affinity.  Networks are the engine of mission, community, discipleship and multiplication. They are focused on the city through mission to build relational contacts, gather them in crowds, connect people for spiritual growth in discipleship and develop a multiplying leadership core. This is a model of church we have been living in for the last 18 months.

Is your church organized this way for the 1000′s, 100′s, and 10′s?  What is the engine that runs the collective body of believers on mission in your church?

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Kirby Holmes
Kirby Holmes is a Groups and Growth Pastor at Gateway Church in Austin, TX. Gateway is a No Perfect People Allowed church where we often say Come as You Are…but Don’t Stay as You Are. Half of the people who attend Gateway would say they were far from God when they started attending. Gateway is a place where God is helping un-churched messy people become beautiful masterpieces of God’s design. Twitter: @KirbyHolmes Web: www.KirbyHolmes.me Church: www.GatewayChurch.com