As God has led me in a new direction – post-evangelical, missional, and emerging – the reality of the disconnect between our lives as Christians in 21st century America and the lives I see modeled by Jesus, the disciples, and the early church has become ever more jarring. This is not to say that I have adopted a view which states that it is impossible to find and follow Christ as a “normal American Christian.” I am certain that God is present in the American church as He is present in His Church around the world.
But I think there’s more. We’re satisfied with the small glimpse of the kingdom of God which we allow ourselves when God wants us to experience much more of the fullness of His kingdom (remaining well aware that there is still more fullness to come when He brings about the new heaven and the new earth down the road).
So it is with this tension in mind that I am beginning to think seriously about what it might look like for myself, my family, and my friends to seek the greater presence of the Kingdom in our lives. And at least at this point, the idea I am toying with is something I am calling “missional community” (apologies to others who may have elaborated on this idea before or in better/different ways).
In my vision of “missional community,” a number of families and a number of singles would move into a neighborhood together with several goals in mind:
- Living a missional lifestyle to befriend, love, and care for a specific group of people.
- Pursuing community on a daily basis with others both inside and outside of the community.
- Living common spiritual practices together to increase the depth of the members’ faith.
- Giving sacrificially to ensure that other community members can remain in community regardless of difficult economic circumstances and that the needy outside of the community can be blessed.
I’m not quite sure that I would go as far as to call this type of community a “missional order” or a “New Monastic” one, but certainly it draws from that movement.
I’m sure I will have more to say on this topic over time, but this is just a beginning of the thought process for me. In the end, whether it comes into being is mostly a factor of whether it is God or myself who has set these thoughts in motion.