The first practice of leaders of missional communities is to hear to the call to go beyond a community that connects people. Connecting groups come in all kinds of forms. Some are short-term. Some are sermon study groups. Some are house churches. Some are even groups of 40. Some are even called "missional communities." What they are called or the form they take is not the point. Connecting community is a kind of story of life together that focuses on helping the people in the group develop good internal relationships. We need to help leaders think in terms of the story that the group tells, not about the strategy, the form or the name of the group. I go into depth about this in my book Missional Small Groups.
The call to missional community is the call to a story of life together where the group lives on mission together. It's a call to a way of life that makes a difference in the world.
Somebody has to hear this call. Someone in the group has to step up and introduce to the others that the group can be more than a connecting group.
This is not a one time thing. This is not something a leader does and suddenly the group goes "missional." The call must be heard on a consistent basis because the magnetic pull to connecting mediocrity is so strong. It's easy to settle for a good connecting group and it will always be tempting to go back even after enter into mission.
For the next post in this series, Practice #2, click here.