In order to reshape the imagination of people who come to worship at your church and thereby reform their expectations of what it means to participate in God’s Kingdom, you must make it clear that the point is to equip people to “get on the airplane.” (See previous post about how boarding a 777 is like participating in missional community.) In other words, we must create clear paths for people to move from the car to the ticket counter (New Member Orientation), from the ticket counter to the terminal (weekly worship), through the terminal (connecting groups), and from the terminal to the airplane.
From the beginning, people need to know that your church is not simply a provider of spiritual goods and services. You may have been that in the past. You may even be that right now. However, if you have a desire to move people into missional community, then you have to communicate that in small ways. You don’t need to lay out the entire vision and overwhelm people.
The two most obvious ways where this can happen are:
- New Member Classes: There is an incredible advantage to the a multiple class process that helps people understand your church and learn where they can get involved. The baseball diamond of Saddleback, the 101, 201, 301 process that many have adopted or a simple Class 1, Class 2 and Class 3 process can clarify that you are not just a nice church where people can come and spectate. These classes are not about discipleship. They are about informing people about the journey ahead.
- Preaching: Preach the Kingdom of God. Instead of preaching topically where it is too tempting to focus on your personal favorite or upon things that might tickle people’s ears and keep them comforable, do something like preach through Luke and focus on the meaning of the Kingdom of God. The average person in the pew might not yet be ready for a full understanding of what it means to live out missional community, but by simply focusing on the Kingdom of God, you will be preparing people for the radical discipleship that the Kingdom calls us to.
For previous entries in this series, click here. For the next entry in this series click here.