What do you do when people have trouble making time for a missional community?
I think ultimately it's a discipleship issue. The individual has to take discipleship seriously. But it's also up to the church leadership to help disciple the congregation. I think both have a role. We are intentionally non-programmatic.
But secondly we call people to greater commitment to Christ. This is not a game that we're playing. This is not just a hobby that you have. Christianity demands all of your life. Christian discipleship is going to take suffering, and it's going to take us surrendering some of the things that we believe are rights in our culture. We do meet you halfway, and we intentionally under-program events in the church. But we're also going to call you to the life of discipleship.
Much of what we do in the church actually caters to consumerism rather than challenges Christians to be self-feeders of God's word, self-leaders in discipleship, and self-multipliers in making and multiplying disciplers. So we wanted to create a structure that stopped the consumerism and helped people learn and grow and be those things.
That's why I believe so deeply in missional communities. Because traditional small groups more often than not are centered on meeting a particular need which just caters to consumerism. It never challenges people to obey in a different fashion. Instead, they often just create and perpetuate consumerism: whether it's a specific Bible study, a community of people that are like you, or a particular need that you have to fill. We're not challenging people to self-lead, self-feed, and self-multiply.
It's easy to fool ourselves into thinking we're successful because we have 80 percent of our church in small groups, but how many in your church are making and multiplying disciples? Not just leaders in the church making and multiplying disciples, but everyday saints involved in the mission of God and making and multiplying disciples. That has to be the metric we use. We can't lose the Great Commission as our benchmark for what it means to be a successful church. The Great Commission is for individuals, communities, and whole churches.
—Amy Jackson is managing editor of SmallGroups.com.