Community: Inside & Outside of Microchurch
There is something about meeting people where they are at outside of the traditional microchurch/bible study setting. As much as we try not to, we all come with our “Bible study face” on when we go to church functions like a microchurch. It isn’t until you mix that up or hang out with people outside of your microchurch night that you really can get to genuinely know a person (or at least some other sides of them). Here are some suggestions on how to build community both in and out of your microchurch setting that don’t involve traditional, cheesy or churchy activities :
1. Take the summer off (without taking the summer off). I lead a young adults microchurch and we don’t ever officially “break” except for two week during Christmas. A lot of microchurches break for the summer and that is fine, but community should continue even if the “official microchurch” meeting is taking a break. What we do is we continue meeting on Tuesday nights, but shift the focus. We take 6 weeks and utilize that time to fellowship, whether that be over meals, playing games, or sports together. We take a relaxed approach and shift the atmosphere so that people can connect on a human level and not just a spiritual one. I used to be opposed to this philosophy of thinking until I saw the radical fruit, especially with the guys, that comes when given differing environments to interact in.
2. Have one night a week devoted to community (outside of your MC night). Plain and simple: you prioritize what you value and you value what you prioritize. If you take a night a week and dedicate that to hanging out with, praying with, eating dinner with, (fill in the blank with something you like to do) people in your microchurch, you will cultivate a stronger relationship and create more buy in. Sounds elementary because it is. More time together = stronger relational connections. You have to make that commitment though. You will be amazed at what taking two hours outside of microchurch a week to spend with your people will do to the overall dynamic of your microchurch.
3. Make “community nights” a regular MC occurrence. I will never forget one night at microchurch when we were having a game night. Some people brought some food over, we had corn hole set up in the backyard, and people were simply hanging out. No Bibles, no prayer and accountability… just food and corn hole. I had downs on the next game and my partner was a member of my microchurch who had been coming for about 5 months. He was a man’s man and did not have a lot of experience in a church/microchurch setting. We were in the same tiny (accountability) group and he had never gone anywhere other than superficial for the 5 months he had been there. But standing there beside me as we nursed our sweet tea waiting for the next game, he said, “Can I ask you a question?” and I had the deepest conversation I have ever had with the guy. Why? Because this was an environment he was accustomed to and comfortable with. Prayer and accountability freaked him out. Sitting in the back yard with a red dixie cup was more his style. Changing the environment will sometimes radically change the results and help you get what you were looking for in the first place!
So take a few steps in a community-esque direction this summer; work on building up your community and watch the fruit of your relational labor blossom!