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April 1, 2016

Incorporating Missions Into Your Microchurch

by Matt Ulrich

Microchurches – Grassroots Mission Bases

Microchurches are a major aspect of our church. In fact, microchurches are fully functioning churches. When a microchurch of believers are coming together under the banner of worship, mission, and community, the church is expressed. Microchurches are essential to empowering God’s people in mission. They are not meant to create new comfort zones for people. Rather, they possess the potential for emboldening believers to go beyond their comfort zones and to do things they never imagined themselves doing. Every microchurch can find a way to be missional in a manner that is natural for its own unique group dynamic.

Microchurches can play a tremendous role in doing the missional work of God, but they have to move both in thought and practice from being merely Bible studies, accountability groups, and prayer groups to thinking like and being mission bases. In order to do this effectively, however, you have to change your and your members’ perspectives, actions, resources, and expectations.

It’s Not Easy, but Necessary… Obstacles to Becoming Missional

Obstacle #1 – The Desire to Replicate Sunday Morning Services

Starve your microchurch of the Sunday morning mentality. People wrongfully outsource their primary gifting, calling, and function to the institution of the church and to “the professionals” in ministry. Microchurches are places for laypeople to reclaim their rightful place in the mission of God, not a place to reinforce the false notion of having “professionals” do it for us! Engage your microchurch members to be missional during the week and partake in missional activities as a group as well… don’t just have them listen to you preach and then wait for next week’s microchurch sermon!

Obstacle #2 – Security & Self-Centeredness

In order to be missional, we must step out of our comfort zone. Once you step out of the safe boundaries and reach out to those outside your microchurch, you’ll discover new passions and purpose in your microchurch and your lives. There is risk involved in stepping out. Dream big and don’t be afraid to fail! Create outwardly focused goals that can only be met if God somehow shows up!

Obstacle #3 – Breaking “the Huddle”

Sometimes comfort rules our microchurches, not Jesus. We have to be willing to leave the safety of the living room and step out in faith or others simply will be robbed of the blessings God wants to give them through you. (Genesis 12:1-3)

Football teams huddle up to plan, encourage each other, and to rest for a few seconds before running the next play. Huddles are necessary, but nobody ever won a game while in the huddle. Huddles are the starting point to a great play! We need to shift our thinking from Bible study to Bible practice. (Matt. 7:24-27)

Obstacle #4 – Compartmentalizing Being Missional

Every microchurch at this church can be and is called to be missional… PERIOD. It is not just for the “select Christians” who are evangelistic or justice-oriented. Being missional does not equate to a few days a year of altruism: it is a shift in thinking, priorities, and action that affects every aspect of your life. Being missional is a volitional choice that a microchurch makes. It’s a lifestyle.

What Does Being Missional Look Like?

Get It Started

  • Cast vision! Reveal the eternal importance of being missional to your group.
  • Pray! Assess the strengths, gifts, and passions of your microchurch. What gets you stirred up? What does your microchurch have a heart for? Ask God how He wants you to utilize these gifts, passions, desires through prayer with the group!
  • Focus on what you can do together as a microchurch that you can not do on your own that utilizes these gifts or passions.
  • Read Acts 1:8 – The Lord will show your microchurch how it can make a difference near or far, or sometimes both! He sent the disciples out to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth. We are called to those who need Jesus in both felt and spiritual ways right here in Gainesville and around the world. Is your microchurch called to Gainesville, helping another country, a people group?
    • Sidenote: Reaching out attracts the lost and puts you in contact with the least. Studies show that a microchurch reaching out to meet the needs of the poor and the community (both local and global) attract far more lost people to come alongside of them than simply promoting fun and games.

 Get Specific

  • Figure out a specific ministry, demographic, area, country, people group that God has put on your microchurch’s heart
    • Examples – widows, Pine Ridge, orphans, Speed the Light, Indonesia
  • Set a goal. It could be how to incorporate widows into your life, how much money you are going to raise for a cause, being intentional about building relationships with people in a local community, etc.
  • Dream big! There is nothing that God cannot do. (John 14:13-14)
  • ACT. Step out. Watch God show up and provide while at the same time transforming your microchurch members’ heart to desire more of the Kingdom. Being missional is like a virus that eventually affects everything you are and do!

Ways of Being Missional with Your Microchurch:

  • Invitational: Invite your VIPs and pre-believing friends to your microchurch to play sports, grill out together, or other easy entry points for them.
  • Local Missions & Community Issues: Identify needs in your community that touch your group’s heart; then serve to make long term solutions as a microchurch (Mentor at-risk kids together, get engaged with foster parenting, join Greenhouse with justice oriented issues, etc.)
  • Fund Raise: Prayerfully choose a topic that your microchurch can rally behind.  Set a giving goal with a time parameter of when you want to raise it by and start asking God for generosity beyond your microchurch’s means.
  • Focused Prayer: Adopt a people group in prayer and diligently pray for them!
  • Mission Trips: Contact a member of your church’s missions team and share that your group would like to go on a mission trip together. Learn about what your church is already doing and get a couple of recommendations on organizations that can help with the planning.

What is God calling you to do?!

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