As we step into 2014, I am hopeful for the future of First Baptist Church Muncie. While we have undergone significant adjustments in recent years, we are experiencing new life in many areas. We begin our second year in our experimental ministry called Missional Communities. I would like to briefly discuss the progress of this ministry and encourage everyone to consider being involved on some level.
Eddie Gibbs in his book ChurchNext : Quantum Changes in How We Do Ministry describes the need for churches to attempt new models of ministry.
In a culture of chaos, experimentation and risk taking are the order of the day. p. 34
We began this ministry in February 2013. During a summer break and now winter break we are finding ways to adjust the program. In August, we experienced the dynamic of older congregates joining Life Groups. The intergenerational groups have been immensely rewarding for the group members (younger and older alike). We hope that the Spring groups will find additional members from all generations.
Also, we have found that our monthly Wednesday evening meeting has not been helpful for most participants. Weeknight obligations make it difficult for most to attend. Therefore, we are adjusting our monthly meetings to Sunday afternoons. We are designing social events on the first Sunday of each month for the intermingling of Life Groups. We will give this a try and see how it goes.
As we approach each coming year, we will likely find it necessary to shift ministry approaches. Our world is changing at ever increasing rates; we must be willing and able to adjust.
Missional Communities are a model of ministry that facilitates relationships. The purpose of social events, Life Groups and mission projects is to challenge the members of First Baptist Muncie to live in accountable connections with one another. Gibbs later describes the need for churches to build commitment of its members to one another. In other words, we must become a family of sorts.
The challenge facing the church is to move its members from a casual and contractual relationship to a covenant. A covenantal relationship entails a commitment to one another through thick and thin. p. 152
Missional Communities have the potential to do this. Are you currently involved in Missional Communities? Would you consider joining a Life Group in 2014? Please let me know if this is a step you would be willing to take in this new year.