One of the common characteristics of missional teams, gospel communities and household churches is that they have missional foci (or ‘focuses’ if you prefer). They can’t reach everyone. They can’t contextualise to everyone. So they focus on specific target groups or communities.
Tonight our team is going to be talking about our missional foci. Again. Yes, we seem to keep coming back to this topic. I’ve been worrying that we keep revisiting it because we keep getting it wrong. But I’ve come to realize this is the way it ought to be.
That’s because new missional opportunities open up, others go nowhere. It’s not something you can lock down. You need to be constantly responding to a changing situation and new opportunities.
Indeed it can be a mistake is to try to predetermine your missional foci. It’s often better to see what emerges out of the passions of team members and the opportunities they encounter. The Holy Spirit is the great mission strategist.
The important thing is to set a culture in which team members know what we are about. For us that includes our ten core values and our mission strategy of (1) building relationships, (2) sharing the gospel, and (3) introducing people to the shared life of the Christian community (see diagram below). If people understand this then you don’t need a plan or programme. You can release them to pursue opportunities, confident they will know what to do as they respond to changing situations. You don’t need to agree everything beforehand. The job of the leadership or the team meeting is then to organise the chaos that results. That process still needs to happen because we’re committed to doing mission together rather than as lone rangers.
In reality it’s an iterative process because obviously people make choices about how they use their time. As we discuss new opportunites so people make new choices about what they do. That’s why the conversation about foci is worth having. Again.