As I stated in a previous post, recognising our missional context means we can no longer assume the church understands the culture. Here are set of questions that may help you think through the stories, values, worldview and culture of the people in your neighbourhood.
Where are the missional spaces (places and activities where you meet people)?
Where do they experience community?
Are their existing social networks with which we can engage or do we need to find ways of creating community within a neighbourhood?
Where should you be to have missional opportunities?
When are the missional moments?
What are the rhythms of your neighbourhood?
How do people organise their time?
What cultural experiences and celebration do people value? How might these be used as bridges to the gospel?
When should you be available to have missional opportunities?
What are peoples’ fears, hopes and hurts?
What ‘gospel’ stories are told in the neighbourhood? What gives people identity (creation)? How do they account for what what’s wrong with the world (fall)? What’s the solution (redemption)? What are their hopes (consummation)?
What are the barriers beliefs or assumptions cause people to dismiss the gospel?
What sins will the gospel first confront and heal for these people?
In what ways are people self-righteous?
What is the good news for people in this neighbourhood?
What will church look like for people in this neighbourhood?
Sometimes communities are defined by geography, but they may also be defined in other ways (ethnicity, leisure interest, time of life). In an urban context most people are part of several communities.
These are questions you might ask on first encountering a new community or neighbourhood. But they should also be questions we ask all the time so that missional reflection is a normal part of our life.