Review exercise for missional communities

Here’s a review exercise for gospel communities. I used it recently to help identify the culture shifts we needed to make. A PDF version is available here.

Ask people to put a tick by those statements that they think are clearly true of your gospel community and put at a cross by those which are clearly untrue. Ask them to leave blank any statements which are not clearly true or untrue. collating these results will then help to highlight your strengths and weaknesses.

A. God: Are you God-centred?

1.     People often extol the goodness and greatness of God in normal conversation.

2.     Our corporate worship stirs people’s affections for God (their love, fear, hope, confidence, desire).

3.     Prayer is a regular part of our life together.

4.     People pray together outside meetings as and when issues arise.

5.     When we pray as a community, most people contribute.

6.     When we pray as a community, it is sometimes difficult because people readily contribute.

7.     Our prayer requests focus on God and his glory rather than on us and our comfort.

8.     We are trusting in God’s sovereignty rather than trying to do his work of conversion or worrying about ‘results’.

B. Love: Are you other-centred?

1.     People often see one another between scheduled meetings.

2.     Most people eat with other members of the community at least twice a week.

3.     People often help one another in practical ways like doing chores for one another.

4.     People feel a sense of responsibility for one another.

5.     People use the language of ‘we’ rather than ‘you’ (‘We should …’ rather than ‘You should …’).

6.     People are generous with their time, money, homes and possessions.

7.     People are willing to discuss their time and money.

8.     People make decisions with regard to the community and in consultation with the community.

C. The Bible: Are you word-centred?

1.     There is a hunger for God’s word and an excitement when it is taught.

2.     People often talk about how the Holy Spirit is speaking to them through his word.

3.     The word of God is often discussed outside scheduled Bible studies.

4.     People meet up to read the Bible together.

5.     There is evidence that the word is changing individual lives.

6.     There is evidence that the word is changing the life of the community as a whole.

7.     People speak the truth in love when others face pastoral issues.

8.     People look to the truth about God rather than blaming their circumstances?

D. Grace: Are you grace-centred?

1.     People are open about their sin and struggles rather than hiding or pretending.

2.     Conflict is open rather than suppressed and reconciliation is proactively pursued.

3.     People repent of sinful attitudes like anxiety, pride, complaining, fear of others, self-justification, bitterness, anger and selfishness.

4.     People repent of good works done for self-righteous motives.

5.     People are not afraid to make mistakes.

6.     People feel able to relax and enjoy leisure activities.

7.     Broken people are attracted to our community.

8.     We constantly return to the cross in our conversation, prayers and praise.

E. Mission: Are you mission-centred?

1.     Unbelievers are involved in the life of our community.

2.     We often have opportunities to talk about Jesus.

3.     We are flexible and take risks for the sake of the gospel.

4.     We are crossing cultural boundaries.

5.     We are contributing to neighbourhood and city renewal.

6.     We value involvement in work, business, art, culture, public service and government.

7.     We have a vision to start a new gospel community or congregation.

8.     We are actively and generously involved in mission around the world.

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8 thoughts on “Review exercise for missional communities

  1. Pingback: Tim Chester on Assessing Gospel Communities « Provocations & Pantings

  2. This is an excellent list of course, though like most such lists it could perhaps benefit from further discussion. The reformed approach (mine own) does not always handle things like anxiety with as deft a touch as it might. I think saying as here (D3) that anxiety is a sinful attitude which needs to be repented of needs further thought — eg re the way folk suffering from clinical anxiety need our compassion.

  3. Tim,

    I appreciate this exercise, and I also have a question. Have you received any pushback or frustrations with these questions, anyone perceiving these as a way/form of new legalism?

    I’ve seen in some places people feeling pressured or judged through these. Do you guys use this at the Crowded House and if so, is it more formally through a meeting, just handed out the leaders, or informally over dinner or coffee?


  4. No-one has said anything to me about it being legalistic. I used them recently with out gospel community. I asked people to each mark on a sheet those things they thought were clearly true of us and those things they thought were clearly not true. I gave people the opportunity to highlight some of the things that were clearly true. I then gathered up the sheets. This meant that publicly we celebrated what God was doing among us. I was also able to identify some issues that we need to work which I shared with my fellow leaders along with some ideas for change.

  5. Hi Tim. I started reading some of your blog posts and lost track of time (late back from lunch now!). Cheers for some brilliant articles and thoughts – I end my lunch break with loads of ‘food’ for thought and am looking forward to my drive home so I can think and pray about what you’ve challenged me with (particularly how to keep the word at the centre of missional community – a wrestling question for me as I’ve recently pioneered a missional community!!). Cheers

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