To build a missional community, spend time with one another.
That’s the number one lesson I’m learning. I haven’t been at this long, but this is what I am learning. In addition to organized Up-In-Out activities, do this: Hang out. Be together. Do a lot of living with one another as you follow Jesus. Open your home. Eat together when you can. Initiate. Invite. Go visit. Stop by. Go see. And make plans to do stuff together.
It makes sense and it is simple enough, but it’s still tough. We live in a busy, hectic world with multiple demands on our time – so finding time is hard. And for the time together to actually be quality time, eventually we will have to do more than just be together. We will have to focus our attention and energy, listen and validate feedback so others know we’ve been listening. Read through any of the gospels and you will notice Jesus doing life (spending time) with his disciples. If I want to build up disciples the way Jesus did, it will require figuring out how to spend quality time with people. But it’s worth it. A healthy missional community is a big blessing to it’s members and it releases boatloads of God’s love and grace into our world.
I think we can learn some things here from the world of marriage. In that arena, quality time and energy devoted to one another is one of the big indicators of happy, healthy and enduring marriages. The following is a list of quality time activities for building a stronger marriage. (It’s from Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages material.) I brainstormed a few activities a missional community might undertake that correspond. And I’d love to know your ideas.
- Marriage: Weekend getaway at a B&B.
- MC: Weekend retreat
- Marriage: Date night on a recurring basis.
- MC: Once a month game night.
- Marriage: Coffee together before work or before the kids wake up.
- MC: Meet for coffee with a few members of the MC.
- Marriage: Exercise together.
- MC: Play together.
- Marriage: Pray together.
- MC: That’s easy: Pray together.
- Marriage: See a good movie and talking about it after.
- MC: Again, that’s easy: See a good movie and talking about it after.
- Marriage: Complete a house project together.
- MC: Do a physical OUT (mission project).
- Marriage: Find a sport or hobby you can enjoy together (e.g., golf, dance classes, refinishing furniture).
- MC: Find a common interest and working on it together.
- Marriage: Work together professionally.
- MC: Bring co-workers into the MC.
So what about it? How would you translate these time oriented marriage builders into time oriented missional community builders?