A small excerpt from Reggie McNeal's already classic Missional Renaissance: This section is a good little gem that describes the touchstones here in our small expression of The Welcome Table Community, http://www.progressivechurchplanting.blogspot.com/. Before this he has laid out many different manifestations of how a variety of groups are going missional, particularly existing established churches, and what the new spectrum of churches will look like in the future. But here he picks up on some of the more under the radar gatherings:
"An explosion of missional communities (MCs) will occur. These will be groups of believers and nonbelievers who will operate in noninstitutional settings. They will range in size from a handful of participants to a few dozen. Gatherings will take place in homes and restaurants, bookstores and bars, office conference rooms and university dorm rooms, hotel meeting space and downtown Ys, and yes, even churches.
"Their community life will center on an intense desire to grow spiritually and to aid the community. Some MCs will be connected to churches; many will not be. Affinities will be common passions and similar life rhythms. Leadership will emerge from within. Biblical teaching will be imported through podcasts, DVDs, and books.
"MCs will order their lives around communion, caring, and celebration. Communion will include eating together as well as sharing the sacraments. Caring will be lavished on each other but also extend to people beyond the MC as part of the group's expression of following Jesus. As a result more people will become Jesus followers. Celebration will highlight the work of God in the lives of those in the MC as well as rehearse God's revelation in history and in text. MCs will routinely serve together and with others while participants will be cheered to be missional in their own lives as Jesus followers. Networks of these missional communities may be sponsored by large existing churches; others will form in regions along relational lines." [And RR here: I might add across denominational lines].
I will try to post later his other findings surveying the missional map of our times.
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