Norwich church turns into mission communities
2010: A Norwich church is set to divide its congregation up into mission communities of 50 people each, focusing on families, the over 55s and social justice as the start of a move away from a more traditional form of church. Oak Grove pastor Ian Savory explains.
Oak Grove Chapel has been processing this year moving into a model of what we call Mission Community. These Mission Communities are based around the cluster model as developed by St Thomas Crookes in Sheffield.
Why are we doing this?
Our commitment as leaders towards the concept of mission community is because we love Christ and His cause, we believe Oak Grove Chapel is a mission centred church and want that to go deeper into who we are, seeking more lives to be changed by the gospel and God’s people released into works of service and His kingdom here on earth.
What is a Mission Community?
A Mission community is a group of disciples who will gather around a mission objective which could be a geographical area, street, an issue i.e. families, OAP’s etc and seek to be good news to these people bringing also the challenge of the gospel.
These communities will become the building blocks of how we build church in these future years and elements of these communities are best reflected in the triangle (Teaching of Life Shapes by Mike Bream).
The UP is about deepening my relationship with God by investing in discipleship, celebrating that I am His child and recognising I need time with Him. To be involved in a community of Mission that encourages me in the UP and with meeting the larger church family on Hub Sundays to give praise and glory.
Be part of a Mission Community means being involved in a Mission Community small group, sharing life together, encouraging each other. Building strong small groups that provide quality of relationships but are not just focussed on me and our needs but on the commission God has given us.
Together as a community doing mission, serving, making a difference and using the gifts God has given amongst those that don’t know Him yet. The activities we do in mission could be as wide as the east is from the west. The important thing is that we go, have a go in Christ’s name and proclaim Him.
Mission Community Structure
Each Mission Community will be up to a max of around 50 people if a group grows above this number we look to see it multiply to give more people opportunity to serve. Each Mission Community will eventually have 3 core leaders.
* The Mission Community Leader in overall responsibility.
* The Mission Community Pastor who will be responsible for pastoral care and oversight of the small group element.
* The Mission Community Administrator doing general admin.
Each of these three leaders will be required to be in a Beer Mat discipleship and accountability group, overseen by the Leadership Team. Throughout the community small groups we would encourage the use of Beer Mats
to build relationship and accountability.
What will Sundays be like?
The first Sunday of the month will be kept clear of services to enable Mission Communities if they choose to use for outreach. Some Mission Communities will not do their outreach on a Sunday so the day can be a gift of rest to those serving together on other days. Sundays 2, 3, 4 will be as they are now, but called Hub Sundays when we come together in a larger group to hear God’s word, worship and do church in the larger context. Where there is a fifth Sunday this will be a resource Sunday, filled with seminar type events that relate to issues we are facing in the Mission Communities, and other teaching that is thought to be needed in the church.
What are the Mission Communities we will start with?
We have chosen 3 areas of mission for our first 3 Mission Communities:
Families – called First Taste
The over 55’s – called Café 55
Leadership Team members will be mentoring these groups through the start of the process and we expect other Mission Communities to come on board in the not to distant future. As a church and leadership we need to keep open to God about areas of mission He may call us to.
These communities will encourage more and more a church where everybody serves and contributes and challenges the consumer culture that pervades the church, where church becomes a performance I turn up for and is for my blessing only.
Since as leaders we felt it right to move forward with Mission Communities it seems nearly every month we hear of another church beginning this journey some have chosen to just close everything down one week and begin Mission Communities the next, we have chosen to transition this over the next few years. Initially we are seeking to develop three Mission Community and to see others grow. There are many answers we don’t have but we know Christ says go and we know He will equip us on the way
The first Mission Communities will be commissioned at Oak Grove Chapel’s 75th birthday celebrations on September 26th when Paul Reid from Belfast who provides some apostolic support to Oak Grove will be speaking.