Four Steps to Community Engagement
In his recent post at The Exchange, missiologist and LifeWay researcher Ed Stetzer reported what was found in a vast survey looking to define what makes a church "transformational." Engaging the body in mission was a common thread throughout churches where it was commonly reported that lives were being changed. Four steps emerged from this study which lead to the church going to the lost, seeing people come to faith, and then helping believers grow in their faith to continue this process.
The four steps are as follows:
- Define Success
- Personal Leadership to Believers
- Moving into the Community
These churches define success numerically, focusing on lives changed over Sunday attendance. Robust training and preparation was also something transformational churches excelled in, equipping people live as missionaries. Putting the body in a position to move into the mission was a shared trait of these churches as well. Finally, they put these things into practice and incarnated the mission to their neighborhoods.
The third step listed above stood out to me, as it's what we're working through now as MC leaders in our groups. Stetzer says,
"The activity of community converged with the value of vibrant leadership provides the right environment to help believers move out into the mission of the church. The most valuable resource for the missional journey is real-life examples and real-time conversations. In order for churches to reach their communities, they must break the clergy caste system and place the mission in the hands of all believers. Believers will respond to the task of being on mission, because God has made us all to be on mission. The clergification of ministry confused this greatly. When we as pastors do for people what God has called them to do, everyone gets hurt and the mission is hindered."
Transformational churches have structures in place to help people join in the mission to the lost. Lord willing, what we're working toward now bring about deeper worship of God in our body and the initial worship of God for those who are currently worshipping other things.