Starting New Worshipping Communities with God’s Mission in Mind
Last week, I started a Doctor in Ministry program on Missional Leadership at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. I can already see how my perspective is changing regarding how to start new worshiping communities and revitalize established ones. A concept that is capturing my attention is how we define “mission” when we go about this work.
First, we need “new eyes” to see the context in which we minister. We don’t need the eyes of a commercial real estate developer or a school superintendent. We need eyes to see communities as God sees them, as places with families with their own stories, where men and women are created in God’s image and are seeking to connect with the divine.
Second, our focus needs to be on building personal relationships with individuals and families, and interestingly, on equipping individuals to have healthier relationships with each other. As people enter the struggles of others, they begin to experience God’s love in transformative ways, even though they may not attribute their experience to God at first. As they do so, they develop a spiritual community that takes on a life of its own and provides strengths and relationships that they may never have experienced elsewhere.
Third, once church planters or revitalizers have “new eyes” to see the community they seek to bless, they become attentive to telling the unique story of that community. Eventually what emerges is a universal story common to everyone in the community, a story that becomes both deeply personal and shared, but most importantly reflects the divine story of faith with our Living God.
With these practices in mind, when leaders seek to revitalize their congregations, or start a new worshipping community, they enter into their mission field in a life-giving, authentic way. Cyclical Los Ranchos, of which I am the Director, is preparing a year-long training for church planters and leaders who are revitalizing congregations with this missional approach in mind. If you feel called to be part of this training, I’d love to see you there. Please email me at [email protected].
Martín Garcia is the Director of Cyclical Los Ranchos, a ministry to grow God’s Church through church planting and renewal.