Missional Communities

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S (Scripture): 1 Corinthians 16:19 The churches in the province of Asia greet you. Aquila and Prisca greet you warmly in the Lord, together with the church that meets in their house. 20 All the brothers and sisters greet you. You in turn should greet each other with a holy kiss. 21 Here is my greeting in my own handwriting—Paul.

O (Observation): Paul’s letters – making up a large portion of the New Testament – are a treasure for us. These letters help us to catch a glimpse of the goodness of God. God’s Spirit flows through Paul, who goes on mission. God’s Spirit flows through Prisca and Aquila (and their whole household).

The household was the setting for the early church. Followers of Jesus were not worshipping in cathedrals or pews or temples. Instead, God was with them on their journeys and in their homes. The home would host 30-50 people. They would read what Scriptures they had. They would all share food and eat together…including bread and a cup of wine.

A (Application): More congregations are extending the Sunday conversations by having people meet in one another’s homes. There, they share personal stories, read Scripture, and rally around a mission (volunteer at a local school, work with a homeless shelter, connect with Muslim folks in our community).

The mission is the core identity marker, as God’s people serve in the community. Having the mission as the identity marker allows us to ensure that the group does NOT become just a club. Instead, the mission drives the community and the worship this community does.

And it can all be done from someone’s home.

Where relationships can be built, and hopefully, thrive.

P (Prayer): Lord, guide us into mission work we can be proud of. Amen.

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The jailer – a Person of Peace

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S (Scripture): Acts 16:30 Then the jailer brought Paul & Silas outside and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 16:31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, you and your household.” 16:32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him, along with all those who were in his house.

O (Observation): The shock of the situation has subsided. The force with which God shook the jail and freed Paul & Silas has come and gone.

Now, outside of the jail, the jailer starts to believe that this is indeed God’s holy work, and wants to show his belief in God. As a result, the jailer is baptized and his household receives Paul & Silas, to be able to hear the Word of the Lord.

A (Application): A subtle note carries me deep into this story: Paul & Silas spoke the Word of the Lord to the jailer’s household.

A household in that time was not just a nuclear family. Rather, one family could have many relatives and close friends living in the same cluster of homes – around 20-40 people…think extended family.

And this was part of the key for Paul. The Lord would provide for Paul a person of peace – one whose heart the Lord had prepared to receive the Word. Once Paul entered a relationship with this person of peace, that person would then be a gateway to sharing the Word of the Lord with others.

Instead of trying to do mission through welcoming people to worship (a foreign experience for the non-churched crowd), and waiting for people to come to us, perhaps we can seek wisdom from Paul and his method. Seek a person of peace, share the Word of the Lord with that person, and see how that person can be a gateway to a household, or a group of some sort.

Which persons of peace have you encountered lately? Have you seen fruitfulness in sharing God’s love with that person? Has that ever led to sharing God’s love with others?

Remember, God is out in front of us…preparing people’s hearts and minds to receive the Word that we can share with them. Be encouraged!

P (Prayer): Lord, you care for us deeply and you lead the way. Help us to follow you (and trust you), so that we can go out to encounter the person of peace in our world. Amen.