What the Church is Meant to Be

A Missional Community is a people not a place, selfless not selfish,  neighbors not strangers, intentional not busy, servants not self seeking.

Much is being written about Missional Communities and even moreso, many churches are renaming their small groups, community groups, support groups, etc to Missional Communities yet the only change that really happened is the name.  This muddies the water for most trying to follow Jesus and understand what it means to be part of a missional community.

This isn’t a long description, but is one that will hopefully help with the conversation on why they are actually different than the church’s small groups.

1. A Missional Community is a People Not a Place

You can’t go to Missional Community.  Many will say “we are going to our small group or we are going to our life group, etc.” but this cannot be said about Missional Communities.  

A missional community is a family of missionary servants sent together to show and speak the good news to a particular context by the power of the Spirit.  

They mght have meetings, or family meals, but their lives are so intertwined as family one could not ever say that they are going to Missional Community.  Think of it like a family.  A family has meals, has meetings, has times where they plan things out, etc.  But that is not the totality of who they are.  They have unplanned things happen, interruptions, lives always intertwining, celebrations, times of mourning, fights, etc.  

The point is just like you can’t go to family (it’s who you are not where you go) so is a missional community.

2. A Missional Community is Selfless Not Selfish

Some of the first things most ask when they are looking to join a small group is:

  • What day and time do you meet?
  • What is the demographic of your people that meet with you?
  • What church do you attend?
  • What are you studying?

Notice these all have to do with the person as the center instead of the first missionary sent to us: Jesus.  

The first question that a Missional Community asks is, “Because our God is a Missionary and has pursued us so much, who does he desire us to pursue others for his glory and fame?”  Notice the change in focus.  

From there, we as a family, decide how we can completely reorientate our lives around Jesus and his mission to make him more famous.  

3. A Missional Community are Neighbors Not Strangers

A misisonal community seeks to understand two things:

  1. How do we love God with of our heart, soul, mind and strength?
  2. How do we love our neighor as ourselves?

As we seek to answer these questions we seek to answer them as disciples and as neighbors.  We do this both in our own personal lives, but we also answer these questions on how we can do this together and be the body of Christ, instead of solos of Christ.  

We, as a family, seek to know our neighbors so much so that we know how we can love them in the ways they’d consider love.   (Neighbors being our actual neighbors, or those in our social circles, the downtrodden, the forgotten, the “unlovable” etc.)

4. A Missional Community is Intentional Not Busy

Ask anyone at your church gathering next week how they are doing and almost everyone will respond to that question the same way: I’m busy.

Missional Community life gives in to that and agrees...we are all busy.  But, what we ask is how can we be more intentional with the times that we are busy.  

We do take it that extra step and ask, “Is there anything we should be taking out of our lives so that we can be even more intentional with those as a community we’d like to reach?”

Because we are always asking the Spirit to tell us who we are supposed to show off Jesus to, it means our busyness is held with an open hand and we know that God can do as he pleases with our schedule.  

But, as we maintain our current schedule, how can we be more intentional with it? Not only that, but how can we invite others in our missional community into that busyness so we are not by ourselves in this intentional busyness?

5. A Missional Community Are Servants not Self Seeking

A missional community holds it’s schedule with an open hand.  We are proactively looking how we can serve those that God is sending us to, but we also keep enough margin in our schedules to ensure the Spirit can drop anything and anyone in our lives and we have the ability to serve them.  

We are not given schedules to serve them, but we are given our schedules for them to serve us.  We are not slaves to our schedules.   We say in my community, whomever needs serving, whatever they need whenever they need it.  

We always have the posture as servants, desiring to serve others as we have been served by God.  

This completely redirects our attitudes of why we are here and why God gives us both schedules and margin in our lives.  It’s not so that we are self seeking with them, but so that we are servants with them.


Seth McBee is an Investment Portfolio Manager, serving as president of McBee Advisors, Inc. as well as a MC leader/trainer/coach and executive team member of the GCM Collective. Currently Seth lives in Phoenix, AZ with his wife Stacy and their 3 children, Caleb, Coleman and Madelynn. He is also the artist and co-author of the eBook, Be The Church: Discipleship & Mission Made Simple. You can follow Seth on twitter.

Join Seth for his next 3DM Launch: a collaboration between 3DM and GCM, consisting of a 2 year process training leaders on how to plant and multiply Missional Communities. Go to Weare3dm.com/launch for more.