When you hear the word “church,” what comes to mind? For most people familiar with church in the western world, traditional churches bring to mind…
- Weekly gatherings at a large building
- Worship with a band and paid worship leader
- Preaching from a seminary-trained pastor
- Professional programs for your kids run by paid adults
- Baptism and Communion
While regular gatherings are an important part of the life of the global Church, many people today are looking for and are creating a smaller, more intimate expression of church. This microchurch movement seeks to restore a type of Christian community modeled on the early church.
Communitas International loves all forms of church, and our missional movement includes churches of every type, including large attractional churches. But as a mission with a prophetic focus on post-Christian areas of the world, we must ask: “What will church look like in the future, without buildings and without paid staff or programs?” That question knocks many current church leaders for a real loop.
If you’re looking for a new way to do church than what you’ve experienced before, consider whether God might be pulling you toward the microchurch movement. This is just ONE type of church being started by Communitas workers around the world.
What are Microchurches?
Microchurches are an expression of church that focuses on community, intimacy and disciple-making. These microchurches are a growing church planting model that enables small groups of believers to be disciple-makers in their own communities. The keys to this model of church is that they are most often small, informal, and volunteer-led. Often a group of 5-35 people will meet in a home, maybe share a meal, pray, worship, and read the Word together.
The Keys to the Microchurch Movement
At the heart of any microchurch are 3 things: Incarnational Intimacy, Practicing Gospel Values, and Extending the Discipleship Movement.
A microchurch is healthiest when the people within the church are connected to and trusted by one another, and when they listen to each other. When members of a microchurch practice intimacy and intentionality with one another, they embody Christ in the world. A microchurch should be a welcoming place where people know others and are deeply known.
This posture allows church members to build genuine relationships with people, build trust and open space for questions and conversations.
Practicing Gospel Values:
As with any church, all microchurches are committed to maturing in the Gospel. Microchurches will care about gathering together, worshiping, and studying and applying Scripture. Every microchurch will have its own expression of each of these Gospel values, but a deep dependence on the Holy Spirit is central to healthy microchurches. Just like each microchurch is unique to the individuals who make it up, each microchurch will have unique ways of practicing these Gospel principles.
And because each microchurch is unique, everyone involved gets to use their own unique gifting to contribute to the life of the church.
At the heart of microchurches is the desire to see disciple-makers formed in the way of Jesus. When a church is small, informal, and community oriented, the ability to bring people in and share the Gospel rests on strong community and relationships. And people who are vulnerable and intimate with one another can extend that vulnerability and intimacy to those who need it.
And the flexibility within microchurches means that each congregation can be flexible to the discipleship needs of their community and location.
Microchurch might be a good fit for you if…
- You are disillusioned with western isolation and lack of community
- You are passionate about more intimate relationships within the church
- You are looking for a less “produced” church experience
- You enjoy small group settings that are informal
- You like the idea of knowing everyone in your church
- You want to plant a church in a local community
Starting and shaping a new church is an important calling and a beautiful part of God’s mission to grow the Kingdom. Every microchurch loves God, loves people, and engages in deep and intentional relationships wherever they are! If you are called to start a new church, maybe a microchurch is something to explore!
Communitas has a number of our staff involved in microchurches across the world. If you’re interested in starting or being part of a microchurch with Communitas on your team, let’s talk.
At Communitas, many of our missional leaders spend a year or two at an existing project or church to prepare and train to launch their own microchurch in a new city. If this sounds like a good fit for you, contact one of our mission coaches for an inspiring conversation here.
The call of the Great Commission is that EVERYONE should hear the good news of Jesus! And that is God’s calling for YOU and for ME. Missionaries serve in churches and communities, and they are passionate about extending the Gospel and sharing the love of Jesus with people no matter where they are. Come join the Adventure!
Written in partnership with Reach The Lost.