Every new church starts small. Humble beginnings are met with with a humble heart. Together we start with living in our context, and intentional listening and looking for what God is doing in our midst. Over the past decades we have found this is critical to starting, growing, and sustaining incarnational faith communities.
In a new project, you will embed in the cultural context where you live. Embedding involves listening for what God is already doing in your context and getting to know the people in your neighborhood. This creates a posture that becomes a life-long practice for your church, and lays the foundation for serving your community well with God.
A missional community in Minneapolis, MN encouraged each other to live with an intentional posture of listening for God’s signature as they encountered individuals in their day to day lives. This brought about shifts in thinking and an openness to step into areas they saw God was already at work.
A team member in Paris, France spent time studying and taking French language classes after moving to the city to better understand the language, culture, and values she was stepping into. Through this, she started to form relationships with students and professors, not only learning the language, but keeping an openness to what God is already doing in their midst, and what He may be asking her to join Him in.
While continuing to listen to what God is doing around you, you then start to initiate intentional actions in your context to express God’s loving presence. This initiating comes out of a response to what you see God doing or prompting, and can involve serving, meeting needs, and blessing those who live around you. Communitas calls this outward impulse a “missional initiative” and lays the groundwork for ministering in your context.
A team in Valencia, Spain spent intentional time in their neighborhood by choosing a few cafes to go to regularly. In doing this, they formed meaningful relationships with the owners of the cafes as well as others from the local community. God used these relationships to help the team realize the needs of the people and businesses around them. Beautifying the neighborhood by painting persianas was just one way they could communicate the love of Christ in a tangible way.
A team in Portland got to know the people in their part of the city by listening to and learning from the younger voices in their community. With a growing a heart for a disenfranchised, often overlooked group of people, they stepped out in faith. Through trial and error they discovered that more unconventional methods of service and outreach met people where they were at, and embodied Christ’s love to people often forgotten.