What Granger Community Church has learned from multiplication church planting and incarnational mission
For the past 10 years, Granger Community Church in Granger, Indiana, has explored, wrestled with and ultimately embraced what it means to be missional. Granger founder and Senior Pastor Mark Beeson’s initial vision—to be a mission outpost for the local community—for the church he and his wife, Sheila, planted 25 years ago has laid the foundation for what has ultimately become a church bent on carrying out the mission of Jesus. Granger Pastor of Life Mission Rob Wegner was in the process of writing a book (Missional Moves, Zondervan) chronicling the church’s 10-year journey to missional when we asked him to pore through the chapters he had recently finished and flesh out a few lessons on what this church of 5,000 has learned about becoming and being a missional church:
Small and reproducing
The key to any missional success is keeping it small enough to be easily replicable. In our multiplication efforts in India, for instance, we do not seek to directly reproduce Granger clones of 5,000 member churches with massive facilities and several strata of highly trained professional staff. Rather, the average size of a faith community in India is probably 20 to 50, most likely meeting in a home or small, rented space, and is led by a bivocational pastor who has been trained in a very modular, highly organic, coaching environment. Keeping them small and highly replicable allows them to grow quickly and spread virally.
The mission of God is not accomplished merely in the religious sector of society or by the total strong-arming of a single local church, regardless of its size or budget. Rather, the most effective missional processes utilize a full gammut of potential partners to accomplish a core mission, including businesses, local communities, other church partners, outside organizations, nongovernment organizations and agencies, and even local and national governments. A kingdom vision includes players from every domain of society, and it requires collaboration across those domains.
The mission of God is holistic. In poverty-stricken environments, or when working with the sick, the marginalized and the oppressed, a message of “salvation after you die” is almost offensive if it is offered only in that vein. The mission of God requires both a verbal proclamation and a demonstration proclamation.
Missional churches must meaningfully mobilize every follower of Jesus in well-defined steps to draw them deeper into the mission of God in the world. Genuinely missional movements demythologize the notion of specialized “commando Christians” who are an elite echelon of the body of Christ and are responsible for all the work that takes place “outside the walls.”
The strength of any missional movement rises and falls on its ability to make and reproduce disciples.
Rob Wegner serves as pastor of life mission at Granger Community Church in Granger, Ind. His upcoming book, Missional Moves, will release at Granger’s 2012 conference in the fall. Currently, he’s working alongside Alan Hirsch in the Future Travelers cohort, helping megachurches become missional movements. Rob’s first book, Share the Well, co-written with wife, Michelle, captures the holistic church planting movement they helped birth in India.
MORE ON MISSIONAL
“Missional in Real Life” in the January/February 2012 issue of Outreach magazine delves into this subject in greater depth. Read more about this issue »
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