Posts

More on Rhythms

Sharing Stories:  We are part of the great story of God and the people.  We are part of our own stories and others’ too.  We are part of the story of the world.  As we listen and share, we join our hearts with each other.  And, in listening to the Spirit in the midst of this story we all participate in, from creation to redemption, we become creatures of prayer.

– As people of God, created, redeemed, called, and active, the Story is with us.  In our Communities, we will hear, enact, and dwell in the word of God and the unfolding story it tells.
– We share our own stories with each other as we live together in community, participating in the mission of God in our unique ways.
– As we live missionally, we also must listen for the story of the world we are sent into.  What is the history in this neighborhood?  What motivates these people we encounter?  Where are we coming from and where are we going?  What forms the lives and choices of this person, or the city, or this nation?
– Listening to God is prayer.  Rather than always offering God our words, we will learn to listen to what the Spirit is saying and how we’re being called and transformed.
– As the Spirit leads us and forms us, we will listen both backward and forward. We accept where and who we have been. And we anticipate where and who we will become. We pay attention to that which has come before us and to the generations of the future. God speaks all these things to our hearts and uses our memories, dreams and longings to shape us for God’s mission.

Playing: As a family, we participate in God’s continual creation and renewal, and in God’s rest and joy in what’s been created.  We do this by playing together, creating together, celebrating birthdays, holidays, and other moments of goodness, together.
– We celebrate what God has done in our lives!  God’s work in creating and renewing is always present.  The world is created and renewed out of God’s love and generosity.  God is providing and transforming and we are grateful.  And so we have many things to rejoice in, as people who know God.
– With so much to thank God for, we will make our celebration visible to others in our lives and in our neighborhoods.  They will see the hope of Christ and the joy of the Spirit in our play!
– Not only do we celebrate, we also participate in God’s goodness, through play. We embrace creativity, adventure, rest, and the richness of life.
– Joining in play and celebration together brings us connection, sharing in the abundance of God.  This is an important connection that will help sustain us through times when joy and richness may seem scarce.

Joining: We bless because God blesses us.  We take part in God’s renewing actions in the world.  This is our missional activity to the world, both individually and together.  The story of the redemption of the people and the earth is unfolding all around us.  As those who know God, and follow Christ’s ways, we will find and play out our part in this story.

– It is not so that the church has a mission to bless the world, but that blessing the world is God’s mission and the people participate.  We bless the world by living into redemption and grace.  We bless the world by forming relationships and blooming where we are planted.
– As people of God, we can bless the world and people around us in our own lives on a daily pattern.  Through missional life, we also bless the world together.  By living in community with common focus and vision, we take part in God’s mission of blessing and renewal.
– Often this requires both a financial cost and a commitment of time, as well as an earnest offering of our hearts and our skills.
– In this rhythm, we join with God in promoting hope and love.  We join with each other as we take on these tasks.  And we join with those in the world, across boundaries, who are already doing this work, too!

What is a Missional Community?

Branch MCsbranch-circle

>What is an MC?

Who is in an MC?

What about kids and MCs?

What does an MC do?

It’s a family.

At the Branch, Missional Communities (MCs) are ‘extended family’ like groups (20-50 people) that meet regularly in order to encourage and equip each other to live the kind of life Jesus lived.  When thinking about this, we often use the language of UP, IN and OUT.

UP is about our relationship to God — our identity as children of the King.  Jesus modeled an intimacy with the Father that we want to experience.  And so just as Jesus spent time with the spiritual disciplines (prayer and fasting to name two), so too will MCs spend time doing those things that bring them closer to the heart of the Father.

IN is about our relationship with each other. Jesus was always investing himself in his disciples.  They got away on retreats – ate meals together – prayed – went to synagogue – all of it building community and trust.   MCs will encourage and empower each other in ways that are ‘organized’ (every Monday night meals) and in ways that are more ‘organic’ (let’s head to the beach this Saturday and hang out).

OUT is about our relationship to the world that God so desperately loves.  We see Jesus having compassion for those others ignored and announcing the Good News to them.  Everywhere he went, heaven came to earth.   MCs follow Jesus’ lead by uniting around a common, specific mission and working to discern and proclaim the Good News in that context.

What do Missional Communities do?

Branch MCsbranch-circle

What is an MC?

Who is in an MC?

What about kids and MCs?

>What does an MC do?

In a phrase….practice missional life together.

The following rhythms fit our vision and context as people here in West Michigan. We are asking each MC to embrace these rhythms in their own expression of life together. How these 3 rhythms get lived out will be unique to each MC.

The Rhythms of Life Together

sharing stories:  We are part of the great story of God and the people. We are part of our own stories and others’ too. We are part of the story of the world. As we listen and share in all these stories, we join our hearts with each other. And, in listening to the Spirit in the midst of this bigger story, which we all participate in, from creation to redemption, we become creatures of prayer, contemplation and rich formation. 

playing: As a family, we participate in God’s continual creation and renewal, and in God’s rest and joy in what’s been created. We do this by playing together, creating together, celebrating birthdays, holidays and other moments of goodness, together. 

joining: We bless because God blesses us. We take part in God’s renewing actions in the world. This is our missional activity to the world, both individually and together. The story of the redemption of the people and the earth is unfolding all around us. As those who know God, and follow Christ’s ways, we will find and play-out our part in this story. 

More on rhythms