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Missional Communities - Spaces

Over the last couple of weeks we have had the privilege of hosting Alex Absalom and Nathan Head.  The focus of their time with us has been talking about missional communities.  Over the next weeks, I thought I would post some of the key ideas.

Alex talked about the sociology of spaces:
  • Public Space (ie groups in the 100s) – where we share a common experience and connect through an outside influence.
  • Social Space (ie groups of 20 – 70) – where I share an authentic ‘snapshot’ of who I am, which shows you what it would like to be a close friend with me.

  • Personal Space (ie small groups of 5 – 15) – where we share private experiences, thoughts and feelings.

  • Intimate Space (ie with 1 or 2 others, such as a spouse, very close friend or accountability partner) – where we share ‘naked’ information about who we are and are not ashamed.

Each of these spaces has unwritten social rules that we all automatically operate by. 

If we look at the first three spaces in relation to the Christian life, while each of them can and should have all of the dimensions of life operating, each of them tends to be strongest at one of the dimensions of life:

UP (LIfe with God) Public Space Sunday Services/Celebrations
OUT (Life with the world) Social Space Missional Communities
IN (Life with Christians) Private Space Small Groups

It is interesting to note that sometimes, church services can be Social Space size (20-70) but operate according to Public Space rules.

What implications do you think this has for our church life?

David Wanstall, 17/11/2010