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Our first Learning Community

On the 19th March, we held our first learning community in conjunction with two other churches who are also seeking to develop disciples and be effective in mission through missional communities.  This was inspired by what the St Thomas's churches in Sheffield have learned to do and I am really grateful for the advice and input from Rich Robinson from Sheffield.

The day was for people who are leading missional communities, are seeking to develop missional communities, and those with a heart for local mission.  It included times of worship, prayer, teaching and even some video teaching from Mike Breen and Paul Maconochie.  But it also included sharing of stories from our churches - not necessarily fantastic write a book and make a movie sort of stories, but stories that were ours, that represented small steps and the beginnings of journeys.  And while they were simple they were incredibly encouraging because they resonated with where we were at.

We also did some quiet reflecting and small group sharing about:
  • our current situation - strengths and weaknesses
  • where we hoped under God's direction and blessing to go in the future, and
  • some specific next steps for the next few months.
I think it was actually during these times as well as during conversations over coffee and meal breaks where some of the most significant Karios (God moments) and breakthroughs happened.

One of the things that 3dm coaches have observed is that the chances of success in transitioning to a missional community model of doing church is enhanced when a church makes the journey with other churches.  I could see this clearly at our first learning community.  At the end of the day, each of the three pastors said that it was great that we could be on this journey together.

The main game is not the learning community, but the life of the missional communities themselves.  And so I am looking forward to the next learning community that we are planning for later in the year - to share what God has done and what we have learned from our mistakes and then take another look forward to the next steps.

David Wanstall, 23/03/2011