Sunday, July 10, 2011

165. Missional-Incarnational Rhythms

Moving into this new neighborhood has heightened our awareness of the need for process, design and intentional rhythms for living in relationship to God, our Christian family, and the local community (UP, IN, OUT). It takes some real intentionality to actually focus and invest time in all three of these relationships. We typically gravitate towards 2 out of the three, sometimes only one, making us imbalanced for missional impact.

Our missional community core team is largely a group of P's on the Meyers Briggs, so we tend to struggle on following through and executing our plans. We can do a great job at planning our work, but not so good on working the plan. So we face a dilemma going into this. We love the spontaneity and flexibility. Organic is our middle name. This makes us really adaptable and accommodating when dealing with life and its disappointments, but it does not help us out very much when it comes to seeing things through for the long haul. Said shortly, we are easily distracted.

So as I thought about this inherent strength/weakness dichotomy of P and J within our group, I asked myself the question: What is going to help us skirt the dark side of our P culture and balance it out with some J???? Well, I came up with a really profound solution. Are you ready??? here it is....

A CALENDAR!!!!!

Yep, that's right! We have developed a plan that we as a group will be holding ourselves accountable to. All of the group will be adjusting their schedules to live into a rhythm of life where we, as a group, live into balanced relationships focused on UP, IN, and OUT. Here is the Calendar for our monthly rhythm.


Here is a breakdown of the rhythm:

1. Group Time: This is our personal space where groups of 12 or smaller join up to be a spiritual family. People will grow closer, share life and work through challenges.
2. Network Gathering: This is a social space where groups of 20-70 (several Group Time units) come together once a month for celebration and vision-izing. Over t6ime it will morph into public space, 70-200 people.
3. Meal & Huddle: This is a personal space where those who are leading in this missional community will come together, at least twice a month, to be discipled through life-shapes and do strategic reflection and planning.
3. Meal & Rec: The missonal community comes together to eat and just hang out...do whatever.This will start off as a personal space (6-12 people) for those in the missional community, but it will morph into a social space over time for anyone to hang out.
4. Meal & Party: This will be social space to PARTY!!!!
5. Prayer: This will be personal or social space where we seek God in prayer through creative means.

It should be noted that this is a rhythm for a group, not individuals. You will notice we only have two designated OUT activities. Because we are living in the same neighborhood with each other, OUT will also take place on a two by two, or individual basis through out each week. Each individual on the leadership team will develop an individual weekly rhythm of UP, IN, and OUT to help us stay on track as disciples. So for example, each of us will have a 3rd place in the neighborhood that we will frequent on roughly the same day and time each week. My designated 3rd place is the community center where I will be going to open gym, schooling some folks in basketball :-) and looking for the person of peace.

You will also notice that there is plenty of space for new discipling groups to be started. Because we live in the same neighborhood, hanging out will be a lot less time consuming and require a lot less organizing. This monthly rhythm would probably be too busy for people who live across town from each other or who have little shared space during the week. This level of weekly interaction can only happen when space and time are not an issue. Living in proximity affords us with this level of interaction.

Having a plan and holding ourselves accountable to that plan is going to provide the needed balance we need for follow through and consistency. We are, as stated before in a previous post, going to "open up a can of J" in our lives so we can see a greater degree of sustainability in our relationships and missional ventures.

4 comments:

Richard M said...

Tim,
Thanks for this. As a fellow LifeShapes/MBTI/APEST geek I find we have similar lines of thought! We started out with a similar calendar and did find it overly complicated/complex and people kept getting lost. Your post is a timely reminder that we probably want to build some more of these rhythms back into our community, but I would recommend you model this rhythm very strongly and invite people into it - I think our problem was I expected the whole group to totally own the rhythm from day 1. Will be interested to see how you find living it out in practice and I will be up for learning from your findings! Blessings, Richard

Planter said...

Hey Richard,

This rhythm is sort of unique in that it is initially for thge people living in the neighborhood. We are literally one or two streets away form each other, so we will have a lot more time to interact on this level. Those being discipled through lifeshapes, as of now, are the ones living in the neighborhood, so this makes the calendar more specific to the initial core team.

The calendar will be slimmed down for people who are attracted to the vision of reaching this neighborhood, but are not ready to be in a huddle or have less time to participate etc.

So yeah, it appears complex, but only for those living in the neighborhood. Having said that, we will definitely be reviewing and adjusting as we go along to fit the flow and actual experiences we are having. Thanks for the feedback. Do you have a blog? I would love to talk and hear your story. Maybe even share a geek moment :-)

Richard M said...

Hi again Tim,

Thanks for the reply. Sure, my (not-so-impressive) blog is at http://theuntaming.wordpress.com/ . In geek-speek I'm a PATES/ENTP which probably tells you quite a lot about me! I am just doing very early-stage grassroots missional community stuff in France.

I'm about to do a blog post on the first 12 months of our venture into MC so look out for that.

Do leave me a comment on the blog if you fancy having a chat - just put your contact details in and ask me not to approve the comment (so your details won't go public).

Richard M said...

Hi Tim - following up on this discussion of rhythms in missional communities... I am just completing a blog series on this very topic as it has been a difficult learning curve for us. Your views would be welcome!

See here; http://theuntaming.wordpress.com/2013/09/16/missional-community-rhythms-ouch/