Leading a large Missional Community is absolutely possible. It seems overwhelming, and it absolutely can be if we are leading it like it’s small. So what’s the difference?
If you’re not familiar with the Remedy language, we define a Missional Community as a spiritual family who lives on mission together. For more on that, see our Missional Community page.
For many people with a church small group background, we naturally bring with us some assumptions about how “group life” should go. One of those tends to be a group of around 8-10 adults and their kiddos (who are sometimes present in the group, sometimes not) sitting in a circle for group conversation. But as we’ve grown and matured, even in our few shorts years, we have found that our MC’s tend to grow larger, and while that can be overwhelming to some, it can actually be a very good thing.
Large MC’s Have Great Strengths
Larger MC’s can care for each other really well when the need arises because there are more people and resources to mobilize. We can also do mission and service really well for the same reason. A large MC also typically has a more diverse makeup of giftings, personalities, and experiences, which is a very good thing in the body of Christ. But…a large Missional Community can also be chaos when it’s not structured well.
Larger MC’s can care for each other really well when the need arises because there are more people and resources to mobilize.
Every Missional Community gets to a tipping point size-wise, and that’s a good thing. It leads us toward multiplication. But as it gets larger, the tendency by some in the MC can be to feel the pressure of “Oh my goodness! Too big, too big!” But I think most leaders actually have the capacity to lead a larger MC than they think they do, and most people can thrive in a larger MC than they think they can. The catch is this: the larger then MC gets, the more structure it needs.
Three Essential Elements of Larger MC’s
Every Missional Community needs shared leadership. The MC leader should never be wearing all the hats. Their job is to shepherd the overall direction and health of the MC, but the variety of jobs to be done should be shared by the members of the group. Every MC needs a point person for kids, meals, hosting, mission, prayer, discussion, etc. Some people may need to wear multiple hats, but no one should be wearing all (or most ) of the hats. Sharing the load takes the pressure off of one individual person. It’s healthier, it’s more productive, and it’s biblical (1 Cor. 12).
Every Missional Community needs multiple connection points in the span of a week or two, and that’s even more critical for a larger MC. We can never expect to function as a spiritual family on mission together by meeting once a week. It’s nearly impossible to move a large group of humans efficiently and productively through a series of different activities. We need to gather at various times for various purposes.
We can never expect to function as a spiritual family on mission together by meeting once a week.
Every Missional Community has to find ways to stay small as it grows large. This means that we have to resist the urge to think that every gathering has to be all of us together. Think about extended families. Rarely do we try to get all the family together to have a single discussion. We get together in smaller groups on various occasions, and when we are together, we rarely expect everyone to be sitting around listening to one person at a time. It’s just not functional. So while there may be times for that in an MC, we should not expect that to be the norm for all of our gatherings.
We need dinners that are just dinners and guys time/ladies time that goes deeper. We need to gather to pray and to play, and we need to gather to invest in our kids. Sometimes these happen together, sometimes they don’t. But we intentionally look for ways for people to connect in smaller settings, even as the overall size of the MC grows.
A typical couple of weeks in an MC might look something like this…
Every Missional Community needs a balance of organized and organic (idea taken from Mike Breen and 3DM). And as an MC grows larger, the “organic” functions more naturally and effectively when it is built around a backbone of “organized.” So what does that look like for your MC?