Loving Accountability in your Missional Community
by Paul & Cera Jaso
There have been many times Cera and I have tried to escape the pressures of the weekly missional community (MC) when things are tough for our family. Sometimes it is tension that has been building over unresolved conflict in our marriage. Sometimes it is what I call spontaneous fighting; where an ordinary cordial discussion transforms into low blows in the course of 30 seconds. And for some reason it always has to happen right before we head out to our MC.
As a result the temptation for us is to finagle our way out of meeting with our group. And I have a sneaky suspicion that we aren’t the only ones. Let’s just be honest. It can be a grind. And not just that but Sunday gatherings can be a grind, as well as marriage, parenting, work, everything in life! And it is because our hearts can be clouded with sin that prevents us from seeing what is truly valuable. So in all of that, the place you least want to go to when seasons of life are dark is your Missional Community.
Falling Asleep at the Wheel
The best analogy I can think of is being tired while driving. You don’t even know how tired you truly are. Sure you can acknowledge it; perhaps turn the radio up and put the windows down, but you still aren’t able to assess the situation for what it really is. However, your MC is able to look at you and know the severity of the situation and is able to step in and say, “You need to pull over and stop driving.” Maybe you think you can push through, but you are seriously unaware of the danger ahead. The group of believers you do life with can see and sniff out all that you are going through, better than you can. And when they do ask questions, some of them possibly being hard ones, it can feel like people are being judgmental. But it is almost always the group’s attempt to help you and restore you. Nothing can see what is in your heart like a community of believers can.
It Leads to Life
So we get it. Why on earth would I want to top off my day of frustration with work, frustration with family, frustration with life, just to go get grilled by other people? And that is a fair question. And the answer to that is what makes us distinctively Christian. Jesus would tell us it would be because it leads to life. “Enter by the narrow gate… for the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life…” (Matthew 7:13-14). So we gather because it leads to life! It is hard but working out your issues with other people for the sake of Jesus leads to life!
So lets play out the scenario where you decided not to go. Say you decide “skip” the MC in the name of anger, frustration, shame, etc… What are you accomplishing? Sure it is less stressful, but what are you going to do the next time your MC gathers? Skip that one? Brush this one under the rug in hopes your heart achieves peace in time for next week. That would be equivalent to taking medicine after you recover from your illness. Of what use is that? Or worse, you are veering off the side of the highway because the eyes of your heart are closed and there is significant danger ahead. Your fellow group of believers, your MC, is there to help you!
So we say all that to make this point. Gather with your MC even when you don’t feel like going. Obviously there are things that will prevent us from being able to attend like kiddos being sick, being out of town, work commitments, etc…. That is not what we have in mind. We are talking about the average gathering day for your MC. When all falls apart, still find a way to gather because there is holiness in that. Even if you contribute nothing. There is still Gospel in showing up a mess. And more often than not, when you confess that and get that junk out, the scales will fall off your eyes and you will see that God is really for us. And he is working through his people.