Making missional community…


We have been away for a couple of days in England, visiting our old church, Calvary Christian Fellowship, near Preston. It has been a glorious spring weekend, full of sunshine, hazy blue skies and green shoots everywhere.

All of which felt very appropriate as we were asked to come to talk to CCF about our experience of the process of making small ‘missional’ communities. They are in the process of trying to change the structure and focus of their organisation towards a collection of such groups. It seems to me to be a very interesting and potentially difficult process- akin to turning around a large oil tanker on a lake, but if anyone can do it I think they can.

Michaela and I did a bit of a double act- I spoke a lot about the thinking behind some of the changes that we have been through, and she described the actual practical experiences. In between we showed photographs, did some activities, and we used a large double sided loom to weave together the names of our community- something that Aoradh first developed for Greenbelt Festival. It has since been used at a few different events up and down the country.

What is created is this lovely thing, messy and rough around the edges, interconnected and full of humanity. We think it is rather a good analogy for the making of community…


It is 10 years since we moved away from CCF up to Scotland. For us this trip was a chance to take stock for ourselves as to the journey we have made. There have been challenges and times of real hardship, but also very great blessings.

This morning, Michaela and I have both taken a day off, which is fortunate as we are both exhausted. We came back to Dunoon on the last (midnight) ferry yesterday.

One of the things we tried to speak about with clarity is the question of what community (or church) is FOR.  It is easy for our groups and activities to become all about OUR needs, OUR spirituality, OUR comfort zones. God might then be adopted as some kind of benign mascot. I think the primary way we avoid this is to constantly make community a place of sending, as well as gathering. Hence, we used this poem;

There is a time for all things under heaven

A time for the sent  ones of God

To follow the rough roads

Into the barren broken places

To look for the marks left by Jesus

On the soft tissue and brittle bones

Of the Imago Dei

The stinking, wretched

Image bearers of the Living God


Time for the insurgency of God

To follow the mission

Into the hostile places

To seek out the secret stains left by the love

That was woven  into the very core

Of the Imago Christi

The failing, faithless

Manifest images of the Christ


Time for the dancers of the new Kingdom dance

To look for the music of Jesus

Amid the static and street noise

Tuning to the high fluting fragile sound

Vibrant and resonant;

To the gracenotes made there by Spiritus Sanctus

We, the discordant, cursing and gossiping

Vessels of the Spirit of the Living God


Time for the revolutionaries of God

To follow the long hard march

Unyoked and with easy burdens

Looking for the soft places where people are

Where freedom flickers, where hopes soar

To seek out the Participatio Christi

With weak but willing hands and sore feet

Learning to partake in the labours of love

For now is the time for holy huddles to scatter

On the winds of the Spirit

From ‘Listing’, available from Proost.

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