This post is the second part of a short series detailing the process grafting our church plant together with another to form one network of Missional Communities in Fort Wayne. Check out the previous post to get the full scoop.
As I said in the first post, we began this process by simply talking and praying together with another 3DM-influenced church in Fort Wayne, and in the end felt like God was daring us to think outside the box in terms of partnership. As surprising as it was to us, this feels like the next natural step in our original vision, which was to cultivate and multiply communities of discipleship and mission all over the Fort Wayne region (and beyond).
The most important factor in this is that we are sensing God’s direction, but as we’ve discussed and prayed together about it, there are a number of practical and strategic considerations that seem to confirm this as a Spirit-inspired move.
I’ve written before about the necessary BOTH/AND of Temple and Oikos. One of the important learning experiences we had as a church plant was to realize that the missional momentum we were seeking to catalyze was difficult to sustain because, being a small community, we didn’t have a strong “center of gravity” to resource and equip the mission that was taking place “on the edges.”
It’s a bit of a chicken-or-egg scenario, of course. Temple and Oikos are meant to work together and feed off one another. But because of our limited resources (time, energy, and money), we had to choose to put all our eggs in one basket or the other: Missional Communities or a weekly worship celebration. We chose Missional Communities, which was the right decision, but it also meant that we struggled to sustain the missional momentum on the edges because of our lack of a strong center. Strong on Oikos, weak on Temple.
Grace Gathering is a larger, more established church that has had a strong “center of gravity” (worship celebration), but has been seeking to inspire and catalyze more outward missional movement. Strong on Temple, weak on Oikos. You can probably guess where this is going.
In grafting our churches together, our church plant gains an expression of Temple (Worship Celebration) that will be very helpful for supporting, encouraging, and equipping our Missional Communities, giving us a stability and center of gravity we don’t have right now because of our smaller size.
Grace Gathering gains a stronger, more holistic expression of Oikos (Missional Community) that could be catalytic to inspire and spark more radical missional imagination for the whole church.
To borrow an over-used word: there’s a synergy about this that’s hard to ignore. We benefit, they benefit, Fort Wayne benefits, God’s kingdom advances. It feels like the next natural step in accomplishing the vision we’ve had from the beginning: mutiplying communities of discipleship and mission all over the Fort Wayne area to join God in the renewal of all things.
To put it alliteratively, as we’ve followed the direction of the Spirit, we seem to have been led into a synergistic symbiosis that makes a lot of strategic sense! Go figure.