When I’m talking with people about Missional Communities, they often ask me why MCs need to be “mid-sized,” aka consisting of 20-50 adults. Why not just add a “mission focus” to a small group and call it a Missional Community?
I addressed this in my Missional Communities Series, but the short answer is that mid-sized communities hit a “sweet spot” of being small enough and big enough: small enough so everyone can be known and cared for, but big enough to do more substantial mission together. Small enough to care, big enough to dare. But are there other reasons? Sure.
Recently Mike Breen posted a few notes that Tim Catchim sent over to him about why Missional Communities work better in groups of 20-50 instead of small groups (6-12 people). Here are the very cleverly alliterated notes, which I will definitely be using in upcoming leader trainings!
Why do MCs work better for groups of 20-50 instead of missional small groups?
- Manpower – Missional Communities give you ample human resources to make an impact on your mission focus, whether it’s a neighborhood or a network of relationships.
- Money – We have to address money as a resource to mobilize for mission, and a group of 20-50 people is ideal for this, supplying enough to channel towards specific projects the group is focusing on. Moreover, since MCs should always have not-yet-Christians joining in on community life, these people are quite willing to give to cause-based projects, but they want them to be big enough to make a difference. This allows them to join in on the mission of God before they’ve come to see their own calling to it.
- Momentum – Small groups that have a missional bent are small enough to care, but not big enough to dare. With these mid-sized groups, very real momentum is developed because the group is small enough to care but also big enough to dare.
- Multiplication – Thinning the herd takes less of a toll on a group of 20-50, giving you the optimal number for movement to take place without cutting into the previous 3 M’s mentioned already. Furthermore, rather than experiencing the pain of splitting a small group and losing some of your closest friends, multiplying a MC allows you to continue the journey with your closest friends while still expanding the Kingdom of God.
- Margins – A group of 20-50 creates a sort of semi-anonymous space in the community for people to hang out in the margins and observe before they move closer in for more in depth participation. A group of 6-12 does not have this kind of space, only intimate space. We need marginal spaces for “observers” to come among us and hang out without being in the spotlight.