“Speaking to strangers really isn’t my gift!” Ryan, Missional Community Leader.
Ryan Bays, his wife Tiffany and their girls had been in a group that they had really enjoyed for over a year, when I asked Ryan what he thought of leaving his current group and leading another that needed help while their leader took a break due to some life circumstances. I knew they were busy with life, so I had no idea what answer to expect. His response was, “Let me talk with my wife.” Just a day or two later I got a text that read, “We’re in! Let’s meet.”
We made a plan for the transition. Step 1: Find a couple who would lead the family meal schedule. Step 2: Find a person to lead the monthly missions. Step 3: Figure out the dynamics of switching leaders for the group. Step 4: Determine what group discussions would be about. Step 5: Decide where to meet. The group responded immediately, and within a week we had all questions answered, except for No.3.
Since then, Ryan has felt more ownership and personal commitment as the leader of a group than he did just being part of one. Both He and his wife sincerely care for others, so they take this responsibility seriously. For them it is more than just a weekly meeting. It is their new family that they do life with and serve along-side just as Christ faithfully serves them.
Leading and being in a Missional Community is a commitment. Living life together as Christians took adjustment as they created space in their schedules. The Bays have learned that leading or just being part of a group can enhance your own family’s life as you experience mission with your children. We often unintentionally segregate our kids from our spiritual lives because we are just not sure how to include them. Ryan said, “We just made a commitment to be involved. We may have to sacrifice other activities.” I am sure they are still making adjustment as they go.
One of the first things the reorganized group did was have a cookout in the neighborhood where they meet. The host family was excited to see what the Lord had in store for their neighborhood. So the Bays planned a cookout and helped make some simple flyers to hand out. The hosts handed them out as they visited folks on their street and invited them to the neighborhood event.
I asked Ryan afterwards what he learned. He said, “Speaking to strangers really isn’t my gift!” and “And when it comes to desserts, I have absolutely no will power to say no.” But he noticed that others were great at speaking to strangers and he was surprised that so many came out. “It was the first cookout ever in the neighborhood, and everyone loved it! The entire group pitched in, and really outdid themselves.”
Ryan also asked follow-up questions after the cookout to learn how their Missional Community could help their host family continue to serve their neighbors and grow in relationship with them.
Missional Communities at PVCC are each unique. They are unique because they are made up of different people who live and meet in different neighborhoods. This means there are a variety to choose from. Each leader’s strengths as well as the gifts of others in the group play an essential part in the family dynamic as well as how much they grow in numbers or in depth. The goal is to achieve a group that is lead in such a way that everyone’s gifts are utilized. We hope to see groups go deep in rich fellowship with one another and experience the Kingdom of God as a family in burden bearing, mutual learning, equipping for ministry, and so much more. Beyond that, It is our desire that the groups not only grow inwardly, but also go outwardly in obedience to Christ as they meet and serve others.
Going on mission together and blessing others stretches us and causes us to grow as it forces us to not only know about something but to live what we’ve learned. It’s more than talking about Christian life, but actually taking those first steps. Be not hearers only, but also doers.