How Gospel Communities Multiply
We are always talking about communities, multiplication, and the goal of seeing one gospel community for every 1,000 people in Portland. That is roughly 450 communities scattered across the city. How does that multiplication happen? How do new communities start? Every circumstance is different, but here is a rough sketch on how this typically happens.
I am often caught saying: “We don’t multiply gospel communities, we multiply leaders.” The process of new communities beginning in new neighborhoods begins with two or three leaders with a deep love for Jesus (who he is and what he has done), and a track record of service (people who are already leveraging their lives for others). They are also people who desire leadership, want to lead a group of believers into mission, family and service.
If you talk to these leaders, you will hear the Gospel spoken, you will hear a heart for their lost friends and you will hear a Christ-like love for God’s family. Multiplication begins with leadership. As an equipping staff, we spend lots of times with these leaders, mentoring&coaching them in leading a community, praying alongside them, and living mission with them.
We pray for leaders daily, we pray for their marriages, their hearts and their missions. God has blessed Bread&Wine with remarkable leaders who are making disciples throughout the city. And God continues to answer our prayer for more to come and for more to be raised up within each Gospel Community. They are our heros. Please join us in prayer for them.
Unified on Mission
As leaders are raised up and discipled, they begin looking up and down their street. Or at a whole new part of town or group of people and start calling others to join them in the mission of making disciples in that place with those people.
This happens in a variety of ways. For Kory and Emily, in Southeast Portland, it looked like actually calling people in their Gospel Community and asking them to be part of a new mission in their neighborhood. For Josh and Laurel, in Northeast Portland, it looked like them gathering a few people new to Bread&Wine and some people from other communities who were moving to their neighborhood. For Joshon and Taylor, it looked like a group of friends and neighbors who were curious about spiritual things–specifically the hope the Millers had in Jesus Christ. They began with a group of people who just wanted to know the Story of God and what community is like.
In the midst of a multiplication this last year, I was asked, “Why do we do this?” The answer is the mission. Gospel Communities exist to introduce their neighbors to the person of Jesus.
A new Gospel Community looks like six to eight people in a living room. All looking at each other, and looking to God asking: “What do we need to do now? How are we going to be a community? How are we going to live on mission? How are we going to serve this neighborhood together?”
The community begins by answering these questions; creating a covenant, a promise to each other, on how they will live out their identities in Christ together.
The group begins at a place of deep dependence on the Holy Spirit for ideas, direction and opportunity. The prayer is, that is where they stay, throughout the life of the community.
They also begin by telling their stories. Or better said, “How God has made them part of His story.” It is a common Savior, Redeemer and Father that makes a community a family. It is because of His story of reconciliation, that we see 911 operators, graphic designers, sales reps, carpenters and moms radically reorient their lives to tell this story. Communities begin by sharing story.