The prioritizing of smaller missional communities is a celebrated distinctive of The Embassy.  This in no way undermines the value of our larger gatherings; we recognize the need for the saints to gather for regular corporate worship.[1]  The large worship gathering is essential for vision casting, celebration, teaching, and corporate joy.  Medium groups (e.g. Bible study classes, culture and theology talks) are valuable for Q&A sessions and introduction to community.  But we have concluded that the mission of the church is best accomplished if our weekly gatherings supplement our smaller missional communities.  We have chosen this approach because we believe that missional communities lend themselves to community, mission, and discipleship.

Community

Acts 2:42-47 describes a scenario in which the body of Christ worshipped in large, public gatherings, “…attending the temple together…”  They also had communion and worshipped in smaller settings “…breaking bread in their homes…”  Smaller gatherings are conducive to the establishment of familial relationships and a community of believers that is knit together.  This allows for a ready display of encouragement and accountability. Edification of this sort is essential to the health and focus of the mission.

Missional Living

The Church is also called to be missional (Acts 1:8).  In other words, the body of Christ is called to live indigenously and engage the community in a contextualized manner.  We believe that missional communities allow for the mobilization and focus that is required when a group intends to live missionally.  The smaller communities are better suited to “doing life” and hearing one another’s stories.  These stories inevitably open a door to the Gospel.  In other words, missional communities lend themselves to Gospel driven justification and restoration.

Discipleship

The Church is also called to be a disciple making community (Matt 28:18-20).  While we recognize that the worship gathering is crucial, we contend that pulpit preaching is a necessary but insufficient means to disciple making.  Discipleship is best accomplished in the familial context that is common to smaller communities.  The large worship gathering is essential to corporate worship, teaching, exhortation, and vision casting.  But the intimacy of small groups lends itself to deeper relationships and, consequently, discipleship.  Our objective is to get the covenant members of The Embassy plugged into missional communities and allow for the organic transition to mentoring relationships (person to person or couple to couple).

To assume that our emphasis on small missional communities is intended to undermine the weekly corporate gathering would be a misunderstanding of this distinctive.  Instead, our objective is to have the body of believers live in integrated community, and then come together during the weekly worship gatherings to celebrate the community, missional living, and discipleship that has taken place in the smaller missional communities.

Brandon,

The Embassadors – Striving toward Kingdom Community and Discipleship,
www.theembassy.org


[1] We will gather for corporate worship on a weekly basis.

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