The first stage of the Missional Community Process (See the Toolbox Tab on the home page) is ‘Connecting’. Clearly this is essential, because if we don’t ‘Connect’ with the ‘Unchurched/De- Churched’, now an increasing majority of members of society, then there is no possibility of entering into a gospel conversation.
Thus the Unbounded Church strategy is to ‘Go and Stay’ in the ‘Live, Work and Play’ cultural universes where those who are outside the Kingdom of God, and who will never come into the standard church environment, regularly spend their time. This is a very simple form of Mission that anyone who can go into a café or other place of hospitality can do. An ‘Encounter with Ron’ that occurred last night demonstrates the point.
A small group of Christians has recently started meeting every Wednesday evening in a local pub south of Sydney, New South Wales, one of a growing numbers of Missional Communities, as part of a ‘Go and Stay’ missional strategy. The group sits at the same table each week, strategically chosen as it is in a place where most patrons walk past.
As the group meets we always have Bible placed where it is quite visible. On this occasion a man, beer in hand, walked past and stopped, pointing to the Bible and said ‘that is a good book’. I replied, yes it is, have you read it? He said that he had read parts and so I asked him what he thought of it, to which he replied that he thought it was a good guide for life.
I told him that a group of us meets there every Wednesday night to chat about the Bible and he was more than welcome to join us. He didn’t make any commitment and walked away. However, half an hour later he came back, confirmed that we were there every week and said he was usually there on Wednesdays. Another ten minutes or so later he returned once more and introduced himself as Ron and shook my hand saying he hoped to join us next week. We will see.
What can we say about this encounter? Firstly I wouldn’t call this a ‘Connection’ more a ‘fairly brief encounter’, but because we are there regularly it opens up the possibility of making a real ‘Connection’ with Ron.
Secondly, it would not have even happened if we had not have been there. It makes the point that Christians need to make a long-term commitment to ‘Go and Stay’ where those we are seeking to reach with the Gospel actually spend their time, which is not in church buildings!
Thirdly, anyone can do it!
Fourthly, be encouraged by this example, one of many that could be cited, and if you haven’t already, grab a couple of Christian friends and give it a go.
You never know, by God’s grace, ‘Ron’ might just walk by!