Community and the Law of Unintended Consequences


There's a view out there that if our church plant/missional community could become a real community, then the people around us will be finally convinced of the truth of the gospel and drawn in.

When we love oneanother, the world will believe.

Like every half truth, something is missing, and without that something, we'll suffer from the law of unintended consequences.

The burden of responsibility for people's response to Christ will shifted onto our shoulders. It's our fault they don't believe.

We will become the focus of our own mission. We've got to get it together so people will be drawn to us.

The gospel is robbed of its power, and replaced with our own efforts.

We'll settle down and wait for people to notice us.

We'll try and extract individuals from their relational world and then place them in ours.

How does this contrast to Jesus example in the Gospels and Acts?

Jesus' band of missionaries spent much time on the road, visiting new towns and villages, meeting new people. They weren't a settled community.

Jesus called his disciples to be with him, and he promised to teach them to fish for others. Community was the fruit of being with Jesus, and making disciples.

Jesus planted the seeds of new communities wherever he went, but he didn't wait around to watch them grow. He continually moved to the next town, the next person.

As the risen Lord, Jesus unsettled his settled followers. He moved them out of Jerusalem, and sent them far and wide with the gospel. As the Word grew in power and multiplied, new communities of disciples resulted. Those communties continued to reach their own region in depth, as they released workers into unreached territories.

The story of Jesus' continuing ministry in Acts, is the story of the expansion of the movement he founded. In the power of the Holy Spirit, his followers took the gospel to the ends of the earth.

Wherever the gospel found faith, communities of disciples sprang up.