Why your missional learning community isn't making disciples

This email just came in from David Broodryk on what you should call yourselves if your group wants to see a disciple making movement.


There are several critical mistakes that we have seen in this process. One of them begins with seeing the initial team as a “Missional Learning Community.” The name will define the function. Unfortunately, in almost every case, “missional” has no real definition and ends up meaning nothing. “Learning” immediately places Western thinkers into perpetual learning mode with no application. And “community” is the strongest. It will define the group. Every time we used this in the name, it caused the group to settle into a quasi-church that focused on one another and not on the lost!

The first thing I would encourage a church to do is to think carefully about the name of the initial team. Although you will have many communities when you get to movement, you do not launch a movement from a “community.” You launch a movement from a “team.” The biblical principle here for me is Jesus calling his first team. Although it had many functions of church, its primary function was as a travelling apostolic band. This is made clear from the very first call to “make fishers of men” as the purpose for joining.

We need to be clear with churches. They always default to the pastoral model of creating church, cell or “community.” But it requires a very intentional step towards a high-functioning TEAM in order to get to movement.

Just a few rambling random thoughts . . .



Westerners have been discussing, contextualising and redefining the mission of the church for a century. In that time we’ve gone from “missionaries” to “missions” to “mission” to “missional” without much improvement in how we make disciples.

We’re lost in a missional fog. Everyone uses the term, few know what it looks like on Monday morning. It’s the reason why the “emerging church” was so bad at evangelism.

So if you want to see a disciple making movement, be careful what you call yourself.