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Missional Community is a Crockpot, not a Microwave

04.21.16 | Missional Community | by Stephanie O'Brien

    I have always been a microwave person.

    No matter how many viral posts I read about how microwaves may cause cancer or something else horrible, I just can’t resist the instant satisfaction of warming up food in 2 minutes.

    Sure, I have an oven a stove top and a crock pot available to me. I often have high hopes to use either tool, and sometimes I succeed in taking the time to make a meal the “slow food” way.

    But more often than not, I resort to “zapping” the food right before my eyes and then eating it in almost as much of a rush as the speedy cooking process.

    No matter how often I choose the microwave out of convenience, I am certain that the food tastes better when cooked in the oven, stove top and for MAXIMUM flavor – cooked for hours in a slow-cooking crock pot.

    The longer and slower the food cooks, the better is seems to taste!

    The more time you take to sit and eat the food, the more enjoyable the experience.

    The same is true for Missional Community.

    Many of us have embarked on the adventure of leading Missional Communities. Groups of people that experience life as an extended family on mission. Families that have a purpose to love people in the name of Jesus.

    The missional communities I equip have missions that range from refugees, to poverty, to specific neighborhoods.

    These groups of people learn together how to love each other and to make a difference in the world God calls us to love.

    After years of leading these families, I have learned this truth:

    Missional Communities are crock pots – not microwaves.

    They take time to become what God intends for them to be.

    It takes time to discern exactly how to live out your mission on a regular basis.

    There is no way to “zap” a group of people into a meaningful experience of family.

    Learning how to be vulnerable and pray for one another is not something that happens over night.

    Starting to see people join the MC who are on the margins of faith or church often takes years of  trust.

    Three years into the Missional Community I participate in one of the young boys, who was about five, called me “Auntie Steph”. This was never said in front of him, no one taught him to call me this familial name.

    Years of eating together, playing together, loving our neighbors together and a couple experiences of tucking him in at night when his parents were out, have lead to a bond that’s more like an nephew to an aunt.

    But it took YEARS.

    In many ways, we have seen some amazing things in just a few years. However, if we had expected a microwave experience, we would have been disappointed.

    So to all of you who are just beginning, or only a small ways into your experiment with Missional Community –

    Trust the process and give it time.

    Stay committed. Live into predictable patterns. Press through conflicts. Don’t stop until you move past awkwardness. (Some of us may never stop being awkward, lets be real)

    Missional Communities come together like an amazing meal in in slow cooking crockpot. The experience is richer, more robust and meaningful as it grows. 

    And the aroma of what is cooking amongst you as a community is noticed by those around you just like a crock pot fills a whole house with the wonderful tasty scent of great food.

    Resist the urge to ZAP!