How Does It Work?

SALI and other community programs lead to relationships, and LINC NT missionaries lead these relationships into Bible-based communities. Leadership development allows the Bible-based communities to turn into churches, and ultimately into a church-planting movement. As the missionaries develop the Bible-based small groups, they will begin to transform them into churches in accordance with the house and mid-sized church model. However, the missionary does not want to remain the leader of the new churches, so leadership development immediately begins to become necessary. The first step of the new church is for the missionary to establish a mentoring, discipleship relationship with the leaders of each small house church. These leaders will be people who are already natural leaders, but may be beginning their journey with LINC NT from a variety of places. Some may be committed evangelical believers who only need coaching, while others may not even be believers at all.

As leaders are multiplied and discipled, new faith communities should be intentionally formed with the missional DNA to multiply. Much is said in church planting about embedding the DNA of the planting church in the new church, but ultimately this is what has led to churches drifting further and further into mental models that do not change with society. Missional DNA is an embedded and reproducible core value of missional and incarnational living that is based upon Scripture, the model of Jesus, and the impulse of the Holy Spirit, rather than a set of values imposed by LINC NT. The bonds between LINC NT and the various faith communities, and the bonds between the various mid-sized communities, will be based largely on discipleship relationships among their leaders. LINC NT may initially keep all faith communities and mid-sized groups under its organizational chart, but the costs of these church plants should be low enough that financial self-sustainability will not be a significant challenge. Most leaders will be bi-vocational if they are receiving a salary at all.

These small groups will become churches much more rapidly when this model of church are applied. Many of the up-front challenges of church planting are removed through this method. Furthermore, the churches have an expectation of multiplication, leading to a common mission that unifies the groups. These mid-sized communities begin to look like a decentralized organization of networks. Decentralized organizations draw strength from independent and reasonably autonomous circles of equals. They are formed on top of pre-existing networks by catalysts who light the spark of multiplication and let go. They are united by their ideology and grow through hyperactive individuals who champion the cause wherever they go. This describes the new LINC NT faith communities very well. The ideology that holds the communities together in mid-sized groups is a shared mission of multiplication through community development. In this way, the community activities of LINC NT lead to new faith communities who continue the community work on behalf of LINC NT. It’s self-reinforcing community transformation.

Citations:

  • Hirsch, Alan. The Forgotten Ways: Reactivating the Missional Church. Grand Rapids, MI: BrazosPress, 2006.
  • Brafman, Ori, and Rod A. Beckstrom. The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations. New York, NY: Portfolio, 2006.
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