A "strategy" is simply a plan of action or a method designed to achieve an overall mission.
We call ours 3-4-M.
Three to four families form a micro-community to share their lives. They gather as a group at least once a week for to develop community, foster discipleship, and share mission. The gatherings are designed to create an atmosphere where discipleship, prayer, service, and worship can occur in the context of deep, authentic community. Throughout the week–between group gatherings–this micro-community shares life by calling, texting, and emailing each other. They check in on social media, too, to keep tabs on how one another are doing day-in and day-out. They get together for coffee, attend each others' kids' sporting and school events, do volunteer work together, etc. This is the very essence of missional community.
The goal of each micro-community is to seek out a fourth or fifth family who is interested in becoming disciples or deepening their experience as disciples of Jesus. In the midst of the daily lives of each micro-community, they encourage one another to be on the lookout for people who are searching for more. Once they are identified, an invitation to join the micro-community is extended. This is the entry point for new disciples to enter the larger missional community.
Once the fourth or fifth family joins the micro-community and has assimilated into this shared life together on a permanent basis, the time has come for the micro-community to move and multiply. Life in missional communities is not perpetuated by continuing to draw more and more people into a single community or a single weekly gathering. Life is perpetuated as we extend our reach into our individual spheres of influence throughout the areas in which we live, work, and play. This is why the micro-community will prayerfully decide how to best multiply into two new separate micro-communities, moving to different weekly gathering schedules, beginning the 34M process over again.
34M: Do it Again!
Now that there are two small micro-communities that started as one, they will once again be on the lookout for others who want to grow in their discipleship and experience of following Jesus. In this manner, the overall community will grow and expand its influence over the different areas and regions in which the micro-communities live, work, and play. The point here is for disciples to make disciples who make disciples. Etc. Etc. Etc. This is the model of church growth we subscribe to. It isn't about inviting people to gatherings or church services. Rather, it is about inviting people to share life together around the person of Jesus.
More Details about Our Strategy
- We are a congregation of followers and disciples of Jesus. We are families who want to grow to be more and more like Jesus. We're not just interested in our own growth–we desire to invite people into our community and help them grow into disciples of Jesus, too. Ultimately, we want to work together on the mission of God in our daily lives.
- We recognize that we are part of Jesus' church. We also understand the benefits of and responsibilities associated with identifying ourselves as a local congregation. This allows us to identify and agree to a common goal and common purpose for our community so we can have a greater impact for the Kingdom. Practically, we function as a "community of communities." We form ourselves into fairly autonomous micro-communities of 2 to 4 families who gather regularly, disciple one another, and live on mission together.
- Our micro-communities meet in homes weekly. We gather to eat a meal, celebrate Communion, worship, pray, and study together. In addition to the weekly gatherings, each micro-community engages with each other daily through texts, email, phone calls, social media, and even in-person (when schedules allow). Staying in constant contact is vital for authentic community to be developed, fostered, and grown.
- Occasionally, all of our micro-communities gather in one location for what we call a "Celebration Gathering". We do this so that the entire community can meet, worship, and encourage one another. At these gatherings, someone usually gives a short lesson from the Bible, someone else leads a few songs of praise and worship, and we spend time hearing from one another about things Father is doing and how our community is getting involved in the mission of God. Typically, the Celebration Gatherings are designed for Eikon House members only. While we always welcome non-members, these Celebration Gatherings are not intended to be an event where we "advertise" Jesus, attract new members, or replace the micro-community gatherings each week. People interested in learning more about Jesus and our community should first go to a micro-community gathering in the home of some of our congregation's members or attend one of our Connection Gatherings (see #5 below).
- Several times a year, we organize "Connection Gatherings" that are designed to bring people together from the region who are involved in other house churches who want to connect with other like-minded believers. In addition, it is open to people from institutional churches who are interested in seeing what house churches are all about. These Connection Gatherings are great ways for people to meet and get to know other followers of Jesus who are living outside the box or institutionalized christianity.