Understanding Missional Community

Orientation to… 




What are Missional Community Groups?

Definition:  A Missional Community Group (MCG) is a group of believers who have together committed to living out a life like Jesus’ in their common neighbourhood.

IMAGINE if all believers, who lived in the same geographical neighbourhood, were committed to seeing Jesus come to their neighbourhood.



What would they do?

They would…

PRAY for their neighbourhood.  MEET OFTEN to ask the question, “Where are we seeing God’s Kingdom breaking in and how can we cooperate with what He is doing?” TELL STORIES of how God has been working, how they have been nudged and certainly, how He has been answering their prayers.

MODEL JESUS that they long to make visible to their neighbours.  By loving one another, carry each other’s burdens, seek to reconcile relationships and encourage one another? 

IMAGINE these types of groups throughout the City of Burlington geographically! This is exactly what NBBC is dreaming of.


What MCG’s are not:

An Affinity Group: it is not about who we choose to be with, or to be with those who are LIKE us and who LIKE us. A Bible Study: it is not only about studying Gods Word A Community Outreach Team: it is not operative team commissioned to attack the neighbourhood as gifted evangelists An Encouragement Group: it is not just a supportive clique not willing to engage others A Counseling Group: it is not to provide dynamic direction for someone life

A Fellowship Group: it is not just chips & pop
A Replacement for Sunday Gatherings: it is not an excuse to not gather with local believers
IMAGINE if it was not about “what is in it for me?”


Why do we have MCG’s?

Traditional church life in North America has been steeped in consumerism and individualism. The witness of the Life of Jesus has diminished.Essentially, we see the witness of God’s people (the church) in three spheres for which we need to be equipping, training and teaching:

  The institution

– NBBC has an institutional presence within our city. Our corporate life has a reputation. When we talk about NBBC most people think of it in this collective sense. This institutional aspect of our life together allows us the opportunity to influence other institutions.

The group

– While we gather at one location on Sunday morning, we each inhabit different neighbourhoods which are part of Burlington. The formation of MCG’s is an intentional effort to gather those who live in the same neighbourhoods for the sake of bringing the influence of God’s Kingdom to their neighbourhoods.

The individual

– Not all our time is spent with other church members. We each have a personal sphere of influence where we seek to live and witness faithfully for Jesus Christ.

NBBC strives to enable the church in each of these three spheres of influence to become increasingly effective in reflecting Jesus and His Kingdom.    

The rationale for these three spheres is grounded in several areas:


– In the book of Acts we read of the early church meeting at the temple and in people’s homes. The temple gathering would have been a larger corporate gathering similar to Sunday mornings, while the home gatherings would have been neighbourhood based fellowships which were within walking distance to one another.


– Whenever God has revived His church, He has orchestrated the development of small group gatherings of people who focus on mission. The small accountability groups that Wesley organized and the Moravian mission circles are just two of many examples that could be shared. If this is what God does to revive His church, we want to cooperate.

Culturally – There was a time, not too long ago, when “going to church” on Sunday mornings was the norm. We could assume that references to Christian stories would be understood (i.e. Adam and Eve, Noah’s Ark, Daniel in the Lion’s Den) and that most people held a Judeo-Christian moral perspective that was endorsed by society and other institutions. This is no longer the case and going to church is an increasingly foreign, and to many, scary, even threatening, prospect. When the people won’t come to the church, the church must

go to the people – this was Jesus’ command!


– In many countries the needs of society that church helps to meet are material and physical. The church comes offering food and health care for instance. In Canada, specifically in Burlington, the needs are not physical as much as they are social. There is an epidemic of loneliness. How do we help people to get plugged into relationships? MCG’s provide an instant connecting point for those who are new to our church community. The smaller, neighbourhood focuses MCG’s provide an opportunity for people to become known that does not always happen in the anonymity of a larger Sunday gathering.


There are certain foundational theological affirmations upon which Missional Communities are based:

Christianity is about shared life:

  • where mutual submission is practiced
  • where communal discernment is engaged
  • that implies time spent together
  • where we hold one another accountable

A theology of place:

  • to be a faithful presence that reflects Jesus requires that we are in, with and for the neighbourhood
  • we recognize that the example of Jesus was geographically located and specific

The centrality of Mission:

  • mission is not simply an activity but an attribute of God, God is missional by nature.
  • the story of the whole Bible is focused upon telling about God’s mission, and therefore God’s mission should help to serve as an interpretation principle for Scripture.

The priesthood of every believer:

  • each believer is gifted and is needed to serve God’s mission.
  • we support one another in prayer
  • where we minister to one another

How will MCG’s work?

Where are they?

Within the city of Burlington, NBBC has identified 23 neighbourhoods or missional communities (MC). MC are simply the neighbourhoods where we live; includes all people, business, schools etc. Our goal is to have at least one MCG in each of the neighbourhoods in Burlington.


Who is in them?

Essentially in any neighbourhood or Missional Community
there will be 4 types of relationships to NBBC:
  1. Covenanted – Those who have covenanted to meet regularly
  2. Committed – Those who are committed to NBBC but have not yet joined in a MCG
  3. Connected – Those with whom we have begun a relationship: friends, Kids’ Club, Garden Patch, etc. – people who have trusted us with their information
  4. Contact – any others who live in the MC

  Our hope is to move people from contacts towards becoming covenanted members of a MCG as they embrace a life of following Jesus.



What will MCG’s do?

The MCG’s will gather weekly. Each gathering may take different forms which include practices.

While it is not possible to tell everything a group might do, here is a list of what might be envisioned:

  • use the MCG guides for group gatherings
  • prayer walk their neighbourhood
  • watch to discern where they might join God on mission
  • support one another in prayer and discernment for life decisions
  • eat together
  • work towards healthy, loving community
  • hold one another accountable to their covenanted practices
  • share stories and share attempts, wins and failures in missional engagement
  • build one another up
  • play and celebrate together


A Word About Spiritual Practices

Each week the MCG members will strive to engage in shared “spiritual practices”.

We recognize that all skills are developed through practices:
  • There are music practices like scales
  • Athletic practices like weight lifting or in football there is tackling and blocking drills
  • These practices are not the skill itself but they enable the skill.
  • The purpose of a practice is to make automatic what might not normally be automatic.
  • They form how we respond and how we think.
  • To be a practice it must be intentional and repetitive

Some core spiritual practices of a MCG are:

  1. Daily engage in reading Scripture and pray for God to bless NBBC in it’s missional calling.
  2. Weekly purposely and intentionally bless another person.
  3. Monthly practice table fellowship with someone in your Missional Community.
  4. Respond to the Spirit’s prompting as you sense Him leading and directing.
  5. Share with others the stories of what God is doing in your life as opportunities arise.

What will it mean to you?

Intentionally committing and covenanting with a group of other people can be intimidating. It goes against the grain of our culture. There are several “forces” at work that will pull at you that are in opposition to the values of the Kingdom. We will need to be diligent in guarding our hearts and encouraging each other to resist the pull of such things as:
  • Consumerism – Consumerism has been defined as “the search for meaning, identity, purpose and belonging tied to the consumption of products.”
  • Individualism – It can be defined as “the doctrine that the interests of the individual should take precedence over the interests of the state or social group.”
  • Materialism – Materialism is a desire for wealth and material possessions with little interest in ethical or spiritual matters. Materialism is in direct opposition to Jesus command to “Seek first the Kingdom of God.”
  • Commodification – The social process by which something or someone comes to be regarded and treated as an article of trade or commerce. Over time the commodities we consume are seen in abstraction from their origins. In a world dominated by consumption, commodification is becoming more and more of an unconscious worldview.
  • Hedonism – Hedonism is the belief that a person’s chief reason for living is to pursue pleasure and avoid pain.
  • Narcissism – It is defined as inordinate fascination with oneself. It is a breeding ground which kills sympathy, empathy, generosity and all kinds of virtues and it is a natural progression of un-guarded individualism.
  • Busyness – Philosopher and theologian Dallas Willard said, “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life, for hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our world today.”


Will it make a difference?

This is up to you and me.




What kind of support will be available?

NBBC is committed to making the MCG’s a central aspect of our ministry to our neighbourhood and it is our aim to provide on going resources to the groups and facilitators. At present, we are developing:
  • On line training videos
  • Weekly MCG guides
  • On going facilitator training events
  • Outreach resources and ideas to help build community in your neighbourhood
  • Integration of MCG’s into the Sunday gathering
  • Integration of MCG’s into the organizational structure of the corporation
  • Social media resources




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