I just recently returned from “Soma School” in Tacoma, Washington. Jeff (another one of our leaders) and I spent a week living with and learning from the Soma community. They are a church based on missional communities that has done an excellent job training and equipping church planters. The “school” session that we were a part of was videotaped and will be a available on their website in the coming months for anyone to use. They already have audio up from previous schools.
I could share a ton more here, but if you’re interested you can check it out for yourself. What I really want to share has to do with some of my “takeaways.”
The first is simply this: As a church (and as pastors/leaders) we need to remain grounded in “being” rather than “doing.” Four questions to help us stay grounded in this are:
- Who is God? (Theology)
- What has God done? (Christology)
- Who are we? (Ecclesiology)
- What do we do? (Missiology)
When we get these in the correct order we stay grounded in the Spirit and empowered by who we are in Christ. If we get these in the wrong order we can fall into the trap of relying on our own strength rather than the Spirit’s power. We can also work backwards through these questions when we are anxious/worried/in crisis (i.e. What are we doing right now? What does what we are doing say about what we believe about ourselves, what we believe about what God is doing/has done, and what we believe about God?). While I’m certainly not expressing this as well as they do at Soma, I find it to be a very simple and helpful way of evaluating both the church and our own lives.
The second “takeaway” for me is less academic. I believe that we are on the right track with our first missional community and that we will begin to see more “fruit” from it in the next couple of years. We are building many great relationships with people that do not yet know Jesus. We have found many ways to be a blessing to our community without expecting something in return. Even with all of the support and amazing leadership available at Soma, many of their missional communities seem to take a couple of years to really begin to mature. I love that there is an amazing simplicity in all that they do that constantly brings people back to Jesus. All of the structure and planning is meant to serve a life and a community focused around Jesus. We can do this!