Together, they follow Jesus as His disciples, even if not every person may yet describe him/herself as a Christian (although the leaders will happily do so). There is no test in order to come; simply a desire to discover more about God, whatever someone’s journey has been up to that point. MCs aim to offer a grace-filled, non-judgmental welcome in the name of the Father. This is balanced by the belief that it is only as we submit our whole lives to Christ that we can experience forgiveness, transformation and real purpose in life.
Within MCs, people seek to share their lives with one another day-to-day, so that this overflows into their formal meetings, rather than being solely expressed there. The relationships in MCs have to blend into ‘normal life’, or else they become yet another thing to clog up our schedules. Structures, such as formal meetings, do not create life, but they can be helpful in sustaining it. The Lord told the Israelites to build a tabernacle that was flexible and easy to move, so that it could go easily with them on their journey. Missional Communities take the same view towards their structures, with the function being more important than the form.
The group balances its energies between an UPward movement towards God, an INward movement towards the MC as a place of identity and an OUTward movement to represent Christ to their mission context. When they gather, they express this in creative ways that are appropriate to their context. There will be great diversity between groups in how this looks, with a variety of faces and voices being given room to step forward and contribute what they can. The only rule is that they do not try to do a miniature version of a Sunday church service!
MCs recognize that their measure of success will, above all, be the stories of lives transformed, of the wider community being impacted and reached for Christ, of people being drawn closer to their Heavenly Father. Such change happens in community rather than in isolation, since every aspect occurs with the love, challenge and impetus of others, as everyone tries to live with one another as Jesus would.
From Breen, Mike; Alex Absalom (2010-11-11). Launching Missional Communities (Kindle Locations 3007-3025). 3DM. Kindle Edition.
Crossroads' community groups are similar to what others call missional communities. Watch a more story-driven explanation of this way of being the church.