July 30, 2015 — by Claire Ripley


Coming Together: ECO Mission Affinity Groups

Return on Investment: We live in a world that measures the benefit of every investment by its performance and potential payoff. These are busy times for church leaders. While some may be hoping to squeeze in one more break this summer, most are ramping up to meet the demands of a hectic fall schedule. Commitments and calendars weigh heavy on our minds. Trying to plan an “extra” meeting where three or four sessions gather seems like an impossible task, which quite frankly may just not seem that valuable. Is being in a Missional Affinity Group really worth our time and effort?

Community Matters

Ironically, the pressure to measure our lives by ROI and other productivity standards of measurement are precisely why I believe MAGs are so important. Thank goodness that the church, by God’s design, is sustained by something far more powerful than human effort and ingenuity.[1] Operating as somewhat “solo” organizations may be one reason the church has lost its “saltiness” with the culture. While MAG agendas take on many forms, a few that have given rave results include the following:

MAGs come together to worship the triune God.

Those who meet in Missional Affinity Groups report how life-giving it is to gather in praise and adoration of our risen Lord. Our leaders are often surprised at how weary and thirsty they come, and how refreshed they leave after time spent together.

MAGs come together to be re-centered and re-aligned to the core mission Jesus gave us: to love God and love neighbor.

Individual church mission statements are on our church stationary, proudly posted on our websites and may even be on the tongues of our members. But these words in “black and white” become “living color” when church leaders come together to discuss how their mission is being lived out in the community that they serve.

MAGs meet to encourage, inspire and challenge each other to make disciples.

How specifically does the church equip members to re-think the way they interact with the culture? Few of our members may identify themselves as “missionaries” in their own everyday lives. But that is what we are. To live missionally is to encourage members to begin to see their relationships as a mission field. MAGs meet to creatively share how to be the “aroma of Christ”[2] to the hurting world in our own backyards. Is meeting in MAGs worth our time? I believe we can’t afford to be without them! May the Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” [3]


[1] Matthew 16:18

[2] 2 Corinthians 2:15

[3] 2 Thessalonians 2:16 


Claire Ripley

Claire Ripley is an Associate Pastor at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Spartanburg, SC. and is pursuing  a DMin at GordonConwell Theological Seminary. She currently serves as MAG Coordinator for the East Central Presbytery and is on the Theological Task Force.  

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