The Narrative Questions… love ‘em, hate ‘em, don’t like ‘em, don’t get ‘em, don’...
It’s been great to work with a number of our ECO presbyteries who are incorporating MAG experiences into their presbytery gatherings. I’ve been asked by a couple of folks how to keep the momentum going, so I wanted to share a few steps. These don’t have to be done in order (except I always think prayer is the best place to start).
Mission Affinity Groups aren’t just another thing we HAVE to do in ECO, but they are a way we engage in the covenantal accountability of our life together. If it seems daunting or you need direction or things aren’t happening the way you want, then I would encourage you to pray about it. Seek the Lord’s guidance and wisdom. You know, He never lets us down!
2. GET A GROUP.
During presbytery meetings, I’ve seen some great relationships develop which has jump started a MAG. Take, for example, the group that came together at the recent Presbytery of the South gathering. Churches from Alabama and Mississippi set a date in February 2019 for a meet up and even named their group the “Ala-ssippi” MAG. If you still haven’t gotten connected in a MAG, I would encourage you to talk to the chair of your presbytery’s MPT and ask for guidance.
3. MEET UP.
Once your group has come together, set a time, date and location to meet. Once the meeting is set, it is as if you’ve set a stake in the ground and set a goal. Some MAGs take advantage of other ECO gatherings to meet. They will come early or stay late after the National Gathering or at a presbytery gathering. Other MAGs have chosen to find a separate date and time to gather. Some MAGs have chosen to meet on a Saturday while others have gathered after worship on Sunday afternoon. Other groups have come together over a Friday night / Saturday day retreat like meeting. Regardless of the format, get a date set on the calendar.
4. ANSWER THE NQs.
The Narrative Questions (NQs) have provided a lot of discussion since ECO’s beginning. One of the joys of being in ECO is the flexibility we have to carry out the mission and ministry God has called us to fulfill. Hopefully, you saw Dana Allin’s October newsletter article which highlighted the three Narrative Questions we’re encouraging ECO sessions to use. They are:
a. Where have we seen our church flourish in the last year?
b. What needs to be changed, added or improved in order for our ministry to flourish?
c. What Flourishing Next Step can we take to thrive?
Take some time when the session of your church gathers to prayerfully explore the answers to these questions together. Also, if you have any questions about the resources ECO offers to help you take your Flourishing Next Step, reach out to Kim Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
5. PLAN THE AGENDA.
We have a number of agendas listed on the ECO website that may help you with putting your MAG meeting together. Check out the Ministry Resources>MAGs & PCGs tab. Also, feel free to be creative about how you use the NQs. Their purpose is to help tell the story of what God is doing in your midst and to share that story with others. Consider what your gathered time will look like. How will you pray, worship, share and care for each other in your MAG time together? If you need any help working out an agenda, please feel free to give me a call! (My contact info is email@example.com or (256) 684-1012.)
Finally, a word of encouragement…one which some of you have already heard me say. If we want our ECO movement to have integrity, we ought to do what we said we were going to do. I appreciate my friend, James Harper, making that statement during our 2018 National Gathering breakout session. Those who have engaged in MAG work together have found it to be a fruitful, engaging experience. So, just think of all that you’re missing out on if you haven’t experienced a MAG! Why wait? Get started today – and let me know if I can help you in any way!!