Todd Engstrom on Austin Stone’s Missional Move (part 3)

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Todd Engstrom is the Pastor of Missional Communities at Austin Stone and this is part three of a three part interview.  You can read part one right here.

Anything you’d do differently if you could do it over?

Many things!  Honestly, we would strive very hard to make the gospel the centerpiece and motivation for the community and its mission.  We definitely had a compelling vision, but often assumed the gospel in the midst of motivating people toward it.  We’d be really careful to be explicit with that in the future.  On the pragmatic end, there are too many to list.  One specifically that we would do differently would be share stories of both success AND failures, and be careful to share stories from a variety of contexts.  The stories you tell will shape the practices of your church powerfully.

What would you say to the folks considering this move themselves?

First, I would say pray: examine your heart and test your motives.  This transition will be difficult and shouldn’t be taken lightly.  We’ve spent the last four years working tirelessly to build this DNA of missional community into the very fabric of our church, and we’ve still got a ways to go.  To cultivate disciples of Jesus who live as a community on mission is not something a mere change in program will accomplish, but requires a ton of digging into the soil of peoples’ lives.

As you begin preparing for the transition, it is important to cast clear vision with clear goals, to effectively communicate the who, what, where, when, and why of this change. You will also need to be patient and flexible, as this will be a process.  Finally, be ready to celebrate wins frequently and tell stories of both success AND failure.

I would also encourage folks to take advantage of the many resources available for people considering this shift, as there are many churches who are seeking to work this out in a variety of contexts.  We are putting together a coaching cohort for churches considering the transition in the near future, and you can email me for more details if you’re interested in pursuing this avenue.

What have been the main sources of inspiration for this development at the Stone?  What books have you been reading?  Speakers you’ve found helpful?

This would be an incredibly long list for us if we talked through every person who has contributed to the DNA of missional communities at The Stone, so I’ll just highlight a few.

Books that have been helpful on the popular level include:

As for people we interact with, we’ve been learning from regarding missional communities:

Thanks Todd for providing so much great insight into the missional community concept!


The Verge Network

The Austin Stone launched the Verge Network to feature resources from and for the missional community world.  They’d love to see any and all of you join them for the Verge Conference in 2012 in Austin, TX!

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