The Faith of Leap – Communitas

Leap-COMMUNITASBy Kim Shockley

Since this is the fourth blog in a series, let me remind you of where we’ve been.  The Faith of Leap by Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch has had a significant impact on me this summer. I read the book as a text for the Academy for Missional Wisdom, but as God’s timing often works, it has value in my work as a Church Vitality Strategist (CVS).  The three elements that make faithful leaping happen are liminality, being in that in-between place that causes anxiety and a sense of crisis; adventure, that takes courage to leap beyond our need for security; and finally, communitas, what the authors call the development of holy community.

How many of you have experienced a short term mission project?  You probably experienced all the elements of the faith of leap.  There was the project itself – probably meeting a very specific need that was the result of catastrophe or poverty (liminal); there was the adventure of preparing, fund-raising, travel – perhaps with people you didn’t know very well; then there was the thing that happened to you all as a group – a uniting for a specific purpose – communitas.  As a group of people you became more than you were before you went.  And when you came home the people who are part of your regular life just didn’t get your experience, they weren’t part of that “thing” that happened to you.  Perhaps it was hard to maintain contact with the people on the mission trip, and over time that “thing” you felt together faded.  But you know what communitas feels like – you did experience it.

Frost and Hirsch state very clearly that the potential for communitas lies dormant in each church.  “All it takes is a little adventure to activate it in order for them to once again become the revolutionary movement that God intended for the world.”

As a CVS, much of what I’ve been doing with local churches is helping them to define clarity of purpose and mission.  A big part of that work is remembering WHY they exist.  Why did God through Jesus create a community that could change the world?  What is our piece of that creativity?  How do we need to behave in order for this to become a reality?  These questions can lead to developing communitas within the local church as each person finds their role within the adventure.  When I ask a group of Christian people – wouldn’t it be great to be part of a church where each person knew how God wants to use them for God’s purposes? – the room lights up.  People want communitas, they want to be part of an adventure that will grow God’s Kingdom.

It’s time to be bold, to be courageous, and to remember that DO NOT BE AFRAID is a biblical command!