I’m in Lawrence, can I start one or join a micro-church there?
Absolutely! We have a number of folks who live in Lawrence and are called to Lawrence. Our hope is that enough micro-churches will reproduce in Lawrence for a Hub to begin there. We’ve already developed micro-church leaders remotely, even in other countries, with great success. Jump in with the Core Group and we will equip you to begin the work in Lawrence.
Will we still attend Westside Family Church on Sundays during the Core Group Period?
Of course folks can attend services at Westside during the Core Group period! Our Core Group meetings will likely be from 4:00-5:30pm on Sundays. That would overlap with the current 5:00pm service, so that would be the only option removed for Core Group members. (While we are currently proposing this time, the actual time of our gathering will be determined by many factors which may affect Sunday morning gatherings at Westside as well. We are actively working to secure location and times for our core gathering and will communicate it as quickly as possible.)
How does Westside play in to this? Do I have to do one or the other (Westside or the KC Underground)?
Westside Family Church has been incredibly supportive of the launch of the KC Underground. They have provided us with permission to invite folks to our Core Team, they’ve hosted our information meetings, and even provided some startup capital. Westside is a Kingdom-minded church! We intend to carry on that legacy and further extend it through the KC Underground. As mentioned in the previous question, folks can attend the Core Group and a weekend services at Westside. But, full disclosure, the Core Group commitment is very high, so full engagement at Westside (groups, volunteering, attending weekend services, etc.) and full engagement in the KC Underground Core Group would not be a sustainable rhythm long-term. People will have to pick a primary.
We just want people to do what Jesus has called them to do. If Jesus calls you to the KC Underground Core Group, it’s an all-in commitment. If Jesus calls someone to stay at Westside, we are all for you and we are cheering Westside on.
One last thought, there are places of potential overlap where a particular group someone is leading via Westside could be a micro-church within the KC Underground movement. We’d love to explore that possibility with you. Let’s talk.
What are some resources that have shaped the KC Underground Team?
We asked our leadership team to send in a few of the books they would rank as most important to them. We thought we would list them all here so you can check out anything you like. This list is not exhaustive for us as we are constantly reading and gathering new resources. These are just a few. We think the first six are a good starting point and cover several different angles. Each book is linked to Amazon.
Must one give up all other life for the movement?
The answer is no.
We believe Jesus has called and sent each of his followers to specific spheres of society or corners of culture. If we give up those places, we are not being very good or effective missionaries. Rather, we want to equip everyone on first making a paradigm shift to seeing all of life as mission. Where has Jesus sent you, where is he already at work, and how can you join him? We would rather you look at your life and discover how to live with greater gospel intentionality. We would rather you aim for a greater level of integration where “ministry” and “everyday life” just overlap, as opposed to giving up all other life.
There is a certain amount of saying “no” to some of the things in your life that you are currently doing that are pulling you away from mission. Many of us live with very little margin which prevents us from being good & effective missionaries. To say it again from another angle, when we live with margin, we can be more readily available to hear the call of God, at upon opportunities when they arise, and reach those around us for Jesus.
We will help you do both. We want to help everyone in the Underground learn how to live like Jesus, with a greater sense of margin and healthy rhythms of work and rest. And we will help you understand where Jesus has called you, where he’s at work in your life and how to join him on mission there.
How will we preserve the integrity of the message, teaching or content in the micro-churches? Will there be a resources for the individual micro-churches to follow?
First of all, every micro-church leader will be coached consistently and continually by a seasoned, elder-level leader, who is caring for them and providing accountability. Secondly, all micro-church leaders will be equipped to lead meaningful times of study, discovery, and application of the Bible within their micro-church as they do life together. Furthermore, we’ve already developed numerous adaptable resources for micro-church leaders to use in their context. If or when we discover that a micro-church is drifting from a gospel-centric, creedal-faith, rooted in the Scriptures and the Lordship of Jesus, we will follow Paul’s example in the New Testament by addressing it quickly and directly. Most of the Epistles in the New Testament are Paul course-correcting a micro-church that was drifting toward a ditch in their orthodoxy or orthopraxy. He would address his concerns with visits, conversations, and letters. We will do the same. If people persist in a direction away from a generous orthodoxy (represented in The Apostles Creed and The Lausanne Covenant) we will release them from KC Underground.
Can you be involved in several micro-churches? (i.e. neighborhoods, work, AA, LGBT, etc.)
We would recommend investing deeply in one micro-church. Here’s why: Our culture has discipled us into an unhealthy way of organizing our relational world. Some of the key words that describe life and relationships in our culture are “scattered, busy, surface and temporary.” We’ve compartmentalized our different contexts or relational networks, so we end up running back and forth trying to maintain relationships in so many contexts. We’re like the entertaining plate spinners, moving from one relational network to the next, hoping we haven’t dropped anything sensitive or precious, or that we haven’t lost any relationships in the process.
We’re attempting to navigate our work relationships, church relationships, family relationships, the relationships we have with the kids activities or our hobbies, our neighborhood relationships and more! In the end, we are stretched between so many different relational networks that our relationships are thin. At best, we have just enough bandwidth to exist in each of these different contexts. At worst, we’re frustrated, burned out and exhausted.
The goal of a micro-church is to live deeply among one people group, one neighborhood, or one network. We do this because of Jesus’ example.
One of the unforced, rhythmic ways Jesus lived was in the integration of his relationship patterns. While Jesus dealt with lots of requests for his relational investment and massive demands (He was the Messiah! That’s a big job!), we can see when reading the gospels that Jesus’ relationship world is deep and wide. We can learn these ways. We can learn to live freely and lightly just as Jesus invites us. When we examine Jesus relational world, a sociological pattern emerges. We believe it’s sacred. A careful reading of the gospels will demonstrate that Jesus interacted with different sized groups of people at different times, for different purposes and to different depths.
Notice the circles of Jesus’ relational world. He announced and demonstrated the presence of the Kingdom of God with the crowds through his teaching, healing, and compassion. We see Jesus being followed by 72 followers, attending parties, weddings, and other social events. Eventually, he sent the 72 out together on mission. Jesus also called 12 and they followed Him around daily. Out of these 12, Jesus did have 3 that he was closest to - Peter, James, and John. Of course, at the very center of Jesus’ relational world was his Father. Jesus said, “My Father and I are one…I can only do what I see my Father doing.” No relationship mattered more to Him.
That divine space, with his Father, was where Jesus found His identity and destiny and shared everything. The intimate space with the three, was there they shared deep transparency, and found openness and intimacy. The 12 was His team, where there wasn’t the same level of transparency, but private information was shared, which provided support, challenge and closeness. The 72 were his tribe, his extended family on mission. We only share snapshots of ourselves at this level, but we find a sense of affinity, shared mission, and community. The crowds included 100s or 1000’s, they shared experiences and resources with Jesus – meals and miracles, information and inspiration.
The combination of the 1, 3, 12, and 72 are the making of our simple churches, extended spiritual families built around Jesus and his mission. The crowds include our intentional connection to the Hub of a larger, organized church.
If Jesus is the master at the art of living, then we must trust that his pattern for relationships is the best pattern. We don’t just need Jesus message, but his methods, as well.
WE NEED ALL FIVE RELATIONAL SPACES BAKED IN OVERTIME.
Every disciple needs all five spaces because each is conducive to nourishing a certain aspect of what it is to be a disciple, even a human being, fully alive. We’ll experience the full flourishing effect of community, when each social space is a normative part of our relational world. We must decide to follow Jesus into ALL these relational spaces. No one else can build these relational spaces for us.
THE MORE WE CAN OVERLAP THE CIRCLES, THE BETTER.
The more we can overlap the circles, the more cohesive and powerful our experience of community will be. If we try to develop our personal social space (12) in one relational network and our social space (72) in another, we’ll quickly find our relational world stretched too thin. The more our 3, 12, and 72 overlap in the neighborhood or network in which we live out the mission of Jesus, the more we’ll find we are actually doing life together like the early church.
That is why we would recommend investing deeply in one micro-church and the people that micro-church is called to.
However, know there will be many exceptions! For example, many micro-churches will work together so regularly that it will feel like being in both. For example, a micro-church made up of students from Mill Valley (being led by both students and adults leaders), might partner monthly with a micro-church that is engaged with the homeless population of Kansas City, by participating in a monthly project to serve the homeless. You can see that these kinds of possibilities are endless. We will constantly encourage that kind of networking and collaboration between the micro-churches.
Also, one of the discoveries from the Tampa Underground is that many people feel called to more than one thing. Brian Sanders shares the following in the book Underground Church,
In our case, we originally thought everyone would discern their calling, form or find a community that shared that calling, then pursue their life of mission together, contextualizing and learning as they went. That certainly has happened, but what we did not expect was that so many people would double dip in missions. Perhaps it represents a glitch in our limited definition of calling (one thing for life), or perhaps we underestimated the capacity of people’s hearts to care about more than one issue. Any way you slice it, we have come to see that many of our most committed people do not participate in just one micro-church; they are often involved in two and sometimes even three. Some of this cross-pollination is necessitated by collaboration.
Sometimes people choose to work in more than one mission because their calling is undeveloped; sometimes it is what they believe God has called them to do. For those still trying to figure out their calling and who they are, the options available for service in our interconnected micro-churches allow them to discern what they might be willing to give their life to.
In addition, some folks maybe in a season of life where they have the time, energy and margin to invest in more than one unreached pocket of people. Or they are in personal transition with a new job, a new neighborhood, the Lord puts a new group of people on your heart, etc. In that case, go for it! Although we would encourage each person to identify which mirco-church is your primary and which is your secondary, so you can invest accordingly.
What will prevent a “hub” from becoming a traditional church where people, independent of a micro-church begin attending?
Once we begin launching Hubs (collective congregations of micro-churches), the truth is that nothing will prevent people from attending who are not part of a micro-church. Nor do we want to prevent anyone from attending. We want to be a welcoming and open place for anyone and everyone at any point on their spiritual journey.
That said, we think the motivation behind the question might be, “Will the Hub foster an environment where people can ‘consume religious goods and services?’” That is, in the prevailing model of church, we have created a system where a few paid professionals have performed 70 - 80% of the ministry. And that ministry happens primarily in a weekend service where the options for joining include some form of serving the weekend experience. The other 20 – 30% of ministry happens mid-week in small groups or occasional serve projects. Even these environments have often led to only a few people outside of the staff that lead any form of ministry. That form of church has helped lead untold numbers to meet Jesus and grow in their faith. What that form of church has not done is release the people of God back into mission everyday where they live, work, learn and play.
We will always aim away from consumerism and towards equipping and empowering disciple-makers to be on mission back to their neighborhoods and networks of relationships at our hubs and hub gatherings. We will gear everything the happens at the Hub to equipping micro-churches on mission, and helping people discover their unique personal calling and connect with a micro-church on mission. Further, our hubs will be smaller and driven towards deeper relational connection. This is intended so that no one “gets lost in the crowd.” Our leadership has adopted this as part of our core DNA.