Last week, we discussed 4 monthly rhythms that we have been talking about developing and that V3 has affirmed as important practices of a missional community like ours. These practices are built on the life and rhythms of Jesus' ministry, particularly in how Jesus made disciples.
If you look at Jesus' three year journey of discipleship, you'll notice that he had relationships with thousands of people, but at varying levels of intensity. There were Peter, James, and John whom he was most invested in. Then there were "the Twelve," the 72 disciples, and the masses. These four circles of influence mattered. It wasn't by accident that Jesus organized his relationships this way. Below are the four "spaces" we are creating in ECHO and how we hope to develop strong rhythms within each:
#1: The Intimate Space.
This is the smallest circle of relationships, typically 3-4 people of the same gender. When these people come together, they spend time doing three things: Scripture Reading, Accountability, and Prayer. This is where the most intense disciple-making happens, and where spiritual growth is most obvious. We call these groups "ECHO Groups" in our environment because these Eat together, Connect to Scripture, Hear from each other, and Open up to God.
#2: The Equipping Space.
Also known as the "Personal Space," the Equipping Space is typically 6-12 people of mixed gender. These people gather under the leader of their ECHO Community (a.k.a. Family on Mission or missional community) for encouragement, training, and planning for future activities. This is the space where leaders are dynamically discovered and the vision of the individual ECHO Community is clarity.
#3: The Social Space.
This is a party-like environment that focuses on the ongoing directions of UP (to God), IN (God's Family), and OUT (God's Mission). It's a space where spiritual onlookers can "test drive" the family of God by joining in vital missional activities. Typically a gathering of 15-40 people, the social space alternates between Up and Out weeks while the "In" focus is always present through community building and meals. The Up weeks focus on building community around worship, devotion, and prayer, while the Out weeks focus on building community around out(reach) and out(serve) events targeting a specific mission field or people group.
#4: The Public Space.
This is the largest environment, typically with 40 or more people, and is what most churches refer to as their weekly worship gathering. It's the space where the people of God come together to celebrate what God is doing in the ECHO Community. In ECHO's vision of becoming a network of communities, this is the space where ALL ECHO Communities come together for mutual encouragement, celebration, and vision-casting.
In our current phase of ECHO, we are placing a higher priority on developing the first three spaces to a strong level of maturity, while incubating additional ECHO Communities. Once we have "multiplied" and have multiple ECHO Communities, we will be able to turn our attention to developing a regular worship gathering (Public Space).
Please pray for us as we invest the time, energy, and attention necessary into growing as a family on mission. We believe God is up to some big stuff!