Sometimes, people are led to start a missional community through, what most of us would call, the spectacular. They have a dream, and outrageous steps of circumstances, or hear the voice of God. This does happen. We see it through the Bible. Abraham, Moses, and Paul are the big examples. They were simply walking through life (or running from God), when everything was interrupted and their future was certain. Moses left the burning bush knowing how he would spend the rest of his days: leading God’s people into freedom and peace. A blinded Paul made his way to Damascus knowing he would spend his life proclaiming the gospel throughout Europe. Abraham left Ur following God with the hope of being a father to a family that would bless the whole world. The key word here is sometimes. A burning bush is not a “calling” requirement. Here are three more typical circumstances God uses to call us into leadership.

Out of Conviction for a People to be Reach with the Gospel

Many times, people cannot help but start a missional community because of the burden for a people to hear and experience the gospel. After months or years of not being able to imagine anything else, they begin to invite others to into a community on mission to the people they are called to.

What could this look like?

A couple has several friends and neighbors who want to explore the gospel further, and so the couple forms a community for them to encounter the gospel in community.

A person is so moved to share the gospel—through word and deed—to women at-risk or coming out of sex trafficking, that they invite others to start a missional community to do that together.

Several families are so compelled to be a picture of the gospel in their neighborhood they leave their missional community to start a new one with and for their neighbors.

Out of Conviction for a People to be Shepherd in the Gospel

Similarly, many leaders start and lead missional communities out of a conviction to help others grow. They simply have a burden to see their friends complete in Christ, walking in their identity and understanding the gospel fully. These leaders take up the call for leadership out of an “oughtness” to care and lead others into spiritual health. 

Out of Necessity: Someone Must Lead

Lastly, people find themselves leading because they are natural servant-leaders. We’ve seen this happen often. As a missional community multiplies or as the current leaders experience major life-change, a leadership void exists requiring someone to step into it. What we regularly find, however, is those new leaders grow in their calling and conviction as time goes. They continue to a lead a missional community out of a love for the mission and the community.

Brad A. Watson serves as a pastor of Bread&Wine Communities in Portland, Oregon where he develops, coaches, and trains leaders to form communities that love God and serve the city. Brad is passionate about helping people live lives that reflect their belief and hope in Jesus. He lives in southeast Portland with his wife and their three kids.