CENTENNIAL, CO – Communitas International has been described as “a global missional movement focused on secular, “post-Christian,” and mostly urban communities.”
The Mission Field
When we think of the unreached, our minds gravitate toward a history of sending Christian missionaries to foreign countries where the people had never heard about Jesus and His great grace. However, the global cultural landscape has changed so significantly that at least two major changes have been necessitated in the Christian missionary movement.
- Many emerging countries adopted nationalistic agendas intended to preserve their cultural heritage. Sometimes these countries have closed their borders to Christian missionaries. There was, as it were, a Revolution in World Missions in the late 1970s and the years that followed. This movement promoted the training and empowering of Christians to minister to the people of their own language and culture within their own countries. It is still one of the most successful templates for spreading the Gospel in places where it has never been heard.
- During the same time period, many countries where Christianity had once thrived began drifting away from churches and Bible teaching. This is particularly true of Europe and now, North America. The countries from which Christianity was once spread have entered into secular post-Christian cultures. These are the people upon whom Communitas International has focused its ministry.
The Mission of Communitas International
The Communitas International vision statement is, “Transformed Lives. Transformed Neighborhoods. Transformed World.”
Their mission is to “start and shape communities faith that love like Jesus in their neighborhoods, so that people may come to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ that will transform them into a new being, and they can share their transformation with their neighbors and also the world.”
The Methodology of Communitas International
The Communitas website defines dynamics that are applied in every missional effort. According to their website, those dynamics are,
- Incarnation. Embed and Initiate by listening to how God is moving, learning the local context, and taking the first small steps with God’s invitation.
- Expansion within the Context. Practicing and Maturing builds on what was started. Forming disciples and reinforcing our identity in Christ to transform lives. Meeting together regularly as a church.
- Extension. Hub and Extend propels people outward, reaching surrounding neighborhoods, cities, and countries. This is when churches multiply.
The dynamics are always the same, but the context is usually different because each country, each community, and each individual is unique. Those differences mean that the expression of a church can look very different depending on the context.
Communitas International’s leadership reminds us that maintaining the ministry dynamics within the cultural context “is far more art than science, more fluid than static, and more messy than one can imagine.”
Today, Communitas staff is comprised of 200 ordinary people. Nearly half are internationals from 20 different countries who are willing to be transformed so the Lord can use them to transform others. Those people are currently at work in nearly 50 church planting projects in 60 cities across Europe and the Americas.
It is all possible because the Lord delights in taking normal people and giving them an extraordinary purpose.