I like the concept of NieuCommunities because it’s a practical attempt to shift paradigms in cross-cultural mission from a “missionary” to a “missional” perspective.
Here’s a description of Nieu Communities from their material:
“NieuCommunities is a 42-week experience designed to help shape leaders to live-out a deep and contagious spirituality. Each year 8-12 participants join the staff at one of our sites to form a community of 12-20 sojourners who will do life and mission together for the year. They pursue God relentlessly, they allow their faith and character to be shaped in the crucible of community, they submerge into the culture around them and they learn what it takes to create communities of faith where they didn’t exist before.”
Basically, NieuCommunities uses a missional community format, along with a missional community’s values of spiritual formation, authentic community, and embedded mission, as a training program for those desiring to participate in and eventually establish missional communities.
I especially appreciate the attempt to use missional community in the context of cross cultural mission. Until now, if someone identified a personal calling to cross-cultural mission in their life, they usually pursued that call individually as a missionary, sent by a local church or a mission agency. Or, if they preferred a team-approach to ministry, they usually joined a short-term mission team, which only lasted several weeks. (There are also recent explorations of missionary networks within a country.)
NieuCommunities merges the cross-cultural calling with the missional community concept. This approach reminds me of something Chris Erdman talked about — forming missional communities that actually “explain the gospel” by the way they live.
In my opinion, this requires both a change in theology as well as a change in the practical approach. And it seems NieuCommunities is giving it a shot.
So if you are (or you know of someone who is) desiring to be trained in how to participate and develop a missional community, especially if you want to explore a cross-cultural call, then you might want to check out NieuCommunities.
ChrisTiana is in charge of setting up Road Trips. These are one- to two- week trips to one of the established NieuCommunities around the world. It will give you a chance to see the program firsthand and catch their vision.
If you’re interested, go here. There is a Road Trip to Glasgow, Scotland in October 2005 and several to either Vancouver, BC or Pretoria, South Africa or Glasgow Scotland in 2006. You can contact ChrisTiana for info at either 1-800-777-6658 ext. 142 or firstname.lastname@example.org.