Having an open door : missional flatting
On Saturday the 23rd of August Tertiary Students Christian Fellowship ran it’s first Missional Flatting workshop in New Zealand. Over four hours, 16 students from TSCF’S group at Massey University explored what a missional flat might look like with Michael Duncan who amongst other things, gives some of his time to the work of Tertiary Student Christian Fellowship.
A missional flat is simply a community of students living in a flat who intentionally seek to live out and speak about the good news of Jesus Christ to those on their street.
The workshop was broken into four sections. The first gave students a grounding in the theology of missional flatting. The second section moved into clarifying the purpose of a missional flat. We talked through how to identify the right kind of flat mates. And finally the group processed how to cut covenant with each other by agreeing on shared habits, values and standards within the flat.
The group enjoyed learning about the outward practices of radical hospitality; inviting neighbours over for regular meals, having an “open door”. We dreamed of what a flat would look like that practised counter-cultural generosity with one another and those on the street.
We also delved into the inward practices of prayer and personal devotions, and a workshop like this would not have been complete without a discussion on the real possibility of failure and suffering.
Sharon Page a 3rd year Massey student reports, “missional flatting has made my life more purposeful and undivided. I am supported by my flatmates in mission, through prayer and action, and have been spurred on to continually have God at the centre of all I do and to live out my faith daily.”
Student feedback on the workshop has been exciting: “very helpful”, “awesome”. Many students are now keen to establish a missional flat.
Mark Grace, TSCF Manawatu-based staffworker and organiser of the event, makes the comment, “throughout New Zealand students from TSCF groups are living in mission-minded flats. In Dunedin and Palmerston North students live intentionally in lower socio-economic area’s with a desire to serve those around them. In Wellington, TSCF’s International Christian Fellowship base a lot of mission out of flat communities. In Christchurch ex TSCF staff have a community housing project. We wanted to support these initiatives while helping start new missional flats.
“The dream is to see a network of missional flats established around the country. Our hope is these flats will do street barbecues, Christmas and Easter activities on their street, while at the same time inviting the residents of the street to meals and creating a community life where it would be natural to hear about Jesus and be invited to explore more about his invitation to Life.”
What’s next for the Missional Flatting initiative? Michael Duncan is hoping to speak on the topic around New Zealand. TSCF is exploring putting together a small booklet using his material.
Mark Grace is a TSCF Manawatu-based staffworker