"It is impossible to be a missional church if we fail to be missional people. Otherwise, missionality is reduced to sponsored programs that centralize the life of the body of Christ, institutionalizing and containing it in church systems and programs that view mission as something that happens 'over there' or at special events."
The missional crowd, which I include myself in, is quick to decry "programs" as being the solution to being missional. To this I say there is a lot of truth. What is a program? I suppose that there is no official definition, but to me a program: 1) tends to be large; 2) therefore needing administration; 3) therefore often leading to a lack of relational connection; 4) often deemed to be more important than people (the program must go on); and 5) often kept on life support long after the original visionary and passionate people behind the original ministry have long since been gone.
In reference to the above quote, the authors are pointing to a program also as something that happens artificially or outside of everyday life.
To this I would say that having something large and organized is not necessarily bad, though it is awfully easy to lose the relational connections in large programs. And since I believe that people come to Christ primarily through relationships, I am on the lookout for this problem. Our food pantry, for instance, if it continues to grow, will be in danger of losing the relational and prayer components to it as the long lines pressure us to spend less time with each person. Administration of this ministry could, however, be used to ensure that the relational component remains by scheduling enough people to be there to pray and spend individual time with people.
The corporate witness of the church through ministries is essential. Jesus said to his disciples, "You "plural" are the light of the world" (Mt. 5:!4). It is necessary to overcome negative stereotypes about churches. It can provide concentration and a magnified effect. Because, for instance, our church collectively has adopted an elementary school, we are able to reach more people than if a single individual just served at the school. A few of the missional crowd has gone overboard and is almost against a corporate witness of the church, which is not a helpful (or biblical) attitude.
However, there is no doubt that both individuals and families must engage in daily mission. The Think Orange people rightly point out that children spend an average of 40 hours per week with a church, but over 3000 teachable hours a week with their families. If we do not train people to engage in mission then, then being missional can tend towards mere program.
And then, even beyond families is the individual responsibility and opportunity for mission. Most people, because of work, live most of their lives away from both collective church and their families. If we do not train people to be missional there, we again have lost huge opportunities to reach people for Christ.
What role do you see the church, families, and individuals as having in regards to being missional?