Our churches can have wonderfully written missional vision statements and well-conceived plans and programs. But if individual members are not committed to living their lives as kingdom-minded missionaries in their daily life stations, the corporate efforts of the church as a whole will never sniff the air of their true kingdom potential.
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.
One evening I was driving home from a planning meeting at our church offices, where we had just scheduled a servant-kindness project. By that point we had done dozens of such projects, but this time something hit me as strange and unnatural about this. It just felt somewhat contrived and artificial. I had to admit to myself that I was about 50 percent friendlier to strangers during these special events than I was the rest of the time. I realized I was clocking in for the “good works” hour and clocking out when it was over. I thought to myself, “Rather than training our people to do kindness and generosity for a couple of hours, why don’t we train them to be kind and generous…all the time?”
Serving events can be great primers and training camps for developing and sharpening the missional heart, but these alone will fail to develop full-fledged missional movements in our fellowships. Churches that organize themselves in a missional orientation view mission as something that happens right here and right now through all members of the church all of the time. There is a huge difference in a church organizing itself around church services, sermons, and great worship events over and over and a church that takes up its position and mandate as a missionary for its culture. This has nothing to do with church size; mega church, medium size, or a smaller church.