5. Both Missional and Simple are people-focused, not program-focused.
Instead of utilizing people and resources to keep church programs functioning, missional leaders view their programs and resources as tools for people to encounter the grace of God. The goal is people, not program. They view their resources as tools for people’s lives to be transformed, and they train their members to think this way.
This is densely packed. There are two parts. First, we have to eliminate the idea that our job is to keep the programs running. Second, we have to replace many programs — most programs — with a change in the hearts of our members: they see their own resources as missional. It’s not just the church’s job. It’s theirs. And it’s their passion.It’s not easy in an established church to kill any program. They all have constituencies and nearly all do some good. So it’s better, I think, to try to change hearts first and then transition into a simpler program structure.
Such Christians are trained to view their wallets as their missional budget, so that as they move through their daily paces, they are openly and consciously looking to respond to needs and opportunities. Missional focus is not just about monetary resources and responses either. Kindness, mercy, gentleness, and joy are viewed as fruit to be shared daily as disciples move in and out of restaurants, offices, and stores.
Now, if we can get our members to have hearts like this, they’ll be delighted when we relieve them of programs that actually interfere with their true passions.
Is it easy? No. Has my own church accomplished this? No — but we’re on the right path. Or at least we’re looking for the path.
But it’s already taken years, and it’s going to take years more. We can already see fruit being borne — more from changed hearts than from reduced programs. But we’re getting there.