… it is worth remembering that the first effect of Christian expansion is not the production of saved or enlightened individuals, but of congregations. unless it be the Ethiopian eunuch (and even he must have had some institutional form of worship of the God of Israel back home, or what motivated his journey?), it is doubtful whether the New Testament provides a single example of an individual convert, a “saved individual,” left to plough his lonely furrow without family or congregation. the influence of Jesus not only produces group response; it works by means of groups and is expressed in groups. The influence of Jesus, that is, operates in terms of social relations. (The Cross-cultural Process in Christian History p.10)
Well, I said it speaks for itself, but you want your money’s worth from this blog post, so let me add a couple of comments.
The current trends for church planting and “people movements” are nothing new. Successful mission work has always been about groups of people and not isolated individuals.
However, while we’ve got the idea that the outcome of mission work is a group of Christians (however, you wish to term that), we are still pretty much hooked on the dogma of the individual missionary with their individual call from God, rather than seeing mission as a corporate responsibility.