Mark Dever suggests fewer programs in the church will make more time for real ministry. Other people might counter that more programs mean structured contact with more people -- it really happens.
What is your experience? Please comment in one of more of these areas, if you wish:
(1) Are a wealth of programs good for growing a church numerically, but counter-productive in matters of spiritual depth and actual discipleship?
(2) Are the many programs often the wrong programs, and would an improved direction help?
(3) Have you any experience with "free market" small groups, and do they really work? Does having a lot of programs translate to many hooks in the water to reach people? Does it do so often at the expense of burning people out or robbing them of quality family time?
(4) Are more relaxed, balanced people with social lives (in the community) more likely to do good that busy beavers staffing church programs?
Many people, I have found, are attracted to churches with a lot of programs and are not really all that into a "family" relational type of church fellowship. We are one of those "family" relational type of churches, and we do not even try to compete with the program-type churches.
Still, I think well-place programs (like AWANA) and plenty of low-key, low-pressure social activities help bind a church together and are good things. Programs that do not put a strain on people (from being over-committed) do seem to offer points of connection, IMO.
I think there is a BIG difference between what the church is supposed to be -- and its relational aspects -- and what people (esp. Christians) want. But maybe I have been gargling with vinegar instead of mouthwash? What about you?