The Attractive Church Theory
I’ve spent more than half of my lifetime working in, for, and with churches. I know I haven’t seen and heard it all; but some days it sure feels like it. I have always been one to not jump on to buzz words, especially in the church world – because they either tend to show up too late, hang on too long, or have so many meanings that no one is ever having the same conversation anyway. If you’ve been around this you know what I mean – if you haven’t, raise a glass in thankfulness – your mind is likely more clear than mine.
The latest Celebrity Death Match in the world of church terminology is Attractional & Missional. By chance you’ve not lived in a cave the past few years, you know that one of the statements you cannot avoid is “We are no longer in an ‘either – or’, but a ‘both – and’ time in history”. Simply put, we must collaborate to move forward in a healthy and sustainable way.
If you want to read more about Attractional & Missional or Attractional vs. Missional – talk to Google and knock yourself out. I just wanted to share my observation and working theory based on the ongoing discussions and at times – down-right-arguments that are happening.
The Attractive Church
- Those who call themselves ‘missional’ tend to emphasize mission and downplay ‘attractional’ and claim to be focused on the person and not the numbers – and have been known to talk smack about those who go for the ‘big event’ approach
- Those who call themselves ‘attractional’ tend to emphasize the drawing of people in a larger numbers at a time and have been known to talk some smack about those who don’t try to go for bigger numbers.
My working theory is:
- Attractional Churches cannot become big without being ‘on mission’ – therefore we would not even be talking about them if they were not missional – because if they were not ‘on mission’ they would have no one at their churches and we would not be having this discussion.
- Missional Churches may be on mission by definition but I’d like to propose that it is absolutely impossible for them to accomplish the mission of the church without being attractional – meaning the people are drawn to know what moves & motivates their mission.
Jesus told us the “by this will all men know that you’re mine – that you love one another” – and “we are to reflect Him”. When we are like Him, reflect Him, and doing what we can to be Him on this earth – We are on Mission and that is Attractive. Therefore I propose –
THE ATTRACTIVE CHURCH: a church on mission to be attractive; being who God wants us to be – and doing what He has asked us to do by drawing attention on Him and not us.
Let the honest conversation begin…………………….
Pictures simply represent (1) old church used by younger generations, (2) mega-church utilizing facility to reach masses, (3) openness to cram into a bar / nightclub and embrace re-use & mixed-use, and (4) the understanding that we are the church whether in a cathedral, a stadium, a bar, or simply on a couch in a home.