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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Attractional vs. Missional

This debate between attractional churches and missional churches is already getting old. However, I think the debate can be healthy in stretching us to see the value of both points of view. Attractional model churches tend to put lots of resources (energy, money, people, space) into the weekend worship services in hopes of "attracting" growing numbers of people to their dazzling services. Missional model churches, mostly in reaction to the attractional model, tend to put lots of resources (energy, money, people, space) into more missional aims like a food pantry, homeless shelter, recovery groups, community service projects, etc. While decisions will surface that force churches to decide whether they will be missional or attractional, I'm not sure why churches can't be both in most cases.

I would describe the church I presently serve as a primarily missional church. We put lots of our resources into serving the neediest people in our community. When we're faced with the choice of upgrading our audio/visual set-up for the worship service or paying someone's electric bill so their kids won't freeze, we go with the latter. Oddly enough, this missional mindset has actually attracted people to our weekend services. You see, missional is attractional. A church that goes after attracting people may neglect mission to those people, but if mission is put first it will inevitably attract people into the church community.

What am I saying? I'm saying that if a church makes mission to the community its passionate priority, that church will attract more and more people to its weekend services. And, those weekend services should be engaging enough to connect those people to Christ when they attend. The church I serve has nearly doubled in size in the past 18 months. People are asking us what our secret is. My answer? First, God has decided to show up in a profound way among us. Second, we are always finding creative ways to go out missionally to our community and meet the real needs of real people in the name of the real Jesus. Thus, our weekend services continue to attract a growing number of people.

What do you think? Can a church be both missional and attractional?


Anonymous said...

I agree that missional is attractional. I'd even go so far as to say that without mission a church is unattractive, and just wasting time. As followers of Christ individually and corporately we are called to live purposeful lives. Besides Christ was missional, it was his love for others, healing, etc. that attracted people to Him. It only fits that His church should be the same.

Lenny Luchetti said...

Thanks for your insight. I agree that the "Jesus life" is quite attractive. However, there are churches without a Christ-congruent mission that still find a way to attract many people to their churches. Entertainment, unfortunately, is equally or more attractive to some church seekers than mission. Agree? I wish it were true that people were repelled by anything that wasn't missional, but that, in my estimation, is not the case.

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