Attractional vs. Missional

Lots of ink spilled on this lately.

The simple version…

Come is not the same as go.

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14 thoughts on “Attractional vs. Missional

  1. Yes, but I don’t think its coming vs going. Its coming and going. Those who would choose only one, either one, make the same two mistakes: (1) defining (2) for others how they will fulfill the mandate of Christ. Much better to ask, “Father, what would you have me do today?” I suspect that anything more than this is a step towards personal kingdom building. Our culture of success pushes us to embrace a cause with narrow scope and vision but Father calls us to embrace Jesus where the possibilities are endless. “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

    The question of coming and going is not first and foremost a church question, its a personal question. When Jesus says go, you go. When Jesus says come, you come. When the church you’re affiliated with says “get with our program”, you can say ” get behind me….”

  2. I agree with David, it is both/and and that is a tension many do not want to live in. So much of Kingdom living is in the tension that doesn’t have to be resolved on one end or the other…it’s learning to be okay with both/and that is challenging.
    BTW – Grace cant you be anonymous on FB?

  3. I agree with the flavor or response here. Gathering is as important as going. Using the old ‘football’ analogy, “The game won’t last long if the team fails to huddle at the downs.”

    The team just needs to realize that the game doesn’t take place in the huddle.

  4. The attractional (come) aspect of missional engagement has it’s place. An honest look will generally show that most missional churches who would strongly advocate “go” have an aspect of attractional methodology. And I think that is fine and necessary.

    Where I differ, perhaps, with what David & Rose is about centrality. While I affirm the place for attractional aspects to missionality, they must be handled with great caution and never primarily. In fact, it should not represent even half of the focus of our missional engagement. To go into the world, to seek out people, to put aside our right to be in our context and enter into that of the other, is a central and essential theme in God’s missiology for us (in fact, it is a central aspect of His character).

    Yes, each of us as individuals and as communities must seek God in how we engage our world missionally. However, God has spoken and led through His Word quite clearly and, to me, it seems very clear that going is His primary method. It should be ours too.

    Peace,
    Jamie

  5. David,
    For the individual, yes there is both coming and going, however I believe our understanding of sentness does matter in the corporate expression of who we are as the church.

    Bill,
    I liked the expression of the Ringo picture.

    Rose,
    While I believe there are aspects of both to the nature of a community, I also believe that there is a choice of which stance will be the core identity and purpose of our group.

    I recently signed up on Facebook IRL, but I’ve not pursued using it. I have 2 friends. I already wonder if that somehow by signing up I have opened a door to having my blog discovered. I could start an anonymous one (I noticed that BroMaynard has both), but I have yet to see the appeal of Facebook.

    ken,
    I totally agree, although I wouldn’t label gathering as “attractional”. We do need the time together to encourage one another to go out and play the game.

    jamie,
    I was going to write out a longer response here about attractional vs. missional, but you have expressed my thoughts better than I would have. Thank you.

    To everyone else who stops by…

    Let’s start with what I did say, before we move on to what I didn’t say. :)

    Can we agree that come is not the same as go?

    Come is not bad, go is not bad, they are just not the same.

    We could also likely agree that in regard to our stance to the world, we have been sent to go and make disciples. Yes?

    In the strictest sense of the word, attractional is the stance that people will come to our church or program in order to hear the gospel. It does not mean and is not the same as attractive, welcoming, inclusive, gathering, or hospitality.

    The attractional aspects of a missional community are a result of their sentness. For example, as a community commits themselves to mission in a specific context, they develop a public presence.

    This public presence is like sitting out on your front porch. It is an invitation and opportunity for relationship, inclusion, hospitality, and belonging. However, the ministry of presence is the result of the decision to be sent to dwell among a neighborhood or group of people. I believe that this is important.

    There is a polar difference in mentalities of engagement between attractional and missional. I also am not saying that attractional churches are not sincere or effective. However, I personally believe the church was sent to engage the world missionally.

  6. We have a church in our town called C2G. It stands for “come to go.” I like that.

    And… I didn’t used to like Facebook either, but I’m almost enjoying it more than blog-reading now. Let me know if you ever want to “be friends.” :)

  7. Grace, I post more on FB now than I do on my blog. it is a quick way to say things and to keep up with folks. I am sure you could set it up anonymously. I like it because even though it is public, it is also private in the sense you get to choose who can be your friend. I recently lost my father and wanted to post some but didn’t want to put it on my public blog because there are some folks I wouldn’t want to read my process. If you do start invite me to be your friend:)

  8. When did true ‘attractional’ church become popular? Was it with the ‘seeker’ model?

    Growing up in the 50s and 60s, church was church. It wasn’t intending to be attractional. It was assumed that most folks were either familied in a church, or were looking for a church if they happened to move away from the proximity of the family church. Even if they rarely attended – they were ‘membered’.

    Eventually a generation dirfted away and decided church wasn’t all that important. Parents were fraught and heart-broken … to no avail. Then these strange ‘seeker churches’ arrived on the scene. They were usually lead by a high-powered, charismatic CEO type personality. Parents attending the family churches accused them of being all kinds of things, mostlyofn the shadowy cultish realm. But soon they were half-heartedly supportive – at least their kids were membered in a ‘church’. These churches adopted many of the slick marketing techniques that the culture used so effectively in the consumer-business world, and soon were burgeoning with the creative, high-tech, high energy crowds – and were becoming ‘mega’ … with mega-budgets. It was only a matter of time before the family churches began to take courses, buy books, attend seminars and purchase curriculum developed by the mega-seeker models, and the ‘cultish’ became the norm (except for the fundamentalists who would never ‘compromise’ the true faith).

    Nutshell … the culture drives the church structure, as I guess it should in a way. The current upcoming generation (the mosiacs) have now begun to reject the mega-seeker-high tech gatherings and seem attracted to a relational-altruistic-more intimate model. A perfect environment for the church to go organic-missional. But, true to the mosaic form, it won’t be the only model. Organic things tend to adjust to the influences, barriers, uncertainties, etc. of their environment, and our cultural environment is in chaotic turmoil at the moment. I think the church will become much more diverse in it’s structure for a generation or two before homoginizing into a new epoch. What that will look like is anybody’s guess.

    Or – I could be wrong. :)

  9. ken,
    Interesting summary, and I agree that we will begin to see multiple models of church as people begin experimenting with what church might be.

    paul and adam,
    In/out, come/go, seems pretty simple. :)

    dan and rose,
    I’ve considered adding blog friends to my real facebook. It is the blog that I would like to keep anonymous more than my identity. I’m not sure how I would explain all these people that none of my local friends know.

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