In a series of posts and sermons recently I have talked about the contrasting views of the nature of the church - the Conventional and the Biblical - the Institutional and the Mobile. One of the things I believe wholeheartedly is that the call of the Church begins with the call of the Christ-follower. As a follower and disciple of Jesus Christ I am called to "GO and make disciples" and I follow a Savior who came to "seek and to save those who are lost". But the church (especially these days) seems to be on a mission to figure out the most subversive, relevant, and creative ways to ATTRACT people. Let me just get straight to the point: How is this biblical? Can the Attractional Model and the Missional Model coexist? Or are they the epitome of strange bedfellows?
One example of this mindset is clearly stated in an article written by Thom Rainer for Outreach. You can read it HERE
Make no mistake, I have read much from Thom Rainer and and highly value his leadership and thoughts. But in this case, I think we've got to seriously and fundamentally examine what this idea of "attracting" people is teaching us and what type of culture it's creating in our churches.
Nowhere did Jesus say, "No one comes to me unless the church first attracts him." And please, re-read that statement. I know that no one will conscientiously agree with it, yet...so many churches and pastors and denominational leaders keep preaching, teaching, and fostering this very idea.
The church IS the Body of Christ. The church is NOT a place or event where you are responsible for coming up with the flashiest and most "attractive" way of luring people out of bed on a Sunday morning. The CHURCH does not draw people to itself, the SPIRIT OF THE LIVING GOD is responsible for this. Which begs the question: Are we spending more time trying to think of new ways to attract people (OR) are we on our faces and down on our knees praying for the people that we're equipping and encouraging and leading our "church" to reach out to with the Good News of the Gospel? Do we even understand the difference anymore? If your church has a Creative Team (like mine does), does it also have a Prayer Team? Are things out of balance? Seriously out of balance?
More to come.
Would love to hear your thoughts.