Tuesday, April 10, 2007

I’d like Attractional with a side of Missional and just a dash of Organic, please

Great blog from Geoff Surratt on the Mega versus Emergent discussion. Read the entire post here.

Here are some excerpts:

First my definition of terms as I understand them:

  1. Attractional: A model that says church should be an appealing, non-threatening environment to present the Gospel so that seekers can come and see. Relational connections flow out of these larger gatherings. Picture a large circus tent with people streaming in from every direction.
  2. Organic: A model that says seekers will be exposed to the Gospel through relationships with members in their community. Relational connections may flow into larger gatherings. Picture a group of pup tents with a campfire in the middle.
  3. Missional: A mindset that says the every member of the body of Christ is called as a missionary to her own culture and community. The missionary may or may not connect to a larger gathering of believers. Picture a climber pitching his tent high on Mt. Everest.

. . .

First, I've never seen a purely attractional church. Every church I've been connected with is deeply concerned with helping people become disciples of Christ. When I've sat down with the staff at the largest mega-churches in America they are all exerting an incredible amount of energy to discover new and better ways to help people grow in Christ. I'm sure that there are churches in America who care only about making the turnstile spin on the weekends, but I've never experienced one.

Second, I've never seen a purely missional church; every church I've seen has a desire to be attractive (from the Greek root "attractional") They sweep the floors, turn on the lights, set the air conditioner. They buy sound systems so the musicians and speakers can be heard, they set up chairs, they make coffee. While they may never buy a billboard or send out a mass mailer, every church I've seen makes an effort to be attractive to those who might attend. And the ones who do a good job grow. Bob wrote recently about experiencing so much growth he was having nightmares about having to start a video venue.

Third, every church I've been around is missional; they all see their members as missionaries in their communities. This whole idea started with Jesus when he told us to go into all the world and make disciples. His final instructions before he caught the last cloud back to heaven said our job was to share the good news in our neighborhood. So called attractional churches see the weekend service as an intregal part of fulfilling this missional calling. While their preference is that members share their lives and faith in their own neighborhood, they also recognize that most people need some help. Similar to the idea that parents should be able to teach their children to read and write, but we need schools to help, attractional churches see their weekend services as aid stations for their member/missionaries.

. . .

So for me the ultimate church is an attractional, missional body of believers growing organically through every means possible. We seem to waste so much energy throwing rocks at other people's tents we lose sight of the fact we have a very limited time on earth to spread the Good News and to build Kingdom community. If your church meets in a stadium, hires a rock band and is seeing people becoming disciples of Christ, that is very cool. If your church meets in a bar, features dialog rather than sermons and is seeing people becoming disciples of Christ, that is very cool as well.

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