On Monday I said that John MacArthur and Joel Osteen pastored the same kind of church. In fact, I hinted that just about every church in North America seems to be built on the same principle in terms of the way it structures ministry. They are all ATTRACTIONAL in style.
Some churches are attractional intentionally and are completely pragmatic. If it will draw people to the church building and into an environment where “church and Jesus” stuff can be talked about, it is fair game and useful. Advertising, marketing and creative use of technology are very big in these churches, generally.
Some churches are attractional by default. They have inherited a form that basically required people in the culture to come to them for the gospel and ministry and they essentially wait for people to come in to serve them the gospel. Quality and friendliness are very big in these churches, generally.
All churches in this attractional continuum encourage their people to evangelize and serve the community but the end result, generally, is that evangelism and service to the community devolves to inviting people to the hours and meetings of the congregation where outsiders can receive the ministry of the church.
Contention: This attractional style has the unintended consequence of creating barriers to being truly missional. It doesn’t mean they can’t be missional, it just means that the form of ministry has created some barriers (some of them large) that inhibit the congregation from perceiving and acting more fully on their part in expanding and preaching the reign of God (the Kingdom).
Let’s explore some of those barriers.
A couple of cautions first:
- Let’s keep the rhetoric to a minimum. No diatribes against the established church and no hagiographic advocacy of so-called “organic” structures.
- Let’s follow the love principle of believing the best even in those with whom we disagree.
- Let’s keep our responses short (anything over 250 words I will edit).
- Let’s comment on one another’s contributions to the discussion.
Here’s the question: What are some of the unintended barriers that ATTRACTIONAL MODEL churches create that actually inhibit them from making disciples?