I want to address a topic that sparked passionate discussions on one of my FaceBook Groups. Among many church leaders, there is tension between the attractional church model and the missional church model. The debate often leads to the question: “Why do we feel we need to choose one over the other?” In this blog post, I wanted to give my 2 cents, shed light on this issue, and propose that the Christian church should strive to be both attractional and missional.
Understanding the Models
Let’s begin by exploring the essence of these models. The attractional church model focuses on creating an inviting and appealing environment for people to gather. It aims to attract individuals to church through vibrant worship experiences, dynamic programs, and engaging events.
On the other hand, the missional church model emphasizes reaching out beyond the church walls and actively engaging in the world. It seeks to bring Christ’s love to communities, meet their needs, and share the Gospel through acts of service and relationship building.
Rather than seeing these models as competing alternatives, we should recognize their complementary purposes. The attractional model acknowledges the importance of creating welcoming spaces where people can encounter God in meaningful ways. It acknowledges the need to remove unnecessary barriers that may hinder individuals from entering a genuine relationship with Jesus. By embracing the attractional model, we express our desire to create a safe and nurturing environment where people can experience God’s love and find a spiritual home.
At the same time, the missional model acknowledges that the church is not meant to be a fortress where we retreat but a launching pad for God’s mission in the world. It encourages us to actively engage with the needs and challenges of our communities, demonstrating Christ’s love in practical ways. By embracing the missional model, we recognize that our faith is not confined to a Sunday service but extends to every aspect of our lives, impacting the world around us.
The Need for Balance
So, why do we feel the need to choose one over the other? Perhaps it is because we have witnessed extreme examples where churches become so focused on being attractional that they neglect their responsibility to be missional, or vice versa. However, we must understand that being attractional and missional are not mutually exclusive; they are interconnected and should coexist within a healthy church ecosystem.
When we become overly attractional, we risk creating a consumeristic culture that revolves around personal preferences and entertainment, which can hinder authentic discipleship and spiritual growth. On the other hand, when we become solely missional, we might neglect the importance of creating inviting spaces where people can encounter God and find belonging within a loving community
Striving for Wholeness
As followers of Christ, we are called to emulate the character of our Savior, who both attracted and reached out to the world. Jesus drew people with His compelling teachings, miracles, and genuine love. Simultaneously, He ventured into society, engaging with the marginalized, healing the sick, and offering hope to the broken-hearted.
Likewise, the Christian church should aim to embody both attractional and missional aspects. We should prioritize creating spaces where people are drawn to the transformative power of Christ and simultaneously extend His love beyond the church walls. By doing so, we become a vibrant community that not only attracts seekers but also equips and mobilizes believers to impact the world for the Kingdom of God.
In conclusion, the attractional church and the missional church models are not opposing forces but two vital dimensions of a healthy and thriving church. Therefore, we should embrace both as one would accept 2 sides of the same coin.
I pray we wouldn’t let this debate separate or divide the body of Christ but that we would see the reason and need for both models, which complement one another.