In the emerging/missional church circles tossing the word “attracting” up is a bit like sitting a turkey in front of a band of hunters with semi-automatic weapons. It will not be tolerated. Attractional church is bad, anti-New Testament, and completely out of touch with our contemporary culture.
The days of attracting people to church are over pal. That was sooooo 90’s, get it? Nobody wants to go to your lamer church service. You need to go to them and do social activism stuff like feeding the poor, visiting the elderly, and especially–bless yourself as you read this–ART SHOWS.
Yes, mission, sending the church out, is the way of the future. But is attracting people all that bad. Have we stumbled into yet another false dichotomy that polarizes the church instead of bringing diverse viewpoints together?
Here are some thoughts from a Leadership Journal article on Mission:
Leith Anderson, pastor of Wooddale Church near Minneapolis says, “I think attractional is really a subset of missional. Churches ought to be attractional. After all, there is an attractive appeal to the mission. Churches that don’t attract people to the gospel or even to the institution will not live out the mission because they won’t live at all. The problem arises when attracting people to the church becomes the mission.”
Wright also believes being missional is attractive. Northeast is a rapidly growing small church. After three years of leading this church, Wright says, “We’ve found that many churches in our area have grown by putting on a great show. Our model is different. We believe that by serving those around us, we show them Christ, which does have an attractional quality. Still, the primary goal is to serve, not to attract.”
I like the idea of emphasizing something different, as opposed to talking about something new and fresh. That keeps everyone at the table and creates a balance of perspectives.