Attractional or Missional Church?

Evangelism has looked like many things in the past and does so today as well. Some of the methods that were popularised by churches and evangelistic ministeries in the past are no longer engaging pre-Christians with the gospel. Here are some of my thoughts on attractional evangelism and missional evangelism:

Attractional evangelism is made up of the following components (generally, I know there are exceptions):

  • Believe in Jesus, then belong to the church.
  • Gospel information is presented
  • Hearers are called to make a decision for Christ
  • If an affirmative decision is made, person is welcomed into church
  • Friendship is extended to the person
  • Convert is trained for service in ministry being separated from culture

Missional evangelism is made up of the following components (generally, I know there are exceptions):

  • Belong to the church then believe in Jesus
  • A genuine relationship b/w a Christian and a non-Christian is built
  • The non-Christian sees authentic faith and ministry lived openly and participates in it
  • Gospel is naturally present in word and action within the friendship
  • The non-Christian’s conversion to Jesus follows his or her conversion to Christian friendships & church
  • The church celebrates the conversion of their friend

As a spiritual leader of a thriving local church, I believe in, lead the church in and practice both missional and attractional dynamics in the life of the Christ community I belong to. I don’t think it’s ‘either or’ but in fact ‘both and’. I am a preacher of the word corporately and a missionary of the gospel culturally.

Too many leaders put down one or the other but I’ve seen both of these models of gospel ministry work with fantastic results. Someone who has put both into action in an excellent way is preaching pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle. Seattle is the most unchurched city in America but Mars Hill is one of the fastest growing churches in the city. He has combined the two approaches with excellent results.

I am currently leading Activate Church through a transition from a more attractional model to a missional approach without losing some of the corporate gathering qualities we excel at as a church.

Jesus said, “Go and make disciples…” This is an incarnational (missional) approach but one of his early disciples, Phillip invited Nathanael to ‘Come and see’ Jesus and he brought him to Jesus. This is an invitational (attractional) approach to evangelism. Why do one when you can do both?

Lead the Change!

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2 Responses to “Attractional or Missional Church?”

  1. Rach Wallace Says:

    I really like your thoughts and approach. Even though I think there is a place and context for (prayerful and Spirit- led) cold calling when it comes to faith sharing, to be honest, I think our culture is really over the intrusion of someone marching up to your door and presenting you with a track and short spiel asking you to change your whole life. It just happened to me moments ago with a JW knocking at the door.
    My first thoughts, honestly, after a hectic and tough morning, ‘Go away! You don’t know me, I am not interested in your rubbish’ LOL I know that sounds bad, but its true. I find it highly intrusive when someone just waltzes into my life and sprouts their mouth off.
    I want to see evidence of what they are saying. I want to know them and their track record. I want them to know me before they give ‘One size fits all’ advice.’ I think our society is tired of telemarketers, door knockers and sprukers (spelling?). I agree that the sharing of our faith needs to be relationship based in a large number of cases. Who you are flows out to other people, and when they know you and see the faith and trust and reliance you have on Christ, I believe they will take you far more seriously. You have earned the right to speak into their life because you have become of value to one another, You are friends, sensitive to one another’s needs and character and vulnerabilities. Mutual vulnerabilities. Too often we come across with the message ‘I’ve got my life together, now I’ll tell you how to do the same’
    I am going through a stage of finding myself being drawn to certain individuals who are not Christian, and as God is opening opportunities for us to spend time together, my faith is naturally coming out in conversation and the sharing of our lives. It feels so much more natural and allows more intensive understanding and background to where a person is coming from. I am sure there are places for both methods as you have said, but I think that we are transitioning as a society who are tired with being inundated with information and opinions that treat people as a number and not a person.

  2. Elle Hooper Says:

    Great word Corey! thanks for the inspiration, i love checking into yours and sim’s blog during the week- great way to keep connected with the church and the vision!

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