Month: February 2006

Attractional or Missional: You Can’t Have it Both Ways

Attractional or Missional: You Can’t Have it Both Ways

In what Alan Hirsch and Michael Frost call in their book, The Shaping of Things to Come, to the Attractional Church, “evangelism becomes about inviting people to meetings.”

This limits our vision for what God can do both in time and in space, doesn’t it? But “Jesus didn’t say, ‘sit in your church and wait for people to come to you.’ ”

Even when traditional churches set out to be evangelistic, Frost and Hirsch suggest that church planting generally involves planting Sunday services rather than real Christian communities.

The Missional church, on the other hand “does not seek to attract people to it. It seeps into the cracks and crevices of a society in order to be Christ to those who don’t know him yet.”

It does this through what are called proximity spaces, shared projects, and commercial enterprises. Proximity spaces are “places or events where Christians and not-yet-Christians can interact meaningfully with each other.”

“They are definitely not churches. Examples of proximity spaces include art workshops, pubs and cafes where Christians form part of the regular clientele. Shared projects are activities of genuine interest to the wider community, which meet a need and provide an opportunity for Christians and not-yet-Christians to meet in a natural situation. Commercial enterprises are real businesses, run by Christians for the wider community, but which are not overtly evangelistic. Examples included a shoe shop in San Francisco and a pub in Barnsley. The point of all of these activities is to find neutral ground where the Church can intentionally meet with the wider world.

This does not mean that the Church merely becomes a social club. Bible teaching and worship are still very much part of the life of the church (though perhaps not done in traditional ways), as is mutual commitment and accountability” (www.facingthechallenge.org/hirsch.htm).

Oh God, please cause me and my family to be missional in every venture we seek to be involved in for Your glory!

IS YOUR CHURCH ATTRACTIONAL OR MISSIONAL? You can’t have it both ways.