"Missional": A Complicated Mess (Part 3)

Missional vs. Attractional

The greatest debate concerning being missional is whether or not it is the best way to grow a church, specifically grow a church quickly and having it reach megachurch status (having 2,000+ attenders), since that’s what many church leaders lust for.  Is it the best way to grow a church, or is using a more attractional method the best way?

It depends.  If you want a large church quickly, attractional is certainly the way to go.  Raise a boatload of money, spend a ton on targeted advertising (specifically to middle class white suburbanites, because they have money for offerings), deliver a dynamite show with “relevant” music and “relevant” teaching, and you’ll have a good chance at “launching large” and “growing quickly” and “overusing quotation marks” in your blog posts.

Yet, having been a part of attractional churches and church plants, I’m convinced they don’t always grow better disciples… unless disciples of Jesus show up on Sundays, give money, and attend a small group, and maybe serve for an hour at the homeless shelter.  I know this isn’t always the case, but it is for many churches.

Here’s the thing… I think our focus is so far off that we’re not even hitting the outer ring of the target.  We’ve become so obsessed with growing bigger churches that we’ve forgotten the fact that Jesus didn’t tell us to grow bigger churches. He called us to make disciples.

Which is the crux of what missional is all about.  But with all the definitions and opinions on what missional is or isn’t, how do we make heads or tails of it?

Tomorrow, I’ll try to clear the muddy waters with what I think missional is.  As the title of these posts indicate, we’ve made it way too complex.  More on that tomorrow.

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About Aaron

Aaron is a follower of Jesus. He's married to his smokin' hot wife Laura and is the father of three adorable girls. He enjoys a robust cigar, a complex root beer, a good movie, writing, football, thought-provoking books, and rousing discussions about subjects you're not supposed to talk about (like theology and politics). Religious people irritate him (because he once was one). He's on a quest to find the perfect dry rub and sauce for ribs.
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2 Responses to "Missional": A Complicated Mess (Part 3)

  1. Justin Dunn says:

    really liking these posts. although i would even say that a “making disciples” missional church can be a similar snare as the attractional model. i think when we come to choosing a side, or saying “this is how it must be” or even saying “i am doing this because this is how Jesus/bible says to” then we are over stepping a line. i dont feel there is anyway a church must be other than listening to God. some churches may not make disciples and i think thats okay. some churches may rock at it, and thats cool too. Jesus called the disciples to make disciples, they didnt do such a great job, hence why God called Paul. meaning, God will get done what needs to get done. i think we just need to be. be who we are, listen to God, be who he made you to be, and he will do what needs to be done in your church.

    • Aaron says:

      Although I don’t agree with 100% with your comment (I do think all churches need to be making disciples, but I don’t think all churches will be “100 fold,” “50 fold,” or even “30 fold” churches, to use the language of the parable of the sower… so we may be saying similar things in different terms), I do agree with the spirit of it. I think you’ll see that in tomorrow’s post. Good thoughts.

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