Church Attractional Model = Pet Rock

kinnon —  May 31, 2007 — 5 Comments

My friend, Brad Bergfalk, has an interesting post this morning on the soon coming death of the attractional church and the rise of the missional church.

Right now, the missional model doesn’t have enough traction in the United States to make any difference. But I predict, that there will be plenty to talk about when pastors begin to see their role missionally rather than as institutional caretaker (this is already happening). The rub will come when the church discovers that the missional pastor doesn’t care how many people are on the membership roles. The missional pastor doesn’t measure his or her success by the size of their projector. The tension will rise when the co-called “seeker church” realizes that no one is seeking any more and the attractional model will go the way of the pet rock.

Please read Brad’s entire post.

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A television editor, writer & director since 1978. A Christian since 1982. More than a little frustrated with the Church in the West since late in the last millennium.

5 responses to Church Attractional Model = Pet Rock

  1. I was thinking about this earlier this morning. A local radio station was discussing how a female pastor of a Methodist church in Baltimore underwent a sex change operation. They mentioned how giving and membership have increased. By those measurements, this pastor would be deemed successful.

    Stories like this will make it obvious that money and membership are not the marks of success. The next question is, “What is then?”

    Is it spiritual growth?
    Missional impact?
    Effectiveness of worship?
    Strength of community?

    Is the measuring stick the same for every church?

    Honestly, I’m almost more interested in the questions we begin asking than the answers we eventually find.

  2. intriguiing post. I am challenged by my own tendencies to default to attractional -model measurements of success all the time. We are between paradigms and it is not easy to know any more – which means we need to rely upon the HS so much more.

    And our congregants, like me, have grown up in attractional churches. So to shepherd them is to love them as they are, and to equip them in something they are not used to. Nor am I used to equipping for this stuff. We live in interesting times; prayer is my only hope!


  3. I chatted with Alan Roxburgh about Brad’s post as we headed out to the Vancouver airport – going off in different directions. Alan doesn’t see the attractional church disappearing anytime soon. It feeds the “me-oriented” needs of many.

    I tend to agree with Barna and his prediction that a third of the church will remain tied to a more attractional model, a third will be more home-community based and a third will engage the church around art. (A loose paraphrase of his conclusions in Revolution.)

    The attractional model will remain the purview of the circulating saints – those who think the church is about them – and not the folk on the outside. Their loyalty will be to the quality of services delivered. Better services elsewhere will see them move along. ‘Twas ever thus.

    But I do believe we will see continued growth in the missional church. Growth that will long surpass our own lives. And for that, we DO need to be excited.

  4. Bill, I probably need to go get a copy of that Barna book. I was interested when it came out, but didn’t pull the trigger on buying it.

    I don’t think our church knows which of the three models we want to be. Sometimes we seem missional, sometimes artistically-centered, sometimes attractional.

    We’re a bit schizo apparently.

  5. The primary problem with the attractional church model, as I see it, is that it tends to primarily attract disaffected Christians from other churches – or ones who are looking for the next big thing.

    Missional church asks the question, “What is God doing in this community?” It requires prayer, discernment and engagement with the community. It also requires believers who actually live in that community. (See the Reaching Revisited video on the Allelon website for a brief discussion of this.)

    You’ve heard and read this before; Jesus doesn’t tell us to “Go to church”. In fact, he says quite the opposite when he commands His body, the Church, to Go into all the world. Luke 10 appears to be the way we are to Go!


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