Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Come to us or go to them?

I always enjoy reading Steve Addison's blog . A recent post on missional church caught my eye.

The post covers an article by Dan Kimball. For a while now some very influential voices have been advocating missional church as opposed to attractional church as the way forward. The missional church, if I understand it correctly, is one which has as its focus equipping people and sending them out into the community to do the works of the kingdom. Attractional church on the other hand seeks to attract people to its building / campus. That is probably oversimplifying the concepts, but in essence that is the supposed difference in the two approaches to church. Advocates of the missional way of doing things often argue that their way is the most faithful to the New Testament.

But it would appear that perhaps all is not well in missional world. Listen to these comments from Kimball:

"Conversely, some from our staff recently visited a self-described missional church. It was 35 people. That alone is not a problem. But the church had been missional for ten years, and it hadn't grown, multiplied, or planted any other churches in a city of several million people. That was a problem.

Another outspoken advocate of the house church model sees it as more missional and congruent with the early church. But his church has the same problem. After fifteen years it hasn't multiplied. It's a wonderful community that serves the homeless, but there's no evidence of non-Christians beginning to follow Jesus. In the same city several megachurches are seeing conversions and disciples matured."

You'll find Steve Addison's post here and Dan Kimball's thoughts here


Werewolf Dude said...

Is it an either/or situation, can't the church do both?

Missions are good, as christians we should want to serve the community, however if we don't attract people they aren't goig to come to church they?

Jesus wen't out and met people where they were, however he also attracted people to his message.

James said...

I agree Werewolf Dude. It is both/and. Thanks for the comment.

Graeme said...

Werewolf Dude beat me to the punch, I clicked through to the comments and there was something already saying my point, so I'll try to disguise it... the church is and should be on mission in the community around it, but I would point out that we should also be a community (one who welcomes others into it, not a bunker-style fundamentalist church or a wishy washy everything goes liberal church) but one that accepts people as they are and strives to take people onto their next step with Jesus, whatever that be for them personally (including correcting their theology and challenging them on their sins and behaviors) How we do this is very much up for debate, should we do a "house church"? or should we do a "hillsongs" (as if they started it pfft) or concert style church ... or should we become homeless guys wandering around like Jesus ...answer... if thats what God has called us too for our community in crawley... then lets do it, but whatever we do lets do it with all our might(Jesus obviously gives us the strength and wisdom etc) but I digress, in fact I forget where I was going with this, but hopefully there is some food for thought here? let me know what your thoughts are on this, I'm sure the blogosphere would love to know

Graeme said...

sorry for the long comment, but your post left a lot unanswered and didn't come across as your usual encouraging style...

anyway with regard to your words slamming the missional model or should I say "appear" to "perhaps" be slamming the missional church when you said

"But it would appear that perhaps all is not well in missional world"

"the church had been missional for ten years, and it hadn't grown, multiplied, or planted any other churches in a city of several million people. That was a problem."

indeed this is a problem, but blaming the model is perhaps not the way to go, its like saying that the plan is to preach the gospel, and you do and no-one gets saved so you say well perhaps preaching the gospel isn't the way to go... clearly this is FALSE LOGIC and heresy and does not take in to consideration the implementation, and is that person called of God to be a pastor, to often imho pastors get concerned with keeping their salary and not about being faithful to what God has called them to do, I believe their are some pastors that are called to be bread truck drivers and never listened.

with that said, I'd encourage you as we can see that clearly you are called to crawley, and your not allowed to leave :-)

James said...

Perhaps you should take this up with Dan Kimball and Steve Addison! I'm only drawing attention to their thoughts.