Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Why Both/And Is Essential

This is part 2 of a series entitled "Is Both/And Possible." (Click here for part 1)

If you are leading an established church, no matter the tradition, it has been shaped according to an attractional church pattern. The point of the church has been to get people to attend a weekly service and then set up systems so that they will continue to attend that service. I make this point not as ya critique of that fact. I'm just stating the obvious.

But let's take it a bit further. The people in your church have been shaped by this attractional pattern. They attend if they find the church experience beneficial--even if they only attend to appease a sense of guilt. If they don't find it so, they attend elsewhere or quit going altogether. Connecting small group programs, used to keep this from happening. Again this is not a critique. It's just a clarification of terms.

Now let's imagine that you have developed a vision for developing communities that are missional, that do life together in the neighborhood, that minister together on the margins. As many have said, such a pattern of church is different from the attractional pattern because the focus lies on equipping people to do this community on the margins. This is not an anti-Sunday church thing. It's just different. Such groups share community and the gospel with those who may or may not be interested in attending a traditional church service.

If you throw people shaped by the attractional pattern into missional experiments you will get attractional experiments that are called missional. Sadly this is what many are doing. The wiser approach would be to develop underground missional experiments with those who are ready for such while providing connecting small group experiences for the majority of the people. Then as the missional experiments develop and grow into something concrete and observably effective then more and more can make the shift from one to the other.

Here's the link to Part 3.

1 comment:

Andrew Mason said...

"...minister together on the margins." Love that phrase! If I'm trackin' with you on this stuff (and I'd like to think that I am), participating in an attractional environment/connecting small groups definitely allows a person to do more observing than initiative. The Missional environment encourages ownership, commitment and getting your hands a little dirty at times. Bridging the gap or making the two seamless then becomes the key.