Throughout this week’s conference, we will have an opportunity to participate in various discussion groups called Xchange sessions. 50 unique topics were chosen relating to spiritual formation, mission, Christian Associates, character and survival.
Today I attended a session entitled Missional vs. Attractional faciliated by Dan Steigerwald, one of our North American Advancement leaders living in Portland.
As a group, we first defined what we thought of both the words missional and attractional when used in church context.
Missional: network, long-term, embedded, individualism, multiplies, relationship driven, authenticity
Attractional: professional clergy, programs, building centers, “showy”, performance driven
We found that we must separate the Kingdom of God from the idea of church in order to move forward with this conversation. Can a church be both missional and at the same time attractional? Can we provide both well?
It seems to me that the easiest place to start is at the beginning. Building a missional practice into the center/core of your community’s initiative right from the start will help keep you and your community focused on what’s important. Too often we see very attractional churches discover that there is no depth to their practices and quickly try to change. Easier said then done.
Hugh Halter shares a vision for incarnational community in his book, AND: The Gathered and Scattered Church. I encourage you to read this book and see the advantages of both missional and attractional approaches to building and growing faith communities. There are various things I have taken from both perspectives and value and see the need for both.
Lastly, to continue the conversation, Alan Hirsch uses the word extractional in place of attractional. I like this term and have seen how churches sometimes have a way of extracting people out of their network of people when they are brought into a church community.
To hear more of Hirsch’s thoughts on this subject go here.