It has been estimated that somewhere around 95% of Western churches primarily operate on the principle of “come inside and see what were doing.” Other ways of describing this might include “come in here” or “let’s put on a fantastic and entertaining service so that people want to come back again.”
This “attractional model” of church requires unbelievers to enter into a strange place like a church building to come in here the good news. It requires them to do something that’s not normal for them; something that requires them, on the front end, to do something out of their comfort zone. Even the most seeker sensitive places with the most modern and “cool” styles of worship, coming into this place is something out of the ordinary and requires initiative on their part to make it happen.
But the Scripture is clear that God began to work out his plan to save the world it was not result of human initiative but rather from a singular initiative of God himself came to us, to where we were, to carry out and get this new message people. We call this the incarnation. This is what we celebrate Christmas.
An attractional church model, I believe, is of little effectiveness in post-Christendom. Attempts to “get people in the doors” are increasingly accompanied by the rolling of eyes, even if just metaphorically, and a gradual turning out of those invitations and attempts to bring people into the church building. What we really need is something called an incarnational church; that is a church that “disassembles itself and seeps into the cracks and crevices of the society” (Smith & Pattison) in order to not bring people into a church building but to become the Church in any given time or place; a church that does not seek to plant new people within its fold but rather to implant itself in the soil of the community where people live.
Can this happen? It is happening in places all around the world. You might not see it, but it’s there. You might not read about it, but it’s happening. But it’s not happening enough.
As and individual, as a family and as the body of Christ in your particular time, place, culture, language and location.
Originally posted 2016-02-13 04:16:16.