Tim Chester on Attractional and Missional

“People often set up attractional church and missional church as polar opposites. Attractional has a come-to-us mentality. It’s about drawing people to the church. Missional is a go-to-them mentality. We take the gospel to people, meeting them on their terms and their turf.

But biblical missiology contains both elements. Israel was called to live under God’s reign expressed through his law in such a way that the nations would come to find out about Israel’s God (Deuteronomy 4:5-8). During the reign of Solomon the nations do indeed come to marvel at his wisdom and glory. But as Israel rejects her God, instead of being a light to the nations, she follows the ways of the nations. Isaiah, however, looks forward to a day when Israel will again attract the nations (Isaiah 2:1-5). He promises that God’s Servant will be faithful where Israel was unfaithful, becoming God’s light to the nations (Isaiah 42:6; 49:6). Jesus, of course, is this light: the light of the world, perfectly demonstrating the goodness of God’s reign.

When we come to the New Testament church, people often assume a switch of direction from “drawing in” to “going out.” But in fact the attractional missiology of the Old Testament continues. God’s new covenant people are to be a light to the world, attracting people to God’s reign (Matthew 5:14-16; 1 Peter 2:9-12). What has changed is the center! The center is no longer Jerusalem, but hundreds of small communities of light, littered across the world. We simultaneously draw in (through our community life) and move out (through church planting).

The problem with a lot of attractional churches is not their missiology, but their ecclesiology. Church is seen as a meeting. Attracting means attracting people to an event or even a performance. But biblical mission is about a community life, ordinary life, lived under God’s Word that attracts people to God.”

Read the whole thing here

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~ by John on March 18, 2009.

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