Both And? – Can We Be Both a Missional and Attractional Church? – Introduction

(I feel like I’ve been writing a lot about Missional church theory lately…but it is what is on my heart and mind…so here we go again.)

Since going to the Verge conference back in February I’ve seen and read a lot of talk around the question, “Can a church be both an attractional church and a missional church?”  Hugh Halter even has a book out (or coming out?) on the subject.  (Clearly I haven’t read it yet…I’m sure it is going to be fantastic…I love Tangible Kingdom…maybe I should read it before I start down this road…ummm…to late.)

If you read this blog regularly you know that I’m firmly in the missional camp (because if there are camps, the missional camp is cooler…sure they’ve got the awesome camping stove, the incredible tent, the air mattresses, the port-a-pottys, and all the other cool gizzmos…but we got heart baby…and smores…that’s right…only the missional camp has smores…go missional and get smores); but believe it or not, I understand the both/and sentiment.  So much so that I’ve written this post about 10 times over the last two weeks.

The first time I wrote it I definitely had the 300 “Give them nothing!  But take from them everything!” mentality. 

The second time I had a wimpy, weepy, “Can’t we all just get along” tone. 

The thoughts fluctuated back and forth from there.   Now, finally after weeks of internal debate, I feel settled (sort of).   Sadly, this conversation is too much for one single post.  So here is what we’re going to do. 

First we are going  define the attractional church.  We will lay out its defining characteristics and talk about why it rocks.

Next we will look at what about it is bad and how missional church is a response to this. 

Because missional church theory didn’t spring out of some vacuum.  It is very much a response to the attractional church.  In fact, if we are honest, the term “attractional church” is a loaded label created by missional thinkers to point to what they are not.  No one was going around saying, “I’m attractional!”  That’s not how stuff played out.  It’s a little like the term “Pro-Life.”  Come on, who in the world would call themselves “Anti-Life” or “Pro-Death.”   

Finally, after we’ve looked at the two different understandings of church we will be able to say whether or not a church can be both/and.

Any who, here is a question in the meantime to get your brain spinning.

I love apple juice.  I like how it tastes over ice.  I like it warm.  I will drink it day or not.  Fresh or from frozen concentrate…doesn’t matter.  I will drink it with a fox.  I will drink it in a box.  In a house, with a mouse, on a train, or in the rain…I will drink it here or there.  I will drink apple juice anywhere.

I also love coffee.  I love how it wakes me up when I’m groggy.  I love how it smells when it is brewing.  I love all the different flavors it comes in.  I drink four to eight cups of coffee a day.  Any time of day or night, I’m up for a cup of coffee. 

So I love both. 

And both are drinks.

Can I combine them?

If I do, is what I’m drinking coffee or apple juice? 

Both/and?  

to be continued…

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Both And? – Can We Be Both a Missional and Attractional Church? – Introduction

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