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I am so missional…I was missional before missional was cool.

May 31, 2007

I wasn’t any good at it, but I was.   Seriously, I feel so happy now that I no longer feel so alone in my disgust with the attractional model of church.  Read this post to see what I mean.

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. June 1, 2007 6:12 am

    You soo cool. :) I’m honored to have almost met you!

    I don’t think I was ever attracted to the attractional model myself. Just had an interesting discussion with a professor at TEDS on this yesterday. We were discussing mission in a post-Christian culture and we agreed that the “come to us” method doesn’t work in that setting. He also said that America is on the verge of becoming a post-Christian nation like Europe and that many, many evangelical churches are missing it. We discussed how to do outreach in that kind of a setting and I was glad to hear that many of my crazy ideas are what is called for and what he’s seen work in other settings.

  2. June 1, 2007 7:41 am

    What are some of your crazy ideas? Maybe we’ll try them.

  3. June 1, 2007 12:57 pm

    Oh. They’re kind of obvious and “done” now, but five years ago I hadn’t heard of anyone doing them.

    ‘Outreach’ events like discussion groups at bars. Places Christian’s “aren’t supposed to go.” Redeemer in NYC is doing “Christianity Uncorked” at local bars. That rocks. You’d really enjoy it! Discuss current hot topics over a few brewskis.

    I wanted to build a coffee shop for our church to be used for outreach. Not a particularly ‘churchy’ place but spiritual. Staffed and frequented by Christians. Another idea is that you don’t have to build one, just take one over. The Caribou near our church is a good mix of people and there are a lot of Christians there and some work there.

    To rip off Driscoll’s favorite word: dude events. Men are essentially little boys with big shoes. Do some events for dudes that are noisy, competitive, destructive, constructive and where someone gets hurt (a little). Paintball and invite a mess of non-Christians and don’t get all weird if they swear. Avoid chickified (another Driscoll-ism) events where guys are sitting around talking and sipping tea. Let men be men. Build those relationships first. Church sponsored golf outings where the church picks up part of the tab. (No camping, potentially Brokeback.) Pick up part of the tab for a bunch of tickets to a sporting event. I’m afraid that men largely see the church as a place for ladies.

    Host a film review series off campus. Get a group together to go see a movie and then discuss it. As a Christian, be asking what worldview is portrayed in movie and how to you answer it. In a mixed audience, this should stir up all kinds of issues to discuss. And since it isn’t your message on your turf it may make people a) more likely to come and b) less likely to fight. Go see R rated films, that’ll throw them off.

    Back then I wanted to have a pretty vibrant web presence, but that is being done and kind of losing its glamor I think. Still, a good web site that allows and invites interaction, one that isn’t “All About Us” but is more about “You and Your Thoughts, Opinions and Questions” should be more interesting.

    Get involved with Green projects. Have an evangelical church do something more Green than cleaning a strip of highway. Host a recycling day or a hazardous waste turn in day at your facility. Christians are interested in that?

    Actions speak louder than words. Actions can’t be argued with as easily. Jesus commended those who fed the hungry, clothed the naked and visited the prisoners. Do that without the “you have to sit through some preaching first” hook. Serve the poor period. They are people and as Christians interact with them in an atmosphere of loving service, opportunities for the gospel will present themselves.

    Think of other stereotypes that culture has for Christians and then fly in the face of them where it is Biblically appropriate. Care where they say we don’t care. Give where they say we are greedy. Love where they say we hate. Be politically liberal where they say we are only politically conservative (where appropriate).

    You know, stuff.

  4. martian koolaid permalink
    June 3, 2007 2:34 pm

    What Driscoll has called chickified, I have long referred to by another word I think would be inappropriate to write here (starts with a “p”).

    One of the events the navigators ministry had where I was stationed in the Army was to go to a junk yard and buy an old car no one would ever buy/use. We bought it and smashed it to pieces with sledge hammers and axes. It was a pretty good outreach event if you ask me. We also had Halo tournaments. Stuff guys like to do.

    But the problem was the Navs would squirm whenever profanity was used. How the heck are you supposed to outreach to servicemen if they can’t swear in front of you.

  5. June 4, 2007 8:14 am

    Ooh, Halo tournament. That’s a great idea. I mean there are dudes who are physical and athletic and there are dudes who are more geeks. Don’t want to alienate one of them. Football in the yard and Halo in the sanctuary.

  6. June 4, 2007 12:58 pm

    Chick rant ahead:

    What’s the difference between coming up with crazy ideas to be missional and crazy ideas to be attractional. It is still coming up with crazy ideas. Rockin’ brewski dude stuff is still stuff. What the heck is the difference between sitting around sipping tea and sitting around sipping beer! Stop saying one is rad and the other is prissy.

    Be Christlike. To everyone. In everything. Everywhere. To men AND women AND children AND poor AND rich.

    Be attractive with the attractiveness of Christ. Be missional with the gospel. Be Christlike.

    John said: “I am not writing to you a new command, but one that we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another, that we walk in obedience to his commands. His command is that you walk in love.”

    Love the church, love your neighbour, love strangers, love your family. Do fun things. Do hard things. Do wild and crazy things.

    Be Christlike. Just be Christlike to everyone. And I’ll ask for grace to do the same.

  7. June 4, 2007 2:37 pm

    Mothergrace,

    I can affirm your points about chicks vs. dudes and being Christlike to all kinds.

    But I still think there is an important distinction between missional and attractional that has nothing to do with beer or tea. What I reject (always have) about the attractional model of the church is not the idea of being attractive with the attractiveness of Christ. The question is do we take that attractiveness of Christ out into the highways and byways, or do we just put it on display in a really slick full service production every Sunday in an attempt to get more consumers to put their butts in our chairs rather than in the chairs of the church down the road.

  8. June 5, 2007 2:25 pm

    Yup! Jesus didn’t hang out in the synagogue and wait for people to come to him (though they did) he went out and met taxgatherers at their stands and prostitutes on the street and the possessed in cemeteries. He was where people were. He didn’t leave them there though, he said “come and follow me” and “go and sin no more.”

    To answer mothergrace’s question, there is a place for tea and there is a place for beer. A lot of what the church does these days is more tea than beer. Generally, guys are not interested in sitting around talking about how they feel. Guys like to do stuff. Guys like to compete. Look at the numbers in our churches and they’re around 60% female, or so I’ve heard. Where are the guys?

    Where is being Christlike in all of that? Well, it isn’t the beer swilling moron who spends about eight times as much time watching sports on TV than he does talking to his wife and kids. It isn’t in the rap culture which objectifies and abuses women. It isn’t in the ladder climbing man who practically lives at the office. We need to redeem masculinity and help men be godly men in our culture. That will be a lot of work. The image of idiot dads and feminist men you see on TV have to be overcome with a more Biblical view of manhood. That is a tall order. You are correct. We need to recover Christlikeness in all of this.

    Grace, I hope you understand that I wasn’t trying to diss women but reach men. Tea is fine. Beer is okay. Those aren’t the magic bullets.

  9. June 5, 2007 11:00 pm

    We have agreement. Especially if beer is better than tea! Though I like both strong and dark!

    I accept that people here are, in their humour, not being derogative of women. Sadly, the general movement to enhance the masculinity of men might not always make that distinction.

    I think the greater need is to redeem the relationships between men and women in the church. To truly understand what it is to be brothers and sisters. To interact in ways that build one onother up, rather than look at each other as a threat, as another sin waiting to happen.

    To me, the whole deal with missional vs. attractional is overshadowed by something else. What 9 Marks calls the health of the flock. Have a healthy flock, have people flock to your door. Oh, that was bad, wasn’t it! But it’s the way I’d put it! People coming because they like hanging out with healthy Christians – brilliant. Having a healthy church to bring family and friends to, brilliant also.

  10. June 6, 2007 10:01 am

    Oh, Grace, are we related? I prefer my tea and my beer to be strong, warm, dark and British. :)

    I agree with you very much. The problem is often pitched that if we focus on masculinity we get beer guts in wife beater t shirts storming around. The alternative is then conceived of as men in Bill Cosby sweaters hugging and crying a lot. What I’m advocating is neither but a recovery of the masculinity that God created, not the masculinity that sin creates. Part of that will include a loving relationship. Men are commanded(!) to love their wives as Christ loved the Church. That’s all I’m advocating.

    As far as the attractional vs. missional models go, the difference is no what you do (i.e. help Christians be ‘healthy’) so much as where you do it. The attractional model has great ministries within their four walls. The missional model has great ministries outside their four walls. If the culture has a notion of what ‘church’ is, the attractional model may work. If they have lost that or have a distorted view then the attractional won’t and you must be missional.

    BTW, I wish you would turn on comments on your website! I wanted to apologize for making you angry. Spam Karma is a great WordPress plugin to stop comment spam it that was an issue.

  11. June 6, 2007 7:36 pm

    I deleted my witty warm beer comment since I thought it might be too traumatic for other readers. It is like admitting to smelly feet. But that mug in the freezer is NOT mine! You can only do so much in raising children.

    Angry, I don’t think I was. Unfortunately, being Scottish with a clipped accent and clipped writing style (if you could call it that) I come across that way too often. I would adopt a Southern drawl but then people might assume I’m drunk. So, thank you for your apology. I should be more careful to be loving in my communication.

    This conversation has taken a lot of time the last couple of evenings. Turning on comments on my blog would totally incapacitate me. As it is, my online gaming skills are fizzling away. I have to keep the edge. At my age it is all about keeping the brain sharp!

    All good conversation. Thank you.

  12. egana permalink
    June 8, 2007 3:54 pm

    at this point, I’d take a mug from the garage, freezer, basement, or attic, as long as I could sip it liesurely and enjoy the rest of the evening…

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