Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Interesting Conversation

I've got a little bit of rant this morning, but I would love for you to hang in there an read it. I have been engaged with an email over the last couple of weeks with some of the leadership at the Tennessee Baptist Convention (TBC). For those who don't know, The Journey is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention and is a TBC church. That being said, we don't always fall in line with everything the TBC would desire. That is not a bad thing, in fact, TBC is fairly flexible with churches that push the envelope a little further than they are comfortable with.

I received an email from a TBC leader yesterday who challenged me with the question: "Don't you think you should start small groups in areas that you intend to start campuses instead of going with the attractional model that has proven back lack of cultural change to not work?" Ok, let me start by explaining a couple of things.

This is part of a larger argument going on in the church world known as the Missional model versus the Attractional model. The missional model says go into neighborhoods and communities and start small groups as a strategy for reaching people for Christ. The attractional model says to start a worship gathering as a strategy for reaching people for Christ. Every church who chooses one model will be highly critical of the other model -- which definitely does not lead to unity in the Body of Christ.

My response to him was this: "It is definitely important to infiltrate communities with small groups, that is part of our strategy for launching the church --- groups and services. However, I don't believe it has to be an either/or paradigm between attractional model versus missional model, but it should be an and/both paradigm. Followers of Jesus have gathered weekly to worship together (Acts 2) for centuries --- this is not an idea fabricated by Willowcreek Church or Saddleback Church. This is God's idea. However, the church is also to be missional in its mindset. It's not just about "the show" - but instead it's about the single minded focus of reaching people far from God and bringing them into relationship with Christ. If that means creating environments at weekend services that allow that or if that means starting strategic small groups in neighborhoods, the answer is yes. It is not one or the other in my opinion."

Why do we make everything either one way or the other, and never both? Why does The Church always find something to disagree with? Methods and strategies for reaching people will always change, but the single minded focus of reaching people with the hope of Jesus Christ will never change. Anything thing with the exception of sinning is fair game -- why be critical?

What do you think?


  1. You are on target. I believe it was Paul that mentioned becoming all things to all people. We as a church could reach more people if we got out of the mindset of "progams" and got in the mindset of proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom.

  2. Very well said Craig..."proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom" - whatever strategy or method you implement must have that singular message as the core. Thanks for your thoughts.