Should The Church be Attractive or Attractional?

The gospel is good news of great joy for all peoples. This is a compelling message that builds the foundation of the Church. Unfortunately today, it’s become increasingly common to hear Christians lambasting the Church. 

Sadly, many Christians give the impression that speaking well of the Church is like putting lipstick on a pig. Jesus doesn’t need “hair and makeup” before going on stage. 

We must not be ashamed of clearly and confidently holding to what Scripture teaches, and inviting people to repent of their sin in order to follow Jesus Christ. Jesus is compelling. Jesus is good news. 

Consider a beautiful woman. She does not need to dress a certain way or work especially hard to be recognized as beautiful. Her beauty is obvious. Meanwhile, others dress and carry themselves in order to accentuate what they wish others to notice (while also concealing things they want to remain hidden). 

How often is this a parable of our churches? We do things a certain way in order to make God look however we think people will find attractive. We preach on grace but not judgment. We speed up the music but fear silence. And we work diligently to avoid causing offense or controversy. 

Consider Mike Leake’s article, “The Difference Between Attrational and Attractive Ministry,” which provided the above parable of beauty… it’s a great article.  Here is what I believe to be the most vital portion, 

“My point here is that whenever churches start asking those questions and focusing on whether or not we are “attracting,” we’ve moved off center. When we do this we become like the Pharisees, who were more concerned about how they were viewed than who they actually were. Maybe even more pathetically, we are like the teenage boy constantly checking out his budding muscles in the mirror in hopes that maybe this will help him finally get the girl to pay attention to him.

This isn’t to say that churches should be intentionally unattractive. In fact, if churches focus on doing gospel things they will actually be naturally attractive—at least to some. The Bible gives evidence of this. Jesus attracted crowds. The disciples, too, attracted a ton of folks who were filled with questions and wondering what in the world was going on with them. There was something about the way they were living that attracted folks and caused them to wonder why in the world these Christians had such hope. They were attractive.
Though it’s a subtle difference, there is a great chasm between being an attractive church and an attractional church. One intentionally tries to draw a crowd, while the other goes about doing their ministry and the crowds show up, maybe. Jesus didn’t have healing services in hopes that people would show up. He healed people because that is who He is and people showed up as a result. The attractional model, though, draws a crowd and hopes to slip the gospel in the backdoor. One has confidence in who they are and they other is like a junior high boy who doesn’t have enough confidence in his person to drop the frills and just be himself.

The Church is the People of God, Bride of Christ, and the Temple of the Holy Spirit. Christians are the children of God. Let us continue to walk as beloved children of God who have been adopted through Jesus Christ. May our identity as God’s people be the core of the Church rather than a desire to be attractive to the world. 

What is the difference between an attractive gospel and an attractional ministry? One preaches a gospel about Jesus who is truly beautiful, the other feels pressure to portray in him the best possible light. 

What God Doesn’t Promise

Karon Stones

Don’t hold God to promises he never made. God is trustworthy to keep his promise, but it won’t be quick, easy, or fully explained. Will still you trust him?

  • We know God never promised an easy life, but then we wonder why he allows us to suffer?
  • We know God never promised to answer every prayer with an immediate, “Yes!” But we struggle with unanswered prayers.
  • And we know we were never promised perfect health or healing, but the physical pain we (and those we care about) seems more than we can bear.

I’ve seen a lot of people get derailed in life and in faith, because they were holding God to promises he never made… and then life got difficult and God didn’t just “fix” it, so they lost their faith. There’s this verse in the end of Joshua that I read a few months ago that’s been stuck in my head. At this point, Israel has come out from Egypt with Moses, and then Moses died and Joshua led Israel through the conquest where they conquered the people living in the Promised Land and the tribes have now all received their land.

“So the LORD gave Israel all the land he had sworn to give their fathers, and they took possession of it and settled there. The LORD gave them rest on every side according to all he had sworn to their fathers. None of their enemies were able to stand against them, for the LORD handed over all their enemies to them. None of the good promises the LORD had made to the house of Israel failed. Everything was fulfilled.”
Joshua 21:43–45 CSB

It’s a remarkable thing to think… “None of the good promises the LORD had made to the house of Israel failed. Everything was fulfilled.” This isn’t pointing back to God’s promise to free Israel from slavery in Egypt; it’s anchored in God’s promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3.

Here are three reminders about God’s Promises.  Continue reading

How Can I Know I’m Really Saved?

Hitchhiking

It was “cry night” at camp and I was the only kid in my cabin who wasn’t crying and who didn’t go forward for the altar call. Upon returning to our cabin for discussions and prayer all eyes turned to me, as if they were asking, “Mike, what’s wrong with you? Why didn’t you go up? Should we be concerned about you?” I simply explained that I’m already a Christian and didn’t feel the need to go forward and recommit my life to Christ since I’m already trying to live for him. I didn’t understand why my friends kept going forward every summer.

Since that time, I’ve realized that many struggle with security of their salvation. They question whether or not they have saving faith, or if they’ll be one of those to whom Jesus says, “depart from me, for I never knew you.”

Here are a few questions to consider if you (or someone you care about) struggle to have security of your salvation.  Continue reading