There are ways we talk in and around church that have existed for years largely unchallenged. They are so common—among congregants and church leaders—that they are part of the “background wallpaper” of churches. However, as our context for ministry changes so rapidly, it’s time to examine these more closely. Over the next few weeks, we will take a look at these, one question at a time.
Where do you go to church?
Though the attractional model of church—build buildings, build programs and “they will come”—has proved to be increasingly ineffectual in most settings, there is a tendency to continue to talk like the goal of church is to bring people into our buildings. Vital churches today are learning to play “away games.” That is, our churches need to be purposeful in leaving language, comfort, familiar patterns to offer offer the gospel of Jesus Christ in the public square. Increasingly, that will lead to engagement with the gospel that may or may not translate into people coming into our churches to populate committees or fill pews.
As the collapse of Christendom has finally taken hold in most corners of our culture, congregations need to earn their way in the marketplace of ideas and in service to our communities. Because the gospel of Jesus Christ is powerful, winsome, and urgently needed, this is good news! But going forward, we will experience that good news as much “outside our walls” as inside. Thinking especially of Paul’s visit to the marketplace in Acts 17, when we do that, we find ourselves in very good company!
Will this…(fill in the blank—the next “bright, shiny new thing”)…get us new members?