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If We Build It They Will Come – The Field Of Dreams Church Growth Strategy

crystal-cathedral-bankruptcy

It is relatively new. To a degree.
I mean the stained glass windows of the churches of yesterday were created by amazing artists and, I’m sure, in somewhat of a hope that it will allure people to worship their God more intensely.
But I’m not sure that people came to a church service in order to stare at the windows for an hour.
Somewhere in the last 20 years a slew of churches have grabbed a hold of a new “outreach” strategy.
If we build it they will come.
So we create attractional services to attract people to see God for the first time.
Which…happens.
Which…works.
But I can’t help but imagine what would happen if we took the “attractional service” budgets and began to dump them into the “attractional Christ follower” budget.
I think some HD projectors might disappear.
I think some subs might disappear.
But in the end I think that having 200 “humans” outside the walls of a church building who are more attractional than any programmed hour could provide literally multiplies your efforts 200 fold.
Or am I crazy?
I’ll answer that.
I am.
But Islam is not the fastest growing religion in America because of their services.
It is because of it’s followers.
We Have To Stop Thinking That Our Sunday Services Will Reach America.
They will reach part of America.
A very small part.
And the rest of America will be reached by the Christ followers we build in our churches.

I think it’s important to stare these concepts straight in the face.
How? Why? Really? Fair? No?
Thoughts…

Los

  • There are SO many different people and groups and messages trying to reach people attractionally right now. I think people are completely inundated by these messages, and most aren’t going to listen to any of them. As far as I’m concerned, the effectiveness of “come and see” worship is on the way out, if it isn’t dead already.

    I’m convinced that if the church is going to reach the people who aren’t already right on the edge, we can’t count on what’s happening within our walls to do it. We have to go out and meet them where they are, wherever they are, and carry the message to them. We have to build relationships, engage our neighbors and spread the Gospel in a way that the individuals we encounter understand. That may create a shift in what our Sunday morning services look like, but it seems to me that it would lead to more genuine worship and outreach all around.

    • Los

      I agree…

      • Cindy G.

        AMEN! ACTION spreading The Word to others by ACTIONS in others lives! That is TRUTH!

      • Noe

        Not to be a hater Carlos but I think your the last person who should be talking about this.

        Life Point Church, Elevation Church, and Newspring Church…all huge churches working with the strategy your talking about.

        Honestly its all about wanting attention…and those churches want the attention. Kind of like you, you know how much you like the attention…Peoples Choice Awards, Morning Shows…you love the attention bro.

        Just like the attractional strategy, that is what your about, look at your website, asking questions to get people fired up knowning there isn’t a right or wrong answer.

        You were at a build it they will come church with Andy Stanley and now your doing big time conferences. Come on bro, check your own heart.

    • Chris

      Would plugging into this be considered an attempt to be atractional and relevant?

      http://withoutwax.tv/2011/01/12/cross-point-heads-downtown/

      Chris

  • I always enjoy reading your blog. It was gut wrenching to see what happened to you and your family the other night. I’m glad that you’re all okay.

    I think you’re doing some awesome stuff for the church. I love that you’re never afraid to tackle a topic that others might think too brazen. I don’t always agree with you, which I like. I don’t think we should all agree all the time. There wouldn’t be any sharpening that way.

    And sometimes, to be honest, I lose interest in the site, but this entry… This entry is a gem. It needs to be said. It needs to be discussed. And it needs to be fixed. With all the kinds of love that we can manage; all the love that Christ has given us. I would love to see this. The question is… What am I gonna do to begin the change? I’m a mere cog in the wheel of this “Build It” generation, and the tough questions start w/ me. Thanks for making me ask this of myself tonight. I hope more church leaders will wrestle with this topic. Thanks for writing this. Keep doing what you do in His time. It’s Kingdom work…

    • Los

      Thanks Bob…

  • Nick

    Good points. But in all honesty (& im not trying to be an a-hole) do you think that guys like you are part of the problem? I’m a youth pastor & I’m continually asking myself that question. I honestly don’t have a good answer today. Maybe tomorrow, but not today.

    • Los

      depends.

    • I am curious what “Guys like you” means….

    • Dennis

      guardians of and participants in the institutional status quo frequently and predictably throw rocks at folks like Carlos who question it… I live and serve in Arizona and I am stunned at the number of people who still buy into the attractional strategy of ministry…. even when it succeeds in drawing a crowd, it rarely succeeds in transforming lives with the Gospel.. it’s really just more American consumer religion.. thanks, Carlos for doing your part to drive a stake in the heart of it!

      • Macros

        Dennis, I don’t think Carlos is driving a stake in the heart of it and Nick is making a good point – not throwing rocks. The point is that people like Carlos go around encouraging and consulting churches about how to create these attractional services. Then, he turns around and writes something like this blog entry. It’s the pot calling itself black.

        • Los

          Macros…
          Can you tell me the last time I went to a church and told them to create an attractional service?
          You can’t.
          Because I don’t.
          Ignorance is bliss…
          http://vimeo.com/16626193

          • Boom. Not that he needs it, but I’ll defend that. I’ve been around this blog for a long while & I’ve seen, read & gotten to know the heart behind asking questions rather than giving answers. I think that’s the danger, mistaking the question for the answer.

          • JoJo

            DUDE! That video rocked my world! As usual, I have been disturbed and disrupted by you and your message. I hope that never stops!

            And tell your daughter – Welcome to the family :o)

          • Fist pumpin to you Los for posting your sesh at calibrate. Glad you were with us.

            Lichty

        • Thanks for posting that video Los. Hadn’t seen it, watching it now. Great to hear.

        • Jai

          While I don’t think I would have responded the way Macros did, I must admit that I was a bit surprised to see this blog on this site.

          And I’m not saying you tell people to create an attractional service (I don’t know what you tell them), but just because you don’t use those exact words, it doesn’t mean that’s not what you’re communicating or that that is not what they are hearing. I’m not saying that’s what’s happening, but I hope that makes sense.

  • Glenn

    I must decrease HE must increase
    I think the american church (which I’m a part of since I’m american) doesn’t see enough leadership in this area. Donald Miller has some great thoughts on how consumerism has affected our view of and relationship with God.
    … Decrease… Increase

    • Los

      decrease…increase…

  • Well said. I believe all our efforts to “fix it” just gets in God’s way. It’s like trying to manufacture the fruit of the Spirit. How can we produce something that is a gift? “Walk by the Spirit.” We have forever been busy remodeling a church that Jesus built. Our discontent is not that people aren’t drawn to Jesus’ church, we can’t get them to come to our church.

    • Los

      Good words…

  • I agree with Glenn’s comment “I must decrease HE must increase”. Sometimes it seems like we focus too much on finding that one thing that will make people want God. We need to refocus sometimes and realize that the Gospel dates. Worship styles and buildings go in and out of fashion but as long as we are alongside those people who are in pain, poverty and sickness then we can’t go wrong.

    In Ecclesiastes, the preacher tells us “There is noting new under the Sun” meaning there will always be War, poverty, sexual abuse, violence e.t.c and people will always be hurting. The Gospel is the one thing which can save them and that will never change.

    • Los

      “Worship styles and buildings go in and out of fashion but as long as we are alongside those people who are in pain, poverty and sickness then we can’t go wrong.”
      Love this

      • Erin

        amen and amen. such a refreshing perspective.

      • My church found that when it finally had a “permanent” facility things became too church-centric. So they pruned staff & programs. The adult ministry is now primarily all neighborhood groups–the idea being get the people off campus, and back interacting with their neighbors. Our mission is simply “Win, Train, Send.” Seems to be working, too. Check us out at http://www.ccvonline.com

  • ThiS is where I am and this has been my struggle the past year or so. As much as I’ve seen (and experienced) the value of “big church” I can’t help but wonder sometimes if it’s the most effective use of resources. Not to mention that more and more people I talk to are getting turned off by it. I think if the church wants to move forward, we have to deal with the fact that tides are changing once again and people want real connection and authenticity, and could care less about big buildings. If we build relationships they will come.

    I’ve seen this happen with the church I attend now. It’s a small church plant. When I first started going there were about 20 people. There’s no big building and no big bands. And from talks with the pastors it seems they want to keep it that way. In the past few months I’ve been going there I’ve seen the church grow due to relationships being forged with people outside of the church–both believers and non believers. And we all cherish coming to worship in a little rented space with one man, a guitar and a bible. It’s been an amazing thing to see.

    • Los

      That is rad…

      • Kenny

        I’m involved with a plant much like this as well. Totally stripped down, SO refreshing. Hard, because of the embedded norms of what I’ve always thought church to be, but refreshing nonetheless. And I came from playing guitar on stage at church in the biggest rock venue in our city. If you build the church, you will not always make disciples, but if you make disciples, you will always build the church.

        • Hannah

          ” If you build the church, you will not always make disciples, but if you make disciples, you will always build the church.”
          Kenny, I love the way you put this!
          I think in America we sometimes forget that the church is not the building or the website or the programs. The saved are the Church. In countries where believers are persecuted and cannot sing their songs above a whisper, let alone have a fancy building, the Church still grows and thrives.

  • I, too, am glad that the car accident was not as bad as it could have been. I really appreciated your post about it…

    It’s probably worth noting that Islam is growing in a much different way that Christianity: not by conversion, but by population growth in largely Islamic countries. A bit of a case of apples and oranges. If you are born in Indonesia to a Muslim family, your religious affiliation will not be a choice you make.

    Contrast that with American Evangelicalism which is defined by individual choice and personal experience.

    It seems to me that before decided whether or not something is ‘successful’, rubric for success must be defined. Once that is

    • Leo

      “If you are born in Indonesia to a Muslim family, your religious affiliation will not be a choice you make.

      Contrast that with American Evangelicalism which is defined by individual choice and personal experience.”

      I don’t necessarily agree 100% with your statement. It could be argued that the same thing happens within Christianity. When you are born in a Christian home and you are raised as a Christian, indoctrinated to be Christian and brainwashed to be Christian, it is very hard from a psychological perspective to make a decision against it. So yea, making a choice on your own after you were groomed into it is not really an individual choice.
      I was raised in a Christian home and now, 29 years later, I’m dealing with so many doubts as I try to expand my horizons and step outside the Christian bubble. I could certainly declare myself an atheist right now, but just the thought of it brings so much guilt, remorse and fear, is not easy to battle your mind when you decide to go against what was brainwashed into your head for all of your childhood.

      • Carlie

        I agree. I find Fowler’s theory of stages of faith very interesting…
        http://faculty.plts.edu/gpence/html/fowler.htm

        • The Pew Research on this (only in the US, unfortunately) shows that Protestant Christians tend to have net losses from childhood believers to adults (-2.5%) http://religions.pewforum.org/pdf/report-religious-landscape-study-chapter-2.pdf The Catholics are even worse off. This chart also doesn’t show shuffling within protestant denominations, which also is a sign of individual choice and freedom that American Evangelicalism encourages.

          So although I agree that it is hard to move past what you are taught as a child, the chance of your family and/or social circle disowning you for it is more likely than in Indonesia (with Shari’a law in some places). I suspect you might find it much, much harder to become an apostate (at least publicly) than in the States, where you can just pack up and move to a larger city.

          On a more personal note, however, good luck in accepting whatever you believe, without the fear of anyone or anything. The problem with the term ‘atheism’ is that it defines you in light of what you don’t believe. I prefer to think of myself in terms of what I do believe.

          • Sorry, I mean to say ‘more likely IN Indonesia’.

      • John

        What kind of doubts are you dealing with?

  • decided, then you can have, I think, a more beneficial discussion about the benefits of building big churches with lots of smoke and mirrors.

  • Here is the thing.

    We have for decades now attempted to be “Cool” in order to reach the culture around us. We try and make Jesus “HIP” and the hard fact is that in the eyes of a sinful world He’s not.

    John 15:18-19 say…

    18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.

    Sure can we get folks in our doors…can we be creative and have a full house? Yepper! But the issue is that all of the fog machines and light shows will never transform people’s hearts. It will catch their eyes, but never their hearts. So what ends up happening is that a large percentage of “Christians” go to church because that’s what they are supposed to do. When they meet frustration and failure they drop out. According to Ray Comfort 80% of people who attend church are lost.

    Are you surprised though? I can’t remember the exact number but something like 67% of “Christians” think the Bible has errors. Is it any wonder that we are growing? We don’t even believe our own message.

    Matthew 7:21-23 says…

    21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

    So what is a “true disciple?” Because James 2:19 says the demons in HELL believe in God…

    Luke 14:25-35

    The Cost of Being a Disciple
    25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
    28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? 29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, 30 saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’

    31 “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. 33 In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.

    34 “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? 35 It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out.

    “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”

    How many of us can truly say that we believe this? Stats say that we don’t believe it.

    So we can have all the coolest buildings and programs, but without a life transformed by Christ it’s all totally worthless!

  • Art

    “We Have To Stop Thinking That Our Sunday Services Will Reach America.”

    Amen.

    Jesus told the disciples to GO. Instead, for the last 20 years we’ve said, COME. They aren’t coming. So, we need to get back to going.

    Authentic Christianity isn’t lived out inside the church walls – it is lived out in the highways and hedges of our world where we compel people to come to Christ by our words and actions – then the house will be full.

    We spend too much time trying to get them to the house rather than getting them to Christ.

  • fair call.
    thanks for stirring the pot

  • I think it was John Wesley (though it may have been John Calvin or Martin Luther) who said, “Give me a small group of people who love Jesus and nothing else, and who hate sin and nothing else, and we’ll change the world.”

    You see that played out in the early church. They didn’t have buildings to rival the pagan temples around them. They didn’t have awesome worship services that rivaled the fun and excitement of the pagan services (which often included food, drink, and sex)… They just loved Jesus, and they loved each other and the people around them. And Acts says that God was adding daily to their numbers.

  • This is a must-ask question and topic we have to keep wrestling with. Right now, I’m sitting in a spot where I think it has to be both. I love Gabe Lyons take in “Next Christians” where he talks about needing to strengthen the connection between the redeemed and the restorers. We need to worship as those who’ve been redeemed and I believe that kind of amped worship is attractional and so important when done well. But it means nothing if we don’t worship as the redeemed and then live as those called to restore out in the world.

    You’re right on with the growth of Islam – it’s not about their worship. So, what is it really?

  • Vicki

    Currently reading unChristian and if the statistics are correct, we don’t need to worry about “attracting” people to Christ (He does that well on His own) it is distracting people by our interactions. Most people who have a bad opinion about church and Christianity attribute their opinion to personal interactions with people who label themselves as such but don’t necessarily act as if they are.

    If I get going on this, I’ll go on and on, so I’ll try to be brief, but I think the church needs to refocus efforts on how to help the saints live out faith in the community rather than trying to attract people far from God to a Sunday service. I’m not saying the pendulum swings to being insensitive and isolationists, but if it is the personal interactions are keeping people from seeing the true Christ then it seems that we need to work harder to encourage and hold each other accountable to make sure we walk the walk. If resources and time are limited I begin to wonder if the focus shouldn’t be on designing an attractive Sunday service (although it is a lot of fun) but rather making sure we are living out our attractive design.

  • When we don’t trust God to build His church using His methods then we end up relying on our creativity and our “great ideas”. The multiplication of the gospel has always been through individuals who have been radically transformed by the grace of God living a life that reflects that change in a way that glorifies the Savior. Programs, big buildings, and attractional services have never been necessary and often lure us into thinking that living a changed life in the world isn’t necessary because, after all, all I really have to do is convince the world to come to my church.

    The role of the church is to glorify God, preach the cross, and make disciples who will go and make disciples. This is how the world will be reached.

  • I.Agree.With.Los

    I’m on staff at a very large “mega church” (hate that term). Over the past few years I’m proud to be able to see our church (the organization) embrace this idea that our services will reach people, but our church (the people) will do far more and are capable of much more impact for The Kingdom.

  • Church Brew works. Stained glass windows…..

  • Ryan Holgate

    ?“And He is the head of the body, the church (Greek: ekklesia), who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.” Colossians 1:18

    In this verse the church is defined as a body. It is interesting to note that in order for a body to move it must have life. Without life a body will decompose and cease to fulfill that which it was created to do. The church is not a building, organization, denomination, corporation, or a time we meet each week. It is time that as God’s people, we take off our carnal minds and put on the mind of Christ. He who has an ear hear what the Spirit of God is saying to His chosen jewels in this hour.

    Ekklesia is translated “church” in the New Testament 115 times. The word ekklesia is from a compound of ek and a derivative of kaleo . Ek means out of, and kaleo means to call (Strong 2001, 81). Not once in the New Testament is this word referred to as a physical place. Why then do we associate it with such things? “When the Anglo-Saxons began to convert to Christianity, for reasons that to this day are disputed, they chose not to adopt the word ekklesia to describe the called out ones. Instead, they substituted a word of their own, kirika, which was the Anglo-Saxon rendering of a Greek word that meant, “of the lord” or “belonging to the lord.” It is a word that could have been used to describe a piece of land, a herd of cattle, a horse, or a building. When the Angles and Saxons used kirika in the context of Christianity, they literally meant a building where people met––a building that “belonged to the Lord.” And it is this word, rather than ekklesia (or and English rendering thereof), that is the forerunner of the word English-speakers now know as church. There is no English language equivalent for ekklesia and there is no linguistic paradigm in English that can depict what ekklesia means” (Avram 2009, 26-27).

    It is of grave importance that Christ is preeminent in all that we do. If He is not preeminent then He is not in it. Part of the Holy Spirit’s role is lifting up the name of Jesus. It doesn’t matter how good the music is, the preaching is, or the beauty of the building is. If Christ is not lifted up, men are not being drawn unto Him. Religion has taken the worldly model of what is called success and implemented into what is called church. You cannot apply the system of this age to spiritual matters. It does not matter if you have the largest church membership in the world or not! If Christ’s name not be lifted up then your efforts are in vein. It is interesting to note that as Christ continued His ministry on earth fewer people followed. Christ did not have a problem with sugar coating anything. He began His ministry with the message of repentance. He spoke often of Hell. In spite of intense persecution, Jesus would not water down God’s message for no man. All the while He lived a life of humility, meekness, and mercy. Oh, that today’s preachers would weep over the souls of this nation, passionately hate sin, and proclaim God’s truth. God has said He will shake everything that can be shaken! Only that which is in Jesus will remain.

    “The disciples were always trying to naturalize the Kingdom of God. They heard Jesus speak of this Kingdom, and they began to reason it all out: they argued over who would be the greatest; “Lord, when you come into your Kingdom, let us sit on Your right hand and on Your left.” “Lord, will You at this time restore the Kingdom to Israel?” See, they’re trying to naturalize this Kingdom. But Jesus spiritualized the Kingdom. So Pilate asked Him, “Are you a king?” And Jesus says, “You are correct in saying that I am king… but My Kingdom is not of this world.” This Kingdom is spiritual, it is heavenly, it is not earthly, it is not of this world. So when I say the Ekklesia is spiritual, don’t look at me as if I have done something wrong by spiritualizing the Church. The Ekklesia is spiritual, and the wrong thing is to naturalize it. You do not naturalize the New Birth – it’s a spiritual reality. You don’t naturalize eating and drinking Christ – it’s a spiritual thing, it’s a spiritual concept. You don’t naturalize the Kingdom of God – it’s a spiritual kingdom, not of this earth, not of this world. So why would you, and why do you, naturalize the Ekklesia, when the Ekklesia is a spiritual house of living stones? See, the trouble is that we do not see the Ekklesia as spiritual, we see it as natural. The problem is in our seeing; the problem is our perception; the problem is we are in the same position as Nicodemus trying to figure out a spiritual birth with a natural idea of what birth is. Right now we have in our minds a thousand ideas about “church”, and I guarantee that most of those thoughts, most of those ideas you have about “church”, are tradition; they are earthly, they are worldly, they are NATURAL. They are not spiritual. We all have ideas about buildings and steeples; denominations and congregations; preachers, programs, the worship service; Easter and Christmas; choirs, ushers, deacons, elders, boards; picnics, tithes and offerings; pastors, associate pastors, ministers; seminaries, Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, Youth Group; Sunday morning services, Sunday night services, Wednesday night services; prayer meeting, Men’s Meeting, Women’s Meeting, and on and on and on it goes. That is what we think about – all these outward things, quite natural, quite earthly, easily seen and heard and experienced. But do you think when Jesus said, “I will build My Ekklesia, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it” – do you think He’s talking about building some church building someplace in Jerusalem? Or having a place where people could come and hear somebody preach three times a week? Where they could come once or twice or three times a week and do some religious things and hold some ceremonies? Well, if you believe that’s what Jesus meant, then you are just like Nicodemus, trying to naturalize something the Lord intends as a spiritual, heavenly reality” (Brogden 2006, 7-9).

    Christ is not in the corporations of man that are called church. Christ is in His body of people that have been called out for Him alone. This body of His is not an organization, but is a living organism. Christ said He would have a spotless bride upon His return. He is not a liar, and He will hold true to His Word. The Lord is calling a people unto Himself that will be built into His house. The foundation of this house is Jesus Himself. This house cannot nor will not be destroyed. This temple is the apple of Jehovah’s eye. The precious jewels of the redeemed will radiate the light of the King. God’s glory will be displayed through His bride, the church, and these last days. It is time we earnestly sought God’s face in this hour. How much of what you practice as “church” can be found in the Bible? Who is the author of each meeting’s structure? Have you been indoctrinated by the religious system? Being called out of the world means that we no longer live by its system. There is no life in the things of this world. We have been called out unto Christ Himself, who is the head of our body. Those who are now in Christ are the ekklesia. God said, “I do not dwell in a temple made of hands.” It is time we got alone with God and asked Him what it is He has intended for us to be.

    -Ryan Holgate

    • Robin

      TL, DR.

  • shayne

    We can all talk about this and throw out bible verses at each other for the rest of our lives if we choose to. I think everyone is pretty much in agreement that the American church has over-emphasized and focused in on Sunday morning worship rather than 24/7 worship.

    So my question is then (and please don’t Jesus juke me) what are some practical ways we can change this? If we hear things like this and we all know it needs to change, but we never do anything but pontificate endlessly on the subject…then something is definitely wrong with us.

    Thoughts? Ideas? Anyone?

    • Find people who are like minded and meet with them? House churches are reproducing the gospel around the world, why wouldn’t they do the same here? Just a thought……

      • Raf

        Sheldon I couldn’t agree more. Home church is how the gospel started. Paul and the guys didn’t have flashy powerpoints and huge churches. They met at homes and did what was needed to spread the gospel. From my eyes church in america has become more business.

      • Misty

        I’m a part of a thriving organic home church group, and it is the most authentic representation of Christ’s Gospel I believe I have found.

      • Hannah

        I think the question is less about where you go on Sunday morning and more about what you do with your other 6 days of the week. I personally attend a small church, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with going to a large service.
        As far as Mon-Sat ideas go…
        -meet with other Christians in your nieghborhood or in your workplace/school to pray for witnessing opportunities in your everyday community
        -start a small Bible study, invite your next door neighbors/co-workers/etc.
        -find ways to serve people, even in small ways (shovel the snow off your neighbor’s walk, help them rake their leaves, invite them over to dinner, get to know them and invest in their lives)

        I think it starts with me. Am I living out my Christianity in a way that pleases God? Am I showing Him in my life with my words and my actions?
        “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” 1 John 4:12

        • Susan

          Quit cutting down and casting stones at church today as it is. How about we walk into the buildings, the rememnant that we may be, and worship freely, pray for people right there, pray for healing and for God to show up. Let the Holy Spirit move. Pray for our leadership (they especially are under Spiritual attack). Recognize we have an enemy and his name is Satan.It is not other Christians who worship differerently. Don’t attach offenses to a person, but rather recognize this Spiritual War we are all in. Put on the full Armor of God, read his word, pray for hunger for his word. Make every day count for God and be on the look out for divine encounters and then boldly reach out.
          Can we just please not allow blogs like this, or others with a voice, to continually degrade the church. This tearing down is not from God it is from Satan. Let only things come up of our mouth, blogs and communication be things that build one another up.
          We serve the Creator of the Universe, the One who can heal, the one who can provide, the one who can supernaturally give an untalented man/woman a talent that can be used by Him, we can overcome ANY dart the enemy throws at us by declaring God’s Word, He is amazing God and we can rely on him to send a revival that expands outside the 4 walls of the church building!!!! Hallelujah!!!

  • I agree. In Savannah, GA, we have to think differently and what will work for our CULTURE. As we discovered, what works in Atlanta, will not work in Savannah (and so on). A + B + C does not = church plant success. There is no magic formula!

    That’s why the First Sunday of each month we don’t meet for ‘worship services’. We get out of the walls and serve our community. It’s way more attractional. We’ve seen more growth there than we have a service.

    Bottom line, for our culture, that’s what works. It fits our model and vision. Cool lights and rocking music just doesn’t cut it anymore. It’s time to think specific for our culture and get outside of the buildings. Meet the people where they are.

  • tsquare21

    A Prayer From Jesus

    It’s finally come down to this, I knew it would eventually. Unfortunately for YOU, who have missed the mark, which means you are going to hell. Your portion will be in the lake of fire. Don’t be offended at me, it’s your preacher, or that radio personality, even that man that told you that you are saved, blame them. Then again when your screaming in the pit it really doesn’t matter whose at fault, does it. For it is your responsibility to know the way of salvation.

    Why? You ask. Simply, you trusted man to lead you to Christ. Not once have you asked Jesus if you are saved. If you did you never waited for an answer. There is only one that we should ask on how to be saved, that is Christ Jesus.

    Jesus has made it easy for you to know where you will stand on the last day. Pray this Prayer, and Jesus will answer all who diligently seeks Him.

    These are the last days, This is your last chance.
    Pray the Prayer, and KNOW!

    – A PRAYER FROM JESUS –

    This prayer is from Jesus that we may hear from Him, that He may speak to our hearts. It only consist of three simple steps.

    1) We need to read one scripture. This will focus us in the word that brings everlasting life.

    2) Since this prayer is from Jesus we need to direct our prayer to Him personally. Too often Christian focuses they’re prayer’s to G_D the father. Scripture proclaims that Jesus should be the focus of our prayer.

    3) The simplest part of this Prayer is to ask Jesus one question. Please, all that is required for this question is that it should be simple. Let Jesus Himself finish the question when He gives you that understanding through this prayer.

    The PRAYER

    The scripture that is the focus of this prayer is “ACTS 2:38”. It’s not necessary to do any study into this scripture. Jesus Himself will give you the understanding that will resonate in your heart. Just read Acts 2:38, keep it in your heart and take this one scripture to prayer

    The most important part of this prayer is that we need to direct our prayer directly to Jesus. If you normally would say Father in your prayer, change your focus from the Father to Christ Jesus, by lifting Jesus name up every time you would normally use Father in your prayer.

    Maybe the hardest part of this prayer is the question that we need to ask Jesus. For man as we are, always trying to understand the question instead of listening to the answer. The simplest question is all that is required.

    Simply ask Jesus ‘WHY’

    For those who are obedient
    tsquare777(at)gmail.com

  • Jbrace8459

    Well said!
    What if the church didn’t have buildings and real estate? What if we started to put into practice all that we know? What if we all become the church?
    The best way we have to attract others is for us to “be the church”.

  • This is definitely something that came up with planning for our campus ministry last semester. Now, instead of inviting people to come to us and check out our church, our church is going out into the campus and pretty much invading it, at least that’s the plan.

  • Tj

    Thank you! We have to get back to what the church of Acts did and evangelize the world by preaching the gospel with signs following. I keep getting this feeling that since some of these churches (lots of them doing ok with the cool stuff, dont get me wrong) cant get the Holy Spirit touching hearts, they will need the lights, sound and smoke to move their emotions and create a wizard of oz effect on the people.

  • ouch.

    Probably a lot of these buildings will not be able to be maintained by the next generation of upcoming Christians so they will eventually go away. NextGen followers of Christ have been shown to give more directly to missions, charity, outreach, etc – but NOT as much to churches directly through tithing (etc)… we have a different idea of what “church” should look like… so I think we will start seeing a lot more churches pop up in movie theaters at random times of the week than on the corner of a city block only on Sunday mornings where an entire building structure is needed.

  • I think you raise some good points here.

    With all due respect though, the “attractional model” church has put you, loswhit, on the map – and continues to pay your bills. Hear me out, (it’s hard to hear my tone of voice through words on a screen) – not trying to be a hater, by any means – just trying to understand where you’re coming from. So.. I’m wondering, are you willing to give up on the attractional model church? If so, it seems like your calendar would be emptied pretty quickly.

    As much as I agree with a lot of what you’re saying in this post, it’s just a little interesting/confusing to hear it coming from a guy who makes his living through the attractional church model. Again, NOT trying to be a hater – I guess, I’m not quite sure that I understand it, yet. I guess we’ll have to wait and see how far this goes.

    • Los

      I don’t think that my gift of leading worship has anything to do with attractional models of church.
      At. All.
      And if those involved in this model do not ask the hard questions of themselves, then they are blind.
      I hope you ask the hard questions of yourself as well.

    • I think you have a legitimate point cameron if Carlos needed attractional stuff to lead others in worship (lights, camera, action type of stuff) but I think the reason carlos has a full schedule of leading gigs is because of his gift of being a relational worship leader. Not because he can sing, play guitar, or has a bald head. But because he has a unique way of making a connection with a crowd. So you can strip away all the attractional stuff you want, it simply comes down to making a connection…and that connection starts with or comes from the Father above and then moves throughout the service.

      • Kyle, you are right on. No HD screens or laser light show here – just relational worship. It is Carlos’ connection with a crowd. Even a crowd of one:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDmibnRyhj4

        Love you, Carlos.

        • NotFromCalifornia

          Bad example. That was not an audience of one, it was a video shoot with the same goal as an attractional church, to reach an audience of thousands or millions. If it were a true audience of one, you would have never seen it.

          The fallacy is assuming that technology is the marker, that the big production is the marker, and if we’re not spending the budget on HD screens and smoke machines, then we have avoided the pitfall.

          That is as much a denial as running on autopilot with the big production every Sunday.

          I see the culture of the worship leader to be just as damaging to authenticity and the local congregation as any big production focus. Worship leaders travelling around building followings. Or the culture of the conference circuit, building the cult of personality, the big name that is a must see.

          Attractional can be built on any number of things, not just technology and production.

          So, are we really ready to ask ourselves the hard questions, strip away the easy deflectors of “I don’t spend my budget on this gadget or that” and examine the root issues?

          Cameron has a point. I think most of us, Carlos included, have not pursued the hard question far enough.

          • Very well said.

            I’m absolutely, 100% willing to look in the mirror and ask the hard questions. My point was that I’m curious to see if this moves beyond a blog post for Carlos. Let me reiterate that I’m not being a hater of the loswhit-ness. That being said, I feel like blog posts like this – are a dime-a-dozen and rarely move beyond this point. Yes, we all need to ask the hard questions, yes – we all need to look in the mirror. And then…..? Don’t we need to make a change of some sort?

            So, that’s what I’m curious to see where this will lead… not only for Carlos, but for many others that have commented and agreed here.

          • I can see what you are saying.

            A prof in college said to me when talking about how to write a sermon:

            “the content should be the overflow of your heart.”

            I think he was exactly right…the message, the music, the whatever should be the overflow of the heart that we are constantly filling up with God. Though that sounds cliche and cheesy it is the hardest thing to do.

      • kennyd

        But the bald head is kinda hot…

  • Amen! Totally agree. But churches are in a pissing contest a lot of the time and they don’t even fully realize it I think. The Sodom and Gomorah, that is “American church culture” has made them believe a lie. We are all so very jacked up here.

  • God is speaking to both of us! I got the same memo.
    On 1.1.11 I blogged on Crystal Cathedral and FutureChurch
    http://bit.ly/fOf1lo

  • Last weekend, we sang We Will Worship as part of the opening worship time…. and we came to the part where it says “Save us from these comforts…” and I almost had to laugh out loud…

    We meet in an old high school. The school district built a new one several years ago, so the building we use is a thorn in their side. It’s inefficient and expensive to heat. So with temps in the teens, the auditorium was frigid. There’s no heat in the kid’s area, so it was good the games were active.

    We were definitely not comfortable — it was cold, especially to sit in for an hour… but people came anyway, and hung out after to talk to each other about their new years celebrations, and what’s going on in each other’s lives.

    I agree…it’s the people that will bring them in, not the building or whizbang services.

  • Chad

    I agree with the thought of this post. I have read recently that of every 100 dollars given to churches in tithes/offerings that only 1 penny of that 100 dollars is spent to support missions that go to the unreached people groups of the world. I think the church has bought into a purpose driven marketing system to get people in the church when the model of the book of Acts for church growth is fellowship, prayer, discipleship, exhortation, worship, and evangelism. The Crystal Cathedral situation reflects poorly on Christendom (even if we have nothing to do with their poor money management). Hopefully good change can come to our churches so we can be lights in the darkness!

  • Jon

    Wait…you mean we should trust God for the growth of our church? That’s CRAZY talk!

  • Most everything has been said, but I still want to weigh in on this. (And defend Los a little bit, cause I like his bald head.)

    I think the attractional model of church is bunk and always has been. Why are we using church services to try and draw people in? To me, Sunday mornings are about edifying the body and building the local church up through the shared experience of worship and teaching. Will some non-believers walk through those doors? Absolutely they will, but Sunday is not about them. We shouldn’t attempt to make it that way.

    Bringing people in has to be done through witnessing, through serving, through being that light we are called to be every day. It’s not going to happen because our band rocks (and it does, at least to us). It’s not going to happen because our pastor is awesome (and he is, at least to us). People will come to know Christ because of the way we live our lives, because we live in such a way that worship is a lifestyle and not just the songs we sing on Sunday. As our church lives that lifestyle, people see it. The Holy Spirit grabs them and their eyes are opened to the wonder of our hope in Christ. We play an active part in this by what we do outside of the church walls, but we give all the credit to God for what He accomplishes in the hearts of others.

    In our church we’ve seen significant growth numerically in the last year, but most importantly, we’ve seen amazing growth spiritually in our people. Our church is seeking Jesus through the Bible, through prayer, and it shows on the faces and in the walk of many people.

    I don’t think Los is being a hypocrite on this issue. I don’t see what you do as being part of any model of church, more as something that provides a soundtrack to the modern church. Like many worship leaders/bands before you, you are expressing your heart and love for God through music. This is what we do as musicians and as people. Some write books, some speak to others, some watch children, some clean toilets, some greet others, but all have a gift and a skill given by God that helps the body and glorifies Him.

    • Clay, you and others seem to contend that the “attractional model” of church doesn’t work and never has. What do you do about the fact that Carlos’ past church, Buckhead, is reaching new people, 58% of which are unchurched? And, the church is growing spiritually and numerically. Is it all fake? Are those Christians not real? I’m sure Los could share some stories about life change he saw in that place.

      I think there is a huge difference between churches who only try to “attract” (or don’t try at all) and churches who’s members live missionally and partner with their church to reach people.

      • Let me clarify a bit.

        I mean that the “build it and they will come” attractional idea is bunk. If something grows out of what God is doing in a church, then more power to them, but what I don’t like is the bigger, bigger, bigger mentality that seems to be prevalent in some areas. Instead of spending all that money to build a huge building so we can have bigger events, why not spend more of that money to directly help those who need it?

        I never said that it’s fake. As with all things, there are good and bad examples of it. I have no doubt that God has and will continue to work through these types of churches.

        The churches that only try to attract or do nothing are the ones that I disagree with.

  • Ryan Holgate

    The Gospel is what works!! period

  • Pingback: Will The Attractional Church Outreach Method Last? « Out Of The Gray()

  • My church fell into the trap of “If we build it they will come” and I believe we’re now living the hard lesson that that’s not necessarily the case. Attendance has only marginally increased, and we’re left with a building with lots of empty chairs on Sundays.

    My experience has been that it’s the relationships we build that bring people. Especially how we respond in times of trials, when most worldly people take to anger, bitterness and various forms of destructive coping.

    So I will continue to love people and hope they show up, maybe I can whittle away at the empty chairs a few at a time….

  • Debbie

    I frequently am drawn back to the model Christ set before us….of all the different ways he could have done it….he chose 12…..12 that he could pour into, knowing those 12 would move forward and disciple more on their own. Having that closeness…the opportunity to work with them, respond to them, mentor, correct, etc. Much easier to build up in smaller groups than to try to herd the masses.

  • You nailed it. This is the ONE thing my husband and I have been discussing for over a year now. There is so much fear in the Christian community that is not being faced concerning the message we are commissioned to spread. It is not happening on Sunday mornings – it is happening out there in life, in people’s living rooms. Over a cup of coffee at McD’s. Standing in line at WalMart. Getting out of your comfort zone of the pretty boundaries of your Church, and getting out there in the mess of life, addressing other peoples’ messes and letting them know there is Hope that can help them handle that mess a whole lot better than the world can.

    Christians need to quit being so afraid of getting their hands dirty in others’ lives. Being a Christian is not a “clean” job…it is very messy! Getting involved, I mean really involved (not just the nicety conversations about family and your job being so great, or not so great), in peoples’ lives is where God does the greatest work. It is messy – but it is worth it. Brokenness is messy, and Christians need to quit being so darn afraid of being broken themselves; and afraid of others brokenness. Brokenness isn’t the problem – it is a lack of courage and taking a risk of getting uncomfortable for the sake of God doing something amazing. The only way this fear is going to be tackled, is if more people quit whining about it – and get out there and be the example. And yes…I am.

  • Reggie

    “But Islam is not the fastest growing religion in America because of their services. It is because of it’s followers.”

    Well said Los.

    I just saw Francis Chan’s message online at Passion 2011. So convicting, especially when he talks about the Christians he visited in nations where life-threatening persecution is the norm. After describing to them what church is like in America (for the purpose of just describing it, not to tell a joke), they just busted out laughing in disbelief.

    He asked them, “Do you guys have people who call themselves Christians, but who don’t really practice what you read in the Bible?” and they were confused by the question because calling yourself a Christian in those nations is putting your life in danger, so nobody calls themselves a Christian without understanding the cost.

    Such a contrast, in so many ways, to how we do church here in the U.S. I’m a worship leader for the young adult group at my church and I admit that I’m guilty of trying to find ways to “attract” people through the worship experience. I’ve spent my time lately thinking deeply and questioning what we do, and trying to figure out how to align what we do to what is written in the Bible.

    • annie

      Reggie,
      I’m blown away by that story from Francis Chan … it really is a testament to the words we Americans use so lightly and how much power there really is in them.

  • “Acttractional?” “Attractionally?” Don’t let the church machine steal your language capabilities, Carlos. Resist it! Attractional is not a word. Nor is “revisionize” or any of the other mutated words that the church invented to “grow the business.”

  • Joshua

    I haven’t read all of the other posts. As I youth pastor, I was on staff at a church that decided to relocate due to being landlocked. Once the new building was completed, the mentality of the church was exactly the title of this blog post.

    My ministry philosophy was beginning to butt heads with the church’s ministry philosophy, so I became a casualty of it. Because the youth ministry wasn’t “growing” I was let go.

    After a short break, I am happy to be in a church that supports my philosophy.

    • Michael

      I had an eerily similar experience, except my portfolio was worship/small groups/media – “those are not areas condusive to growing the church” was the reason given.

  • My first response to your post was “yeah! Preach it Los!” Then I took a deep breath and wondered if there’s not a place for all of it. It seems to me way too many times we make this an either/or situation. Either we have the big church service or we’re out being “missional” in the world. I think we need both. We need the church services to refresh, energize, train and equip His people. Then we need to take that energy outside the walls and go forward from there.

    • Los

      I said it will reaCh a small part of America. That’s not a either or right? There is room for it all. But it seems like it is the answer when it is not.

  • liz

    Great post. Interesting comments. Does this fact mean anything to this discussion? 3,500 people a day leave THE CHURCH. We’re desperate to get them ‘in’ – they are desperate to get ‘out’. Are we responsible for them, to them? Do you even care about those we ‘run out’?

  • Kenny

    Yup – it’s supposed to be Incarnational versus Attractional. But Attractional is a loaded word anyway and depends on context. Because ultimately, what is more “attractive” than the true gospel and disciples being made who actually follow the Jesus of the Bible? We’ve made this thing a business. As we all know, a lot of nonbelievers don’t have a problem with Jesus and are actually pretty attracted to Him. So if His people followed Him and actually lived into His nature imparted unto us, what would that then mean?

  • I recently just left a church as a worship pastor because of this attractional aspect. When it started it was really good. The church was committed to creating a “healthy community of people who love God and others.” just this past summer they moved into a bigger building.

    Now the concern is how to put on a bigger show so more people can come in to pay the bills. I’m having a hard time with this whole church programming thing. I’m at the point where I would just rathe serve the homeless or my neighbor rather than attend a service on Sunday.

    I wonder what Jesus is thinking about the American church right now?

    • I think He is thinking it is His bride.

    • Misty

      The “American church” has nothing to do with a building. You might more accurately wonder what he thinks of all these huge buildings and programs we are creating for his church to participate in.

  • Josh

    Ok. Here is one point that hasn’t been mentioned yet. In the context of the big or Mega church or the churches under the build it and they will come mentality. Christ is the center of all and His teachings and the Word of God. The simple act of having a structure or the lights bells and whistles isn’t enough. All of these are just tools to be used to further His kingdom. When the focus isn’t on Christ but on the resources and extra content we fall short. Just an opinion of a next generation leader and creative arts doer. Thanks.

  • living in nashville, everyone is a musician. churches have their pick of great players. part of the reason my husband (a mix engineer) and i chose our church is because there is no production in the worship. just a well played acoustic set that gets out of God’s way. hard to find in a church these days. more’s the pity.

    well played, los.

  • I like to think about how the Sermon on the Mount would have looked had Jesus used PowerPoint….or even older school, a projector. I can see Peter flipping the transparencies when Jesus moved on to the next point, only to not realize for five minutes, that the transparency was backwards.

    And of course Jesus wouldve been rocking one of those Brittany Spears headset microphones. Frees the hands up, so he can easily emphasize his points and talk with his hands.

    • A.

      LOL!

  • You’ve said what I’ve been thinking about for awhile. My church is great at missions, but it’s under the umbrella of we’ll send the individuals who are called versus the let’s get ourselves out the door and into our community. The pastoral staff is slowly working on changing that…I’m hoping soon that sometime we will replace our Sunday service for a week w/ service in our community.

  • Joey Bergeron

    I’m gonna keep this short. Church should never be about the building or equipment. The relationships of loving another person is and should be the foundation no matter how large the community. Personally I’d be happy having service next to a river or under a massive oak tree. Just my two cents on thefeneration that is coming is after truth, not lights and smoke.

  • kennyd

    Way to kick things in the nuts, Los. Oh, did that offend? Sorry…moving on.

    I think we do put a bit much emphasis on the shiny, flashy stuff sometimes. But I do think that it can be a pretty neat way to get folks through the door who I might not otherwise have a conversation with Monday – Saturday. And once I have the opportunity to have a conversation with them, it is up to me to let them see what “Christian” might mean. The cool band or neat facility won’t lead them to a relationship with that Jesus guy, but it might get them, in a physical way, to a place where I will have an opportunity to introduce them to my little Friend.

    That being said, if I leave all of my relationship with Christ in that building when I head home Sunday afternoon, I missed to boat too.

    Cool buildings and bald worship leaders from out of town can be a tool I use to serve Christ. If they aren’t, shame on me.

    Don’t care whether or not you are an attraction at my church or not, I think at the end of the day, you have a heart for Christ and you wear it on your sleeve for all to see. You might not do it right all the time, but you do it. And you do it big. Keep doing it.

  • Carlos-

    Thanks as always for your thoughts. I’m one of those guys that always reads your blog but doesn’t always comment, because it feels like just repeating the other 100s of comments. haha But I really do appreciate your thoughts. They challenge me, just like this one did. I’m definitely not sure of the answer to the question. I am on staff at a church that I suppose you’d call the attractional model. I hope that doesn’t mean it’s bad…haha… I don’t think our church is bad. But I struggle with the same question. Is there a balance, to being attractive somewhat and then moving to simply investing in those people? Thanks for making me think.

    Luke

  • Los, I love your direct approach to tough issues and topics that others are afraid to address or even discuss.

    I believe the “build it and they will come” model suffers from serious flaws. We “Christians” spend lots of money to build and expand nice buildings and then expect “non-Christians” or “unbelievers” to come to a fancy facility to be around a group of people they aren’t completely familiar with to be told how bad they are?

    My family and I left a similar situation recently. We, along with others, are feeling led to create a house church/home fellowship network. Why? I believe my neighbor may come join me for breakfast before he would get dressed up to go to a “church”. Also, we want to engage our community at a granular level. Meet and serve people where they are.

    Does that mean the larger gathering is dead? No.
    Does it work for reaching those in our communities? Some.

    The sad part is that too many Sunday mornings (and Saturdays, and Fridays, etc) have become another country club moment for “Christians”.

    Gather.
    Visit.
    Gossip….er..um…Pray about others.
    Enjoy a feel good message (b/c I’ll leave and take my money with me if the pastor gets too personal…and he knows it)
    Rinse.
    Repeat next week.

    We are here for the community any time they want to come to us (during service times and office hours – of course).

  • Jimmy

    I believe one important thing that has occurred in the “mega church” model with the coffee house, shops, production studios, entertainment, gymnasium, work out facility, schools, etc. is it has caused Christ followers a safe place to have community and making it easy to essentially hide from the rest of the world. Donate to the mission trip to Central America, bring in food items and clothes for the needy, and pull an angel off the Christmas tree. All great things to do, but you don’t ever have to leave the comfort and entertainment of the church walls.

  • There have been so many other comments I don’t really have anything different to add. I agree with your thoughts and have been trying to live it out personally, since I don’t seem to have much sway in my local church.

    It has always struck me as odd that people would encourage you to have a quiet time for x minutes/hours every day and then prepare a written testimony to share with “non-believers”. How is that going to help anyone?

    If I were to instead, read my Bible regularly but not “religiously”, learn to interact with God during my daily life, and worship my Creator in every activity, then I’d like to think my God would use my life as a testimony to Him.

    And then, when I struggle and/or come alongside someone else who is struggling or suffering, I hope and pray that there wouldn’t be comfort from me, but from the Jesus they’ve seen in me and from the Holy Spirit that is with me.

    I don’t have any really good suggestions on how to translate this to churches other than to encourage and allow for honest, broken, suffering people to share life with other struggling, doubting, authentic people. I think if we could allow people to be who they really are in front of other real people, the church would grow itself.

    The church is not attractive; Jesus is attractive.

  • Eric

    I just so happen to spend a few days on the slopes with a brand new Christian (we’re talking days old) with no Church background whatsoever. We discussed this very topic. His thoughts were right along with this post.

    Could it be that all the showy things we do in the Church these days are better at reaching the marginal, dare I say “luke warm” Christians who are looking for the next best thing than they are at reaching non-Christians for whom these services were originally designed?

    • annie

      things that make you go HMMM?

    • Papa

      Great point.

  • Great word, Los!

    As long as we’re taking the gospel, not just “good deeds”, we should be going out there and reaching out to others. And ALL of us, not just the pastoral staff or lay leaders. The entire body of Christ.

  • annie

    I’ve read through all the comments. Here are my random thoughts:

    (1) I’m saddened that anyone would think that Los is part of the problem. I think that if he was guilty of any part of the whole “pot calling himself black” thing, God would have handled him by now. Or MetroMom would have. For sure Whittaker Woman would have.

    (2) I think the original idea of being “attractional” as a church was God-centered. Or maybe not. Hard to know what was in their hearts. It’s not my job to try to figure out what the intention WAS, just what it IS and what part I’m playing in it. God knows. I’m good with that.

    (3) While reading through all these things, the one visual I keep getting is of a triangle. It was shared with my singles group MANY moons ago. God is at the top, I’m on one side and my Beloved is on the other. As we keep moving toward God, moving up our side of the triangle, doing what we are called to do, with our eyes on Him, we begin to draw closer to each other. I wonder … if we as a corporate body and as individual people would start doing this type of worship, this kind of “life”, would we see our churches expand? Would we see our current congregations grow in their faith? And more importantly, would we see our communities come to the Christ we talk about on Sundays?

    Like someone else said, there’s no formula. God’s bigger than that. And I agree that there’s room for all these parts. However, there’s ALWAYS got to be room made for God and what He wants in the Church. In fact, the whole room/gym/rented storefront/Crystal Cathedral is His to do with it as He pleases.

    In the end, that’s the only thing we need to remember.

  • I didn’t have time to read all 65 comments so I apologize if i’m repeating something that’s already been said.

    The word “go” seems pretty key in the great commission. I have heard the phrase “compel them to come” used in defence of “attractional” models, however, the phrase had a very cultural meaning (see Kenneth E. Bailey’s “Poet & Peasant”). Jesus said that He is the way, truth, and light…perhaps this model is declaring the “truth” but leaving out the “way” (which begs the question – is it the whole truth?). Eugene Peterson’s writting is really challenging in this regard.

    All of that being said, it seems that there is a fine line to walk with our creativity. Perhaps the problem is not that we’re too creative, but not creative enough. It’s interesting that the first reference in your post is with regards to architecture. Look at the churches that are being built now. Can you say Starbucks? I’m a coffee guy (Octane in ATL!) but when we build our churches I think we build primarily for “function” and ignore “form”. We want a starbucks type feel…why? I wonder how many times the question “what are we trying to say about God?” comes up. In many of the older churches (not the orange carpeted ones that I grew up in) in is noticeable that this question was asked when the church was built. I love walking in a church and feeling a reverence for God before a word is spoken. Maybe what we need is a different set of questions, instead of “what will draw the people”, for example, “what does this say about God”?

  • Steve Stewart

    Jesus’ message was clear, GO! But he also had a come and see side of His ministry as well. The problem is not attractional ministry models. The problem lies in the fact that some churches “only” have attractional style ministry. There are however, many churches who have great attractional services and build fully devoted followers of Christ through passionate and heartfelt processes for spiritual growth. The argument that small is better or more holy is not only wrong but unbiblical. If those who came before us held the mindset of small is better then many of us would still be lost and going to hell. No one style will reach everybody but our mandate is to reach the world. If we do our part, God has always been faithful to do His.

  • Not easy words to speak with todays church culture…but thank you. “They will know you are Christians by your love”…not by the laser show in the multi-million dollar auditorium.

  • Michael Schutz

    Just a comment from another point of view. I’m a full-time worker (Dir. of Worship and Discipleship) in a Lutheran church. I too have great difficulties with the attractional model. Most in my tribe do as well. BUT, I would say that many in my tribe value attractional models of a different sort (and they wouldn’t call it that at all). We believe that a worship service is a place where people come to do two things: receive God’s gifts and thank Him for them. His gifts are His Word, which we expect to hear preached (both Law and Gospel), and the gift of the Sacraments, Baptism and Communion. Then we respond in prayer, song, etc. and go to carry those gifts with us and give them to the world around us.

    So many in my tribe are all about getting people to “go to church” (though I don’t like that phrase), since that’s where they can receive God’s great gifts and fellowship with others. In that sense, I am in favour of “getting people in the seats”. But not by using gimmicks or giving people’s comfort priority over the full counsel of God.

    The difficulties that arise in my tribe, though, are the definitions of what are “gimmicks”. For example, some would see any sort of “contemporary” music and liturgies as gimmicks, which I would not. I think the broad issues that we all face are similar, but within my tribe the specific challenges are very different than what I would expect in other tribes.

    All that is to say, the “attractional model” that we all think of is not something I can get behind. But from my point of view, wanting people to be in worship is a valid thing, if there are valid things going on during worship, and if worship is seen in its proper place, not as the *only* place where God works, but as a place where God refreshes us with His gracious gifts so that we can carry His grace with us into our everyday lives.

    Los, I know this probably isn’t the place for it, but I would be interested to know more about your work with churches and how it does relate to this whole issue of attractional vs. missional-or-whatever-other-word-one-wants-to-insert-here.

    Thanks for being a catalyst for thought and discussion!

  • I totally believe we should be investing in our congregations. Helping them to grow and be Jesus in their local communities. I think this makes much more sense.

    However, I can’t even work out how to speak to my next door neighbor let alone others in my neighborhood.

    But I can stick up a road sign in my yard, or at our intersection. I can send facebook invites to my church services.

    We need to be doing both.

  • jay

    i agree with you los, so encouraged that the Lord is guiding in this direction.

  • I wonder if some of this, whether it be gold in Catholic churches (also in OT temple), stained glass or other material spending on churches is almost an artistic thing, where people are trying to give God their best, or perhaps set a mood for worship. As a former Catholic, looking at the stained glass contemplatively is something I periodically do.

  • Jim

    I agree Carlos. And your point boils down to one word. Discipleship.

  • I think the bottom line is that Jesus commanded us to make disciples, not experiences. Sometimes, experiences do lead to disciple making, but not always. Our focus has to be Christ-likeness for ourselves first, and then, we must try to apprentice others. It doesn’t matter how you do it nearly as much as if you’re doing it!

    I think the bigger problem than attractional vs. missional is that most church staff members haven’t led any friends/family members/neighbors to Christ in the last year. They do it at “work”, but there is a disconnect somewhere in the process…

  • Rick

    well said los…refreshing. I moved from a large church, rich in resource, to a smaller rural church who has little. Both churches (or styles for the sake of discussion) have the same need: The grace of Jesus.

    I love the challenge to be servants representing Christ…your heart did not fall on deaf ears.

    thanks.

  • I think we sometimes look at “Go” in the Great Commission the wrong way. In an effort to trash the “attractional” church model, we pretend like Jesus never said “come to me” and we act like there is little benefit to bringing someone to experience the body of Christ made up of multiple believers rather than just 1 person. I think all of that is needed. Go and come.

    Sure, we can add production things that can help or hinder people from experiencing Christ through His Church gathering, but we probably shouldn’t act like there is never a time to invite people to something bigger, whether that’s a small group or a service of 2000 people. At some point, we’re asking them to come to something we’ve “built”.

    The other hurdle is that “attractional” anything is still what most Americans are used to. That isn’t true for most nations dominated by Islam.

  • Can someone give me back the 15 minutes I spent reading this debate?

  • Dan

    Great post. As a staffer at a large church that some would call attractional, I see both sides. Some people definitely come for the cool factor, and others come to be fed and go out into the world. What it really comes down to is who/what do you worship? The pastor, the buildings, or Jesus? Every person has to answer that question themselves regardless of where they say church is.

  • Jordan

    Here’s my two cents. I feel like the whole “big church” vs. “small church” argument has become the newest way for christians to argue about something. It seems like, in some circles, (not necessarily this one) that people spend more time debating how to DO church and not how to BE the church. I happen to work at a church of about 2200 people with a huge sanctuary, HD projectors and even a TV ministry. By all classifications, a BIG church. The thing that keeps us on track is our life groups. While we had and average monthly attendance of 2200, we had 2350 people in life groups every month. We meet in a big building and little buildings (homes) every week, and it works. The thing we’ve had to do is really remind people that they are the church and its not just a building. The services are the place where everyone can come together as a big community and worship and hear a great teaching from our pastor, and then take that home and talk about it with their life group. Its working and lives are being changed. Remember that numbers represent souls and not just success.

    As long as Jesus remains the center and not just the success of the ministry, it doesn’t matter what it looks like.

    • Los

      But that is notthe argument here.

  • I use to be a muslim with the nation of Islam, and one thing you will never find in Islam. A dr. who’s muslim, a police officer who’s muslim, or a teacher who’s muslim. However, you will find a muslim who is a Dr., police officer, or a teacher. Their faith is more important than anything else and their identity in based on the muslim faith not my job or position. So it is easy for a muslim to talk about Islam because it’s who he is, not what he does. Christainity is what christians do not who they are, so living it outside of the church walls is almost impossible. I am a believer in Christ it’s not just something I do on the weekends.

    • Albert

      And if you listen closely, that’s the sound of a nail’s head that went right through the wood and out the other side.

      Bravo, marv-o.

    • Thank you for your comment. Your comment was something I never thought about before but know that it is totally true. We as Christians need to be Christians first and everything else second.

  • Tim

    It is not a problem to be solved, but a tension to be managed.

    • Jimmy

      Yes. And tension is a good thing.

    • Dan

      someone’s been listening to Andy Stanley! 🙂

      • Tim

        Exactly.

        I guess my main point is that we don’t want to let the pendulum swing too far the other way. Rather, we want to find that place within the middle where the harvest is plentiful AND the Spirit is shaking.

        There are tools that God gives us to reach new audiences who otherwise wouldn’t darken the doorway of a church. We can take those and overstate their significance, even leaning on them over the Spirit, that’s our fault though; it doesn’t mean those things are inherently bad. Many sins are perverted twists on things God originally intended to be good. We just get them all botched by not reminding ourselves who the giver is.

        Obviously I’m not preaching a gospel of excess, but I am an advocate for excellence and bringing our best.

    • Carrie

      Totally agree. That’s why these questions need to be asked if not only to look inside our own hearts and see how we can manage the tension between the two.

  • Rut

    Hmmmm, interesting discussion. I find myself in the same place I invariably do when discussing this topic, and that is… Why do we pit these two ideas against each other as an either or? Why do we believe that doing an attractional church model precludes that we are not able to do relational ministry on the 6 days between these services? Have we somehow now come to a place where we believe that there is “ONE” way and only “one” (not referring to Jesus-just a Sunday service model) that reaches all people? I believe that both of these models work. I believe that both are in fact necessary. Jesus taught in the Synagaues, hung at parties with the elite and outcasts, had his 12, his 3, his 1 to teach and mentor… you get the point. Attractional, litergic, whatever… As a follwer of Christ, how are you plugging into your church and how are you using your gifts to step outside the wals of your church to reach those who are coming?The church is people, not organizations.

  • As a house LD at a church, I totally get both sides of this argument. There are several big things that blare out at me when I look at myself. One: when I do get to spend money or add to my tech attractiveness, am I spending money to spend it, or am I purchasing something that will let me use my gifts to further Christ’s message. Two: is there another ministry that could use the money more than mine. Three: no matter how much attractiveness we have inside the church, are we demonstrating it outside the church.

    Number three is what I often have the hardest time with. It doesn’t take a huge outreach budget or team if every time we leave our house we become that outreach. And I’ll guarantee you each and every one of us struggles with that. Its hard for me, commuting to a day job outside the church to keep Christ focused in all my activity.

    But before I tangent too much, I think the biggest focus for me personally would be twofold: how can I exemplify Christ to draw unbelievers to him -and- how can I motivate my volunteers to do the same.

  • yo Carlos –

    PREACH it bro. I’ve said for a long time that the “Field of Dreams” evagelism is not right nor is pumping thousands of dollars into equippment instead of equipping the saints.

    A church can manufacture growth by attractional means but disciples won’t be made.

    I like what AW Tozer said:

    “It is of far greater importance that we have better Christians than we have more of them. Each generation of Christians is the seed of the next, and degenerate seed is sure to produce a degenerate harvest not a little better than but a little worse than the seed from which it sprang.”

    The church needs to be living. It has two legs to take the gospel message where ever it goes. It has two knees that are bent often in prayer. It has two arms to show compassion to those around it. It has two eyes to see the need for a loving Savior. It has only one mouth and that mouth speaks the Word of God with authority, authenticity, and love. It only has one heart that beats after the will of the One who established it.

  • Jeff in Roswell

    In my situation, I agree. We were “attracted” and then subsequently disillusioned. It took about a year and a half. I wonder if the $5 million bridge to nowhere is helping in the attraction.

  • Vicki

    Sorry, just 2 more cents after reading other comments. Why is it an either/or? I say let’s use the Sunday service to attract people but if that is where it ends, then that is the crime. Using culture and the benefits it holds to attract people to church has been used quite successfully for many years. However, you can’t keep it at that level and expect Christians to mature, and then have them act maturely when they go out into their other contexts the rest of the week. It is all about balance. I highly recommend Deep Church by Jim Belcher as it talks about the tension between these two things and then offers a balance between the two. It will take a variety of approaches with a variety of people for the sake of the kingdom. I don’t think it is profitable for us to demonize good intentions (that have also worked for some people) and have the pendulum swing to the other side. That’s just reactionary. We need to be revolutionary, not reactionary if we want to inspire.

    • Carrie

      Well said. My church struggles with that balance and are constantly looking at ways to find that balance. I may check out that book. Thanks!

  • Wow! Good tension here. I find it funny sometimes that we get so proud of how we’ve busted out of a kind of mold like, “We moved to this stripped down church with just an acoustic, so refreshing…” as if music style has anything to do with what you were saying. The church was called to make disciples, bottom line. If the church is focused on that and does whatever they can to do that, rock on. If not, repent and refocus. Good word Los. Loved that vid up top too. Good stuff

  • mo

    I’m with you man. We’ve learned a lot by doing church in the middle of Detroit with not a lot of money.

    But please…don’t take my meatball and provolone sub…

  • Andy

    I read your blog pretty regularly. This is my first time to comment. I appreciate what you do. Press on1

    It doesn’t matter if a church is big or small or what elements they may use (as long as they’re tasteful) to attract people to come inside. What matters is what is done with the people once they are in the seats. Do we feed them a “feel good message” so they can leave feeling good about themselves because they’ve “been to church” and learned how to handle a strong willed child, deal with a difficult boss, get out of financial trouble? Do we sell them an easy gospel that talks about Jesus and the fact we need to know Him, leaving people to know Him in their heads but not their hearts? Do we talk to people about the need to “cross the line of faith” and be “saved” but stop short of telling them what they to be saved FROM?

    There are way more than enough churches around that emphasize how awesome their music is, how “cool” and hip the pastor is and how culturally relevant they strive to be. They are pretty adept at getting people IN the seats, but pretty dang pitiful at getting people OFF their seats and out the doors to reach a lost world. Christ did not die for us to be content putting forth a namby pamby, milk toast gospel. Not once did He ever pull His punches in proclaiming the Good News, telling people they MUST repent and that they MUST be born again or spend eternity in a real place called hell. A place more awful, horrific and terrible than anything the human mind can conceive of, much less adequately explain. But we have to try. For the local churches and the leaders of those churches are going to be held accountable for how they handled their CALLING to proclaim the gospel.

    When we become more concerned about looking, acting and being cool and culturally relevant than we are about being Christ like, we have abdicated any right to consider ourselves His church.

    And it is, after all, HIS church.

  • Jake

    Los. I like this one a lot. How much time during church staff meetings do we devote to figuring out how to get people to attend church verses how much time we devote during staff meetings to building up those we already have?

    Ephesians 11-13 has something to say about that I think.

  • Kevin Patrick

    If we call “church” a group of unbelievers who come and worship God but their heart isn’t in Christ, is that really church? I’m saying is that PREACH THE GOSPEL IN ITS PURITY. God’s Word ALONE IS ENOUGH to save. We should be preaching truth instead of being so culturally appealing that we LOSE the HARSHNESS of the good news towards a sinful culture. The Bible teaches LEARN TO LIVE not the method of live to learn. I’m just an 18 year old kid really, who’s going to listen to me. If we are to preach like Christ, we bring the good news to them, not them coming to the good news. BEING MISSIONAL IS WHAT CHRISTIANITY LACKS.

    • Carrie

      Keep speaking. You may be “just a kid”…but the words you say are true. Don’t let anyone tell you any different 🙂

  • Josh

    I’ve been a long time follower of this blog but never posted, the thing I love about it here is how it reminds me that every side of this discussion is really just a reminder that their are loads of people who believe Christians should be genuine and authentic followers of Jesus.

  • Glenn

    I must decrease… He must INCREASE

  • I grew in SLC, UT and converted to LDS/MORMON when I was 13. Not because I felt the message of Christ was great, but because I felt the compassion for myself was great. I was accepted, embraced, held by the body within the church. Now, I say that to say this, I also felt that if I did not become a part of the “church” I would not be accepted by my peers or embraced into anything my peers did. The church is everything in UT, or it was then.

    I moved to OKC, OK 3 years later and fell out of the church. I became a follower of Christ by accepting his grace at one of the largest churches in OKC and the most nontraditional megachurch by far in OKC; this was some time later, after becoming a young single mother, a high school drop out and a very lost person. It was not until then at the age of 20 did I see the difference between Christ and his love and grace and church walls.

    However, that megachurch in all its wonder and good intentions is great at bringing people in, building them up and sending them out into the world – it is not so good at bringing them into the fold and keeping them built up and supporting the Christ follower within the walls of the church. I love my church, its pastor and the people. I need more. I want to give more, I just feel lost in the megawalls they created.

    I graduated from OK Christian Univ. and had the opportunity to spend 3.5 years there. At first, it was very hard, faced with the rules and regulations of Church of Christ. I felt like I was in Utah and would not be accepted for me, only for my conformity to the guidelines they set in order to follow Christ. I bucked the system and fought each rule – it did not work and I convinced no one. Once I relaxed and listened to lectures I learned. I learned more about the gospels than I could have hoped. I still feel that some of their rules are ridiculous, but its a mute point. I found community stronger than I had felt since leaving Utah. I had help, hope, prayer, support and love than I missed in my megachurch.

    I say all this to show that I have been in both pews and I have found that community will win over congregation any day. So whether you rock out (which I love btw, love me some worship time) or sing without any rock what-so-ever it is the aftercare of the hand that is raised, how that new follower is supported before and after – everyone wants to be accepted, church is no different.
    However,

  • Carlos, why can’t we do both? We can be authentic Christians who know how to produce a great worship experience. I do not assume that well-executed production equals less life transformation. The two are not as connected as we think.

    We are called to be missional–its not a strategy. Attractional is a strategy. We are not called to it, but it can help us in our calling–our mission.

    Thanks for your influence Carlos!

    Rich

  • First, thanks for developing community and conversation here. I’ve been reading for 2 or 3 years now.

    Second… Quite a bit of passionate discussion on this topic. I dont want to get really deep (as others have) with the details of your post, rather I’d like to ask a question. I do agree that the church of today has falsely trusted in the notion that people will just come because of a building… My question is, is there a balance in the question you posed?

    Shouldn’t there be a careful balance in investing enough money into the building and atmosphere so as to provide a service free of distraction, yet invest heavily in relational evangelism?

  • I live in Northern California…in the burbs. In this area…if you want your church to “grow.” It’s as simple as great teaching. Dynamic, biblical, and personality driven. People will excuse the lack of building…for awhile at least. But sadly…not for long. (not praising this…btw)

    I believe that as churches grow in this area, there is more of a strong transfer of growth (of Christians), than a conversion of souls. Not always the case…but from what I see…it’s what is mainly happening. We might just be attracting…more Christians…to a central place.

    I am a worship leader. I like my toys. If I step on stage and am expected to lead in this context…then having the best available venue to do so makes my job that much easier. With that said…if the Spirit of God isn’t present and powerful, then I am just making noise.

    I’ve been the worship leader of a large church with all the toys I could want. But it wasn’t enough. I left and have experienced the good and bad of small spaces and groups.

    I could not agree with you more Los…but I sincerely struggle to find a fair medium that fulfills the call and the effectiveness of ministry…here…today.

    Keep the conversation going.

    Jesse

  • Great conversation!

    What is hard to swallow in our culture is the amount of $$ spent on “bricks and sticks” and the upkeep of them – and knowing that money could be used for clean water, food, clothes, etc. for others.

    And often times decisions are made within a church because of the mortgage payment and not because of God’s leading.

    Jesus never had a building – not even a home.

    We have to be open to questioning everything we do – and lining it up with the Gospel of Jesus.

  • Danny

    In 500 years students will study church history, will look at our white copy’n’paste starbucks-serving megachurches and will shake their heads. I’m pretty sure about that.

  • Carrie

    Thank you for asking these questions. They are something that my church asks ourselves often. I work at Lifechurch.tv and we have campuses that meet in what many would say nice buildings and other campuses that meet in schools. Both are reaching the lost. I can’t explain it…it’s a Holy Spirit thing. I believe that if a church is preaching the gospel and their heart is right (they don’t have the idea that if they have more lights more people will come) then God blesses it. There may come a time where this has to change and those who are seeking God and obeying Him will change their methods but not the truth of the gospel. But these questions have to be asked and deal with. Thank you for asking them.

  • It’s not just church’s with big buildings who do this. Small churches are just as guilty. We sit in our buildinegs and wonder where the people are who could have their lives transformed by the power of the Gospel. The problem is that those in attedance have not had their lives transformed to the point of actually following Jesus enough to go to where the people actually are.

  • Great post Los. As someone who’s work helps put butts in seats, this is something I am constantly aware of. I am aware that my work can be part of this flash we’re talking about…if it stopped there, if that was the end goal.

    While I’m not saying that there isn’t a really good argument of stripping everything away, I don’t believe this is an either/or situation. It’s not either we have nice buildings or we love our neighbor. Whether we have lighting rigs or feed the hungry. It’s both with balance.

    I’m also with shayne and cameron, it’s easy to point out the flaws and we’re really good at it. But unless we ourselves are willing to do something to make a difference…it’s just words and puffs up the person pointing fingers. I did it for a year, I complained -loudly- about how out of touch and mediocre the church was…until I final shut up and heard God say “then do something about it.” and launched Holy Cow.

    Quite honestly I think it’s normally an excuse. “the church doesn’t ______” So what? Go do it. Not helping the homeless, then go help the homeless. Not loving people, then go love people. Stop waiting on “the church” to do it all and start being the church. Church starts on Sunday but it’s up to you to carry it into the rest of the week.

  • A.

    Great post and great ideas made by all. It’s got me to thinking. I wonder if the Muslims are giving people spiritual meat while we’re giving them entertainment; ridiculous pronouncements by some groups on women, yoga, etc.; my-way-or-the-highway thinking on the creation/evolution debate (not to mention the Reformed/non-Reformed tension in some areas); and on and on. Maybe we need to first concentrate on telling people that God loves them. That’s a foreign idea to many. Then, after that sinks in, people will be open to the idea about sin, etc. But, we’ve got to focus on the positives about Jesus first (and be prepared for the questions on why God permits evil, etc.)

  • Aydee

    Your comments should have a “like/dislike” button/option. I like and dislike many comments on here but I don’t feel like commenting on all.

    I come by your blog randomly from time to time and I came in the day you put up this post, I saw the picture and then a bunch of writing so I ignored it. I went to your twitter and there you made reference to this post, you did it again today too, so I came back to read it. Let me tell you, I’m glad twitter led me back to give this post a second chance. You have a great point here, and although it did seem weird at first that you coming from Buckhead and Sandals would have wrote about this I realized how some mega churches have not been created for the “if you build it they will come” motto. They’ve been build in areas where salvation is desperately needed.
    Keep on stirring commotion Carlos! It’s what makes you, you and what brings us all back to this community.

  • Pat Pope

    “We Have To Stop Thinking That Our Sunday Services Will Reach America.
    They will reach part of America.
    A very small part.
    And the rest of America will be reached by the Christ followers we build in our churches.”

    AMEN!

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  • Dude…I am totally with you bro!!! I am glad that there are radical men of God like you and Francis Chan that are starting to stand up for TRUTH in today’s church…Its time we start to live our lives like they have actually been transformed by the Bible and I would love for the church to get back to the original model in Acts (Family and Community) and start looking less like the world…Im tired of seeing what mere men can do…I want to see what ONLY God can do…you dont have to draw a crowd….we just need to obey John 12:32- “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”…thats Jesus’ “strategy,” and it is sure to work…the miraculous works that come from radically loving Him and loving others will set off all the fireworks that we need to see (1 Corinthians 4:20)…Thanks for boldly standing up, despite criticism, I promise you that great things are to come for you and your family and the Kingdom of Heaven is surely yours (Matthew 5:10-12)…I know you dont know me but I am 100% behind you bro and I am stoked to see the Church rise up as the Kingdom of Heaven is released on earth in Jesus’ name…

  • My husband and I now attend a small Episcopal church. We first came because I missed the liturgy of my youth. We’ve stayed because the pastors preach the Gospel and the Holy Spirit is very evident. It’s a small church and may always be small. But we witness God doing very large things with the people there. The very small Wednesday service is even more special to me than the larger Sunday service. We have a chance to share with each other, get communion and pray for each other.

    That being said, I got a lot out of the popular churches when I was in my 20s. So maybe it’s an age group thing. However, we have a growing contingency of young seminarians at our church as well. I don’t miss Big Hip Church at all.

  • We may have forgotten, “But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.”

    Let’s lift Jesus up. Then people will come.

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  • Kim

    All I can say is: I AGREE!

  • Coach Spoon

    Agree! Best post you’ve ever written on this blog!

  • Great question. I work as a consultant and creative director for a large church. We program great services but we also feed and clothe people every week. We put on a huge Christmas show and had 34,000 show up, but we also gave away 15,000 toys to underpriveledged children the week before. This is all great, but you are so right. What would it look like if we individually put as much effort into helping hurting people Monday-Friday as we put into our Sunday service? What if cared about the homeless and the persecuted as much as we cared about our music and lighting transitions?

  • Think about this… if we would focus on the people and not on creating a good looking place then would we really need to worry about budget? If we work on the inside we will have the resources to man our bands, our soundboards, our powerpoint, our pulpits. We wouldn’t have to have people spread so thin that one person is leading worship, preaching, and greeting at the door (they could but they wouldn’t “have” to). The church would be transformed!

    We have an awesome Gospel! We just never hear it nor do we ever speak it!

  • dean

    i’ve been soap-boxing this subject for years. but recently the exception to the rule reared its head. my wife and i work at a children’s home, and we once took in 2 brothers, 5 and 6 yrs old. our church building was built in the mid-50’s, and has stained-glass windows all around the sanctuary, depicting scenes from the life of Christ. of course when i look at stuff like that, my first question is always, “how many hungry people could have been fed with the $$ it took to purchase those?” but every single sunday morning, our 5 yr old made me describe to him what’s going on, and who each person is in every single window, and when we’d get to the one showing Jesus hanging on the cross, he insisted i tell him why Jesus had to die. as a result of that, i’ve also told him that story numerous times at home. i know i was able to plant a seed there, thanks to those windows, but i still also wonder how many hungry people could have been fed with the money it took to buy those things 🙂

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  • Right on man. Take down the whole messed up system and infuse the body with the system used by the Apostles in the Book Of Acts.

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