Monday, October 11, 2004

Christendom-era Church DNA flaws

Jonny Baker points to an amazing article by Alan Hirsch and Michael Frost about the church's DNA flaws.
The Christendom-era church has these three flaws in its DNA; it is attractional, dualistic and hierarchical.

By attractional, I mean the church plants itself within a particular neighbourhood and expects that people will come to it to meet God and find fellowship with others. There's nothing unbiblical about being attractive to unbelievers. There was certainly an element to which the early church was attractive to the wider community (Acts 2:47), though there is much more evidence that the church was reviled and avoided in its early days. Nonetheless, when I say it is a flaw for the church to be attractional, I'm referring more to the stance the church is taking in its community. By anticipating that if we get our internal features right, people will flock to our services, the church betrays its belief in attractionalism. It's the "If you build it, they will come" mentality. How much of the traditional church's energy goes into adjusting their programs and their public meetings to cater to an unseen constituency. The emerging missional church recognizes is compelled to move out from itself into its community as salt and light.

When I have consulted with churches that recognize the need to embrace a missionary stance in their communities, I'm amazed at the number of times, when asked to discuss specific ways they can recalibrate themselves to become missional churches, they begin talking about how to change their Sunday service. It betrays their fundamental allegiance to being attractional. The tailoring of worship services is a lot further down the priority list for missional church leaders. The Come-To-Us stance taken by the attractional church is unbiblical. It's not found in the Gospels or the epistles. Jesus, Paul, the disciples, the early church leaders had a Go-To-Them mentality.
That is just a short exerpt. The rest of the article is excellent and is a much read.


Rick said...

Part of the concern with #1 is that Jesus told the story about GOING to the "fringes" and compelling them to come.

I had a conversation with a friend today and the discussion centered around dying. We like to live in the resurrection. We long to ascend, but very few of us are willing to die. That is why we leave in droves to the suburbs to escape the "fringes". We keep waiting to ascend and Jesus keeps waiting for us to die. There is no resurrection without death to self. So we build churches to appeal to our ego and sense of purpose in life.

Sorry for the ramble.


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