Relevant Not Attractional
Attractional isn’t a word. At least not according to my spell check. It is, however, a real term; one that someone came up with to describe a certain type of church with a certain type of goal.
The Attractional church as you may have guessed has at its core the goal of attracting people to church. What people? All people, but especially the un-churched, usually with the stated goal to reach people in a way that is inviting to them.
Pastors wear causal yet hip clothes, and the worship band seems to be more of a rock show than a worship service.
You know the type. You’re friends may be part of such a church. You may be part of a church like that.
I like the heart behind such a church. I like the desire to reach the lost. I like the willingness to try new things. I like goal of doing things well.
What I don’t like though, is where I feel the attritional church misses the mark:
Jesus is what is attractional. Not a church service. Worship isn’t a concert for people, but a spiritual devotion from people for God. The band isn’t the center. The lights aren’t the center. The Hip Preacher in girl jeans isn’t the center. Jesus is the central focus.
I believe the Relevant church gets closer to that mark.
I know I’m playing in the world of semantics here, but I do believe there is a difference between Attractional and Relevant.
The Relvant church is just that. It lets the gospel do its own talking. It sees Jesus as the attraction. But it recognizes the times its in, the location its is in, the culture its in.
In the Booth’s day at the formation of the Salvation Army, brass bands were equivalent of rock ‘n roll. In the 70’s hippies got saved and the music of the church sounded a lot like Bread, America, and CSN. So in the same way, in our present day, folks pick up electric guitars and synths to praise God.
Technology changes. We went from the printing press to power point. None of these things are an end unto themselves but a method we use to point people and ourselves to Jesus.
I think the church that I’m a part of, Calvary:Arlington, is a relevant church. Especially in the area of worship music.
Consider the current worship set up.
Hymns & Modern. Country & Rock. Folk & Pop. Upbeat & Contemplative. Different leaders, different backgrounds, different styles.
Jesus is the center. Worship isn’t a concert, but the bands do strive to play well and to serve the people by providing live music for song worship in the church. Not only that, but by offering a variety of styles they include just about everyone in the church (metal and screamo kids… sorry 😉 ) A dear seasoned saint will hear the hymns she’s sung her whole life, while her granddaughter connects to the hymns through a driving beat. Then the next week her mom hears the pop music she’s accustom to, or her father hears the country sound he connects with. All for the purpose of freeing people to worship their God in a simple and straightforward way.
The goal is Jesus. To know Him and to make Him known. We aren’t attracting people to Him. We are people attracted by Him and we do church in the way normal people would. We sing songs in the music of our time. We fellowship over coffee and we use our minds as we study the bible together.
It’s not Attractional, it’s relevant and I love being a part of it.