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The Church Is Both Incarnational and Attractional

Don’t waste this opportunity arguing about attractional vs. incarnational. Embrace Both/And.

The Church Is Both Incarnational and Attractional
Image: BadBrother / Getty

I saw a picture like the one above the other day.

Many people right now in church circles liked it, and commented to say so. Before long the likes turned into some haters, haranguing churches that are trying to do things well on Sundays, like they were selling out. The tame comments included:

I thought we were moving away from that old attractional model! Now we’re going back to it?

How do we go deep—incarnate?

This! We have to make disciples, not attract more consumers!

I was poised to share the picture myself, because I believe deeply in the “make disciples who make disciples plan.” But then I hesitated as I realized I was in danger of being fooled by an either/or. Something of a straw man had been set up. A false dichotomy.

I was attracted to my wife the first time I saw her (still am!). Then she made it very clear that the relationship would cost a lot more than I thought. I committed, we grew together, had babies, you get the picture.

I came to Jesus at a church event some would call “attractional” many years ago. Perhaps “accessible” is a better word. People did their very best, to attract me to Jesus. It changed my mind about church. Sometime later the Spirit changed my heart ...

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