So this Sunday will be our first preview service for Oasis, our new church plant. Things are kind of crazy right now, but I need a break, so I thought I would share some of the mental gymnastics I am going through with being missional in a semi-rural/semi-suburban context, in Nebraska.
It’s my impression that a certain number of people in this area want the attractional thing. Want church to be a place to go to meet Jesus. Now if missional is absolutely the only way to do things, well then you don’t compromise. The problem I have is that I don’t think everyone woke up January 1st, 2000 and suddenly became postmodern. On the contrary, I get the impression that many un-churched people still think that when life is falling apart, the institutional church is where you go to get God.
I don’t agree with that at all. But because I agree with a missional perspective, I’m willing to work with people and their misconceived ideas about church, in the same way I am willing to be in relationship regardless of any number of other things we might disagree about. Some aspects of attractional can be missional for those in a modern 20th century context. We are going to gather to worship together. What am I going to say when someone's life is falling apart, and they "come to church." "Sorry I can't help you, let me set up a non-appointment with you at the bar so we can do this more incarnationally." Having said tha, what leans me to the missional side is when I see churches going uber attractional, assisting in the sin of a self centered world view, simply giving people what they want, be that the "uncompromised gospel" or anything else.
What were doing in Waverly is a missional thing, wrapped in an attractional shell. Yah were advertising, inviting people to church and what not. But that is where attractional stops. If I had my way, our buzz line would be “It’s not about you.” (Or me.) On Sunday we are simply going to gather together to worship our Lord and Savior, and btw your invited. If some people are attracted to that, fine. But when it comes to lived values. It will be about missional. Keeping it simple, the values of Jesus, going to where people are at, serving our community, in community, doing life together.
Needless to say, this will make none of the true believers on either side happy, but I believe that it corresponds to a key tenant of missional, which is to be true to your zip code, not your friends zip code.
Talking about this on paper, kind of easy compared to the challenge of living it out. That is the part that really scares me, and where I feel the least prepared.