Well I've been up for nearly 36 hours with a few little cat naps throughout and enjoying my time away at the AND conference at Granger Community Church. It wasn't too long into the conference that we knew our time at this conference would stretch our thinking as we dialogue and think through whether or not the Attractional and Missional models of church can co-exisit together as a catalyst for a movement.
The first speaker challenged my thinking deeply and confirmed a number of things I've been feeling in my heart for many years now. His name is Alan Hirsch and he spoke on "Living in the Land of AND." There is much to be said about his talk, but here are three concepts that caught my attention and are rattling around in my head right now.
The first concpet that got me thinking challenged me to think about how the attractional model of church reaches people for Christ but pulls them from their circles/cultures and places them into the new circle/culture of the attractional church. Thus, to pull people from their sphere's of influence and plant them within the new context of the church where they can come and enjoy a show and other people just like them, they have now been extracted from the very place where God wants them on mission to be the salt and light. I acknowledge this is a very sweeping statement that is worth much more dialogue, but statistics show that most people stop reaching people for Christ after being saved (in the church) for 2+ years.
Another point made was that people will possess a somewhat positive view of some form of God, Jesus and spirituality but reject the church outright. The church must take this reality seriously and work together to think about how to reverse this trend of the outright rejection of the institutionalized church.
One final question that really has me troubled... "Is a church a church if the church isn't doing what the church is supposed to do?" Hmmmm... Let that one keep you up a night for a while!