Geoff over at Inner Revolution has an insightful post that pleads for common vision and mission over trendy church lingo. For example, you can’t read much these days about how a church relates with culture without hearing these words: attractional, missional, and organic. Geoff mentions another term later in his post – emergent – that he perhaps should have defined as well.
Here are his working definitions:
Attractional: A model that says church should be an appealing, non-threatening environment to present the Gospel so that seekers can come and see. Relational connections flow out of these larger gatherings. Picture a large circus tent with people streaming in from every direction.
Organic: A model that says seekers will be exposed to the Gospel through relationships with members in their community. Relational connections may flow into larger gatherings. Picture a group of pup tents with a campfire in the middle.
Missional: A mindset that says the every member of the body of Christ is called as a missionary to her own culture and community. The missionary may or may not connect to a larger gathering of believers. Picture a climber pitching his tent high on Mt. Everest.
I’d encourage you to go read his article and then leave a comment there or link back here. I’d be interested in knowing how you might label your church. You might even have to come up with a new term or definition! Maybe it will be coined by millions, and you’ll be famous. Or not.
I agree with Geoff’s assessment that however your church is structured or flavored, the important thing is “seeing people becoming disciples of Christ.” In other words, ministry is measured by fruit. Our goal is the submission of life to Christ and the subsequent transformation of life by Christ.
I hope I’m not putting words in his mouth by emphasizing that a disciple of Christ is a follower, not a one-time decision. A disciple of Christ is not someone who embraces heaven to avoid hell, using Jesus to do so.
My working definition of a disciple might be summed up in this way: a person who is consistently seeking to follow Jesus Christ and continually orienting their life to His teachings and His ways as described in the New Testament because of Christ’s love for them and their continuing growth in their love for Him. More simply, we love Him because He first loved us.