Attractional vs. Missional Church

by vernsanders on January 7, 2011

I heard a new-to-me term the other day: the attractional church. Now I think I’m smart enough to figure out what that means just by the word itself, but then the person I was talking with contrasted attractional with another current church buzzword: missional.

So I thought I’d ask my “go-to” church expert, Doug Lawrence, exactly what all this meant. He sent me the following quote, from Bill Easum,  who is a consultant, author, and futurist, and who can be found at

atttractional vs missional is still being misunderstood. so here is a specific- the attractional church is the Jerusalem church that hunkered down and did not “Go” into all the world as commanded. The missional church is the church of Antioch that fulfilled the Great Commandment and Commission bying “going” into all the world planting churches. The original meaning of attractional as used by Hirsch and others referred to the church that did nothing to reach out to transform the world but just loves itself to death. The missional church as defined by several authors is the one that spends most of its time energy and money in and on the community instead of bottling up its people inside the four walls. The original conversation was meant to put these two types of churches in stark contrast with attractional being non bibilical and missional by the imago dei.

Faith isnt one dimentional – we are to carry out the great commandment and the great commission. but here is the kicker – you can love people without transforming them; but you cant transform them without loving them. Attractional churches love one another but dont make a difference in the community. Missional churchs love one another and their community to the point that they must mingle and share the love with one another and the world that is the “Go” factor that trumps everything else [ed.: punctuation and spelling unchanged]

Now you know…

The church I currently serve is most definitely missional, according to this definition. How about yours? Let me know by leaving a comment.

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