Incarnational mission is us, as disciples, being Christ to our communities and to those around us. It is living out our salvation and relationship with our Lord and it is based on our relationships with others close to us. Of course, Christ’s disciples have always been called to live this way but today, there is an intentional movement to BE the Church of Jesus Christ, not just GO to Church.Â The Emerging Missional Movement that is sweeping the country will, perhaps, be the saving force for the Western Church. It is based on relationships rather than programs and informal gathering places rather than church buildings.Â Across the country, friends of mineÂ are pastoring churches and ministries based on the Attractional Model (now about three decades old). TheyÂ share with me that many of them areÂ just one crisis away from having to lay off all or most of their staff or risk loosing their building. Since their ministries are staff-heavy and their laypersons (a terrible word) have often not been adequately trained in ministry (Ephesians 4), they live week to week based on that week’s offering and their ministry is often reduced to constantly having to raise more money or struggling to enliven various attractional programs in order to keep the ministry afloat. And if the church down the street develops a better program, has a nicer building, etc. they could easily loose a bunchÂ of their members to the better attarction. My heart goes out to them.
Unfortunately, given the current economic, social and political climate or our country, the Attractional Model that so many churches and ministries are based on is no longer sustainable. We have to get into our communities, not necessarily preaching but LIVING the gospel, sharing the love and grace of Jesus Christ, sharing and living our testimony and being there when people need spiritual guidance. Our society is such now that people will not come to our churches REGARDLESS of how attractive our program or ministry. People are DONE with church-as-usual. We have to do something different, real and fully based on the love and grace of Jesus Christ.