As we’ve moved into the next phase of planting a new church I’m often confronted with very specific questions about our approach to ministry:
- Are you an attractional church?
- Are you a missional church?
- Are you an incarnational church?
Granted, these questions never come from the unchurched, but rather from Christians who usually have some sort of background in church leadership.
An unchurched person isn’t wondering what “style” of ministry approach we’re adopting. An unchurched person is wondering whether or not I’m some weird guy who couldn’t get a job at a “real” church.
Here’s the thing . . .
I usually answer these questions, or their many variations, the same.
“Yes!” “Absolutely!” “Unapologetically!”
And here’s the reason . . .
I believe the church is most attractive when grace is most apparent.
I believe the church becomes missional when grace becomes the motivation.
I believe the church incarnates the culture when grace incarnates the church.
Yes, I hope the church is attractional! (I sure don’t want to be unattractive and unappealing!)
However, I don’t want the most attractive thing about our church to be the great music, smooth transitions, and polished sermons. I believe the most attractive thing about church should be grace!
As a guy who professes Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I am continually amazed at God’s incredible, attractive grace. It won’t be my sermons, in and of themselves, that convince people to surrender their lives to Christ. It will be God’s grace. His unmerited, unearned, undeniable grace that leads people to repentance and salvation.
Grace is what moves us to mission. I believe the church becomes missional when grace becomes the motivation.
The new church we will soon plant will be a missional church because Christ has given us our mission – make disciples. We have defined our mission as this: leading people to follow Christ in a life-changing way.
That sums up what we are here to do. Because we have experienced God’s grace on our lives, we want to lead other people to experience His grace and grow in their walk with Christ. And do so in a way that radically transforms their lives.
Because Christ came to us, we want to be a church that infiltrates the community around us. We didn’t move here to start church services. We moved here to start a church. A church that builds influence in the culture around us by living Christ-centered, grace-filled lives.
We want to make an eternal impact on our city. We want it to be known in our city that we exist and why we exist! We want to lead our city to become a city on a hill that cannot be hidden.
All because we have been first filled by God’s incredible, attractive grace. I believe the church incarnates the culture when grace incarnates the church.
We want to be a church that’s all about grace: attractional grace, missional grace, and incarnational grace. That doesn’t mean we sugar-coat truth. Grace is the gospel response to truth.
As Paul encouraged young Timothy, “Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timonthy 2:1).
I pray that we would be found guilty of being “strong in grace.”
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