No matter how incarnational and organic your ministry is, if you have a public worship service of any kind, you do have a front door as well as a side door. And if you have one, you do have to pay some attention to the “attractional” issues. If people are wandering in, are they able to figure out how to get connected? Is there a clear path—an assimiliation track of some kind? If the people wandering in are of the previously-churched variety, do you have some method of acclimating them to your philosophy? Some friends of mine call it “running them through detox,” but it’s still a system.

What can we learn from attractional churches who are effectively reaching people in this way? What’s needed is to mobilize our people into incarnational living so that if they do bring someone to church, the most important groundwork has already been laid. The person coming has been experiencing sacrificial service and building a redemptive relationship. By the time the whole bringing-a-friend-to-church-thing happens, people are already very receptive.

Sometimes we just look at the outside—how good is the service?—without looking at what’s under the hood.