Missional has become a popular word used more and more frequently. Once considered an antonym of attractional, missional has begun to be used by churches that are still primarily attractional—geared toward reaching people through inviting them to experience the worship service as a step toward spiritual transformation.

Now I don’t think that’s a bad thing. If you remember, I planted a seeker-sensitive attractional church myself many years back. Over the course of 11 years, 2/3 of the people we reached were previously unchurched. We were fairly effective at being missional in the sense of being about the great commission.

The difficulty is that at least 50% of people (a very conservative estimate) are not reachable that way anymore. Only those who have a memory of church—in a positive sense—are reachable in this way, and that pool is getting smaller and smaller.

Attractional isn’t a bad thing… it’s just a different thing—and geared toward a different group of people. However, if you have a public worship service, you want it to attract, not repel, right? So what if we used terms that indicated different types of missional?

  • Missional attractional
  • Missional incarnational

Because in a sense, everyone who takes Jesus seriously is missional.