Yesterday I asked whether or not your church is Old Testament. Today I want to look at a few pitfalls of embracing an “attractional” or Old Testament model of missions when we are living in the New Testament era. I believe this is not merely a matter of opinion but a matter of being faithful to the Great Commission.
As I begin this list I want to be fair and considerate to those that may have an attractional mindset. I understand that most would probably say, “I do not believe these 5 things”. And that is a good thing. My point is that embracing an attractional model is inconsistent with these five truths.
- The church is a people and not a building. Most all of us give this one lip service. We know deep down that the church is a people and not a building that we gather in. Yet, when our fundamental concern is how to get people into a building we are betraying this belief.
- God’s power to use you and not just the preacher. Yes, God has set aside gifted men to proclaim His Word and His gospel. But as Charles Spurgeon’s father once said, “he may be able to preach the gospel better but he cannot preach a better gospel.” All believers are indwelled by the Holy Spirit and have the same promises that are given preachers when we open our mouths. To think that people need to “come hear the preacher” in order to come to know Christ denies the Spirit’s power in your own life.
- The Holy Spirit’s ministry. The Spirit of God works in jars of clay to proclaim the eternal truth of Christ. Whenever the gospel is proclaimed—even from the lips of a donkey—He accompanies the proclamation with His power to accomplish His purposes. To think that in the NT people still need to “come and see” denies that the Spirit now permanently indwells believers to accomplish His purposes no matter where they are located.
- The New Testament mandate to “Go”. The Great Commission is to “Go” not to stay and hold up a sign that says “come here”. After Christ has ascended into heaven and the Spirit comes at Pentecost you will be hard pressed to find examples of believers engaging in a “come and see” type of ministry. They are almost always engaging in a “go and tell”.
- That God owns every square inch of creation. The veil was torn on the curtain of the temple for a reason. Just as the Jerusalem temple was destroyed for a reason; namely, Immanuel. Good luck finding a place in the NT after Jesus’ ascension and pre-New Heaven and New-Earth where a building is called holy. Yet, you will find the glory of God spreading throughout every square inch of creation by people that are deemed “holy-ones”.
Therefore, if we are to be a NT church we will be missional and not attractional. There was a day when God said “Come and See” there may even yet be a day when He says the same. But in the present era His mandate is “Go and Tell”.