Again, that strategy was very effective when people instinctively flocked to churches, not just in terms of numbers, but also in terms of baptisms and authentic faith-building. And you shouldn’t make your church inaccessible or unattractive on purpose. That’s just … weird.
But in the process, building attractive, relevant churches has had an unintended side-effect: People have come to evaluate church by what they get out of it, not by what they put into it.
That’s a mistake.
Along the way, discipleship has even been redefined in many circles to mean consumption of knowledge. The more you know, the more mature you are. I believe that’s a flawed approach (here’s why).
Authentic discipleship has always been about dying to self. It’s about giving far more than it is about getting.
Again, I’m not slamming the attractional church. I’m all for building bridges to the culture, not erecting barriers.
Anyone who knows church knows that at the heart of every attractional church is a core of Christians who sacrifice—who give, who serve and who invite.
What’s exciting is that selflessness will move to the forefront in the future church because those who remain will be engaged in the mission.
4. Our culture is ripe for an alternative to consuming.
One of the frequent criticisms non-Christians levy at Christians is that we’re self-indulgent and hypocritical.
Those critiques are not without warrant.
As a more selfless church emerges (even excellent, selfless churches), that will drive more curiosity and interest from unchurched people.
While you can debate what Millennials really want out of life, there appears to be a growing attraction in our culture to rebel against consumerism, as the Minimalist movement of the last few years has shown us.
People are longing for an alternative to life as they know it. The church is that alternative.
Christians obsessed with giving away their lives away trump Christians obsessed with themselves and their preferences.
5. People become the most passionate about the things with which they’re most involved.
A final reason that engagement will drive future church growth is simply this: People become most passionate about the things with which they’re most involved.
Just talk to a football dad or a baseball mom. Or your foodie friend who just found yet another recipe. Or your triathlete friend who set another personal best.
Engagement fuels involvement. Involvement fuels passion. Passion fuels invitation.