From attractional to missional worship…

To me, one of the interesting parts of the article I posted yesterday relates to how this “missional megachurch” is changing their understanding of worship. Previously, as with many megachurches, they had an attractional model of worship that sounds more like evangelism. They poured tons of energy, resources, and excellence into “weekend services” that would attract huge crowds.  In moving to become a more missional church, this was one of the big changes. Investment in the weekend “show” went down, and investment in “Go Communities” went up. They moved to an “attractional” and “missional” approach to worship that would prepare people more for discipleship outside the weekend gathering. 

Now if you’ve ever worked in a megachurch context, you know exactly what these folks are talking about in terms of investment in the weekend show.  It’s a rat race wheel that never stops. And I absolutely salute the move toward more discipleship and less pizazz. What strikes me, though, is that this church is still missing a  theology of worship. Before they were doing weekend evangelism services; now they’re doing weekend discipleship services. “Where’s the beef?” 

Christian worship is the praise and adoration of the Triune God. As such it’s focus and intention is fundamentally toward God, and this happens especially through song and prayer. Through preaching and sacraments God communicates with us and equips us to be God’s people, so that we may better worship, serve, and bear witness. But what God does for us in worship is always secondary in the scope of worship and always an act of grace. Worship is the praise and adoration of God. 

Missional churches need to get this. Because good works are exhausting, and living in kingdom of God is challenging. Megachurches that are tired of pumping people up for good living in a consumer-model weekend service are going to be quickly tired of pumping people up for good works in a service-model weekend service. A life of discipleship is only possible with regular worship, where we encounter the Source of Life who is outside of ourselves and through God’s grace are strengthened and renewed.  

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