Have We Finally Hit Peak Attractional?

The attractional church is, according to Jared Wilson, a “ministry paradigm that has embraced consumerism, pragmatism, and moralism as its operational values.”

This series may represent “peak attractional,” which is to say, it may mark the moment the attractional church model finally hit rock bottom (though you could probably make the case Young already achieved that the day he got into bed with his wife on the church roof). I’m almost afraid to ask: Can the model possibly become more of a parody of itself?

 

So Ed Young is at it again. Last week he announced a forthcoming sermon series titled “Wrastlin’” and did so through a video that is nothing short of absurd. “Over four weeks this September, Ed Young and Fellowship Church welcome four legendary guests from the world of professional wrestling – Ric Flair, The Undertaker, The Million Dollar Man, and Sting!” You can probably guess the premise of the series: “The Bible often compares the Christian life to that of a warrior, a wrestler. Wrestling is a metaphor commonly used in the Christian life and one that will remind us that no matter what, God is ready and able to step in between the ropes and help us overcome any challenge we face!”

This series may represent “peak attractional,” which is to say, it may mark the moment the attractional church model finally hit rock bottom (though you could probably make the case Young already achieved that the day he got into bed with his wife on the church roof). I’m almost afraid to ask: Can the model possibly become more of a parody of itself?

The attractional church is, according to Jared Wilson, a “ministry paradigm that has embraced consumerism, pragmatism, and moralism as its operational values.” It assumes that the greatest and highest purpose of the church service is to evangelize unbelievers rather than to encourage and disciple believers. It assumes we are responsible to do whatever it takes to get people through the doors of the church. It assumes that we shouldn’t do or say anything within a service that may make unbelievers uncomfortable. It assumes that growing numbers are a necessary indication of God’s favor.

The attractional church model has been tried and found exceptionally successfully in its ability to draw massive crowds (though it seems these crowds are less likely to be comprised of unchurched people with genuine spiritual questions than churched people who come from smaller, less attractive congregations). The attractional church model has been tried and found exceptionally wanting in its ability to draw people into a living relationship with the Lord that results in their spiritual maturation and reproduction. Yet it lives on in a thousand megachurches and a million smaller imitators.

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