Outreach Initiative Blog Ministry Style Rev. Doug Kallesen
We live in a post Christian culture and the church as a whole is trying to find a way through this new wilderness of what it is like to live without “Christian privilege” that we enjoyed in prior generations. Our map for this wilderness today is similar to that of the early church in biblical times where Christianity was emerging as a new religion among many other religions. How did they gain audience with their society? How was their voice heard? How did Paul and others influence faith and life from Corinth to Ephesus to Galatia, Philippi and on to Rome?
Our congregations today are faced with also finding our way and it seems as though we are struggling and slipping. While we need a map, we have something even better - the Messiah! Jesus told his disciples “fear not…” as He walked out to them on the water. He walked from behind locked doors on Easter evening after rising from the dead and again Jesus told the disciples, “fear not…”
Fear not, even in this wilderness for the Lord is with us. This is Jesus’ church and as His body we have the One who has not only endured death, but cheated, defeated and abolished death. Jesus has raw resurrection power and it is in this power, the power of His Name that God is at work in His Church. Fear not!
So what is your ministry style - attractional or incarnational? Most churches lean towards attractional and most pastors are trained using this style. Attractional and incarnational styles are both necessary, even in today’s culture.
Attractional ministry is centered on holding gatherings and events that “attract,” or bring people to your church or facility. Worship, Bible classes at church, pre-schools and schools, annual fish fries and the like are attractional and still are a way to reach out into your community.
Incarnational ministry is that which occurs in the community when the church and her members live out their faith, blessing the community, especially in daily life. It might be the church taking part in Habitat for Humanity or the local soup kitchen or homeless shelter. Incarnational ministry occurs when the love of Christ is exhibited outside the church walls as an expression of faith on the part of a believer. Many, if not most of you, reading this are already engaged in doing this kind of ministry daily. You may pray for your waiter or waitress. You may be the kind and courteous driver. You may be the one who helps a neighbor or always has a kind word to say as you greet people. You may be the mom or dad who loves on your kids before they head off to school or who puts a note in the lunch box. I call it, “walking wide throughout daily life with arms outstretched touching as many lives as possible with the love of Jesus.” “Walk in love, as Christ has loved us…” Eph 5:2.