ATTRACTIONAL & Do I use the term “attractional” in a pejorative way? Yes, and here is why …

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 4/25/18.

One of the missional coach candidates I yearly train said he felt I use the word attractional in a pejorative manner. I define attractional in my book ORGANIX as a church growth strategy that is focused upon attracting people, through performance and spectacle. However, a more healthy manner of growth is to the focus is upon an “incarnational strategy,” where congregants go “in the flesh” to meet non-churchgoer needs and share Christ in person

Here’s my clairification on this distinction to the colleague:

I wanted to say that I agree with Tim when he said that it felt like I was being pejorative in the use of attractional. I hope I clarified that, for I believe there are many attractive aspects to anointed worship. But I used attractional in a pejorative sense because I’m trying to shock the church into seeing how it easily leads us astray from anointed and supernatural worship. I also want to apologize if I offended anyone by using it in a pejorative sense.  I’m only using it in that manner to draw our attention to how it can easily become the main focus. And I know you all agree with me that that is a valid point.

However I could have softened my language a bit.

But as I mentioned I want to shock the church into moving towards incarnational tactics more than attractional.

Why? Because I’ve seen many churches striving to create an excellence in presentation that is beyond their capability and finances … and which detracts from anointing in content.

So my use of the term in a negative sense is not to dissuade the use of attractive tools, but rather to not let the attractiveness of the tools become the focus when the authenticity and organic nature of the supernatural experience is more likely within the grasp of most churches.

Dr. Priscilla, one of my Missional Coaches candidate responded:

I wasn’t offended and I actually agree. There’s nothing wrong with being attractional as part of an overall strategy, but focusing on this over and above being a place that loves God and loves people toward him is a short term strategy at best.