I recently discovered two blog posts by Rev. Dr. Tod Bolsinger which are germaine to my recent conversations about attractional vs missional. His first post is entitled could attractional be missional, part 1. The second is part 2: from attractional programs to attractive people. A third and final post is forthcoming part 3: finally, another “a” word to consider. I share these links here because they are helpful in considering the way forward for missional living and ministry in the children’s ministry world. I think he is on to some important insights, not least becoming the kind of people who non-believers will gravitate toward on the basis of godly character lived out. This kind of living is infectious in a positive way. And it takes time spent with people to reveal the kind of persons we are. Indeed, it reveals the kind of persons we are becoming by God’s grace. In the world, but not of it. In Christ and of Him, inviting others as well through the normal routines of godly discipleship lived in community.
It may surface in the sharing of a meal, the kicking around of a soccer ball, a smile and wave, holding your tongue when being cussed at, giving to someone in need with no expectation of anything in return. It may even reveal itself more potently through expressions of vulnerability and hospitality. If the rhythms of our normal routines allow for serendipitous moments of grace which inconvenience us, but bless others, then the opportunity for Christ’s character to be demonstrated in action through us is all the more increased. In essence, the resulting attractiveness of gospel-saturated living will have a more consistent daily effect on unbelievers around us than that of any attractional program which is not supported by real relationships.
That said, a program can have a positive impact, provided that it is rooted in relationships which precede it and continue long after the lights of the event are turned off.