This week I was asked in my Homiletics class about the role of preaching in a missional church environment after someone else had spoken on a Reformed view of preaching in church.  This was a good question.  Recently we were at a restaurant we like, Captain Americas, and found out a while back they had 9 stores, now there are 1.

These two ideas are connected as I answered from last weeks blog.  We are in a time of transition that the attractional church is picking up those non-churched who have an idea of church from their living in Christendom while the missional church is picking up other non-believers.  I said to the class the period of time this transition may last is 200 hundred years.  This was a figure plucked from the air but it does reflect my thinking that this transition is not necessarily a short period.

Now can you imagine a time when there are no McDonald’s restaurants or whatever is your favourite fast food chain?  There was a time when no kid knew who Ronald McDonald was as he did not exist.  I can imagine a time when parts of the fast food industry goes the way of food cooked on an open-fire spit eaten with your own knife at barbarian long tables.  Things change, they sure have for Captain Americas.

I think it will be the same for the form of the church.  The form of the church we are familiar with, the attractional model, will disappear over a period of time but not overnight.  There was a time when you invited people to church because they had expressed a desire to fellowship with Christ, not because they wanted to hear a good sermon and make a commitment.  I think this time will come again.

On occasion I have described this as a move from large churches to niche churches.  I heard someone who did not like the idea talk about it as “But everyone still shops at <insert name of large department store> rather than going to a niche boutique.  Niche boutiques have more troubles surviving.”  This is true to a point but niche stores still survive and some of the big chains, like Starbucks this week, do sometimes close their doors in light of pressure from the niche or better established market.

Now in the end I do not thinking marketing metaphors are good description of church but I do recognise that change is in the air.

So what do you think is the lifetime of the attractional church?