Why do we feel the need to label everything? Sure, some things need labels, like expiration dates on milk cartons or warning labels on fireworks. But why do we label churches? “They’re a missional church.” “They’re attractional.” “They’re traditional.” My guess is we label because we want a clear way to elevate our label over every other label, but again, that’s just a guess.
At Watermarke Church, we would probably be labeled by other churches as “attractional.” Actually, if that were the ONLY label other churches gave us, it would be a win. But that’s another post (or rant). Churches under the label “attractional” have taken some heat from the other labels for being a shallow version of church. Here’s how it usually goes: “The ‘attractional’ church isn’t deep enough. They only care about growth and numbers. You can’t grow or be fed at an ‘attractional’ church.” Man, if I’ve heard that once, I’ve heard it…well, you know.
But here’s the deal. If you can get past the preconceived label, what is wrong with being “attractional?” Every morning I shower and fix my hair. I shave every few days. You do, too. Yet nobody labels you and complains about your hair being “attractive.” Quite the opposite – you fix your hair in an effort to BE more attractive. Odds are, we’d complain more if you didn’t!
So what’s wrong with a church being attractive to the community? Seriously? What’s wrong with that? When I read the Gospels, what I see is Jesus approaching people in a way that was welcoming and attractive. Now, let’s not forget, Jesus didn’t sell out the truth for acceptance. But when faced with an outsider, his approach, if labeled, could be considered “attractional.” I know, he didn’t treat everyone that way. The Pharisees had a unique relationship with Jesus, but before we argue about the label again, don’t forget Nicodemus. And we are talking more about approach.
From that perspective, I hope every church can be labeled (if we have to label) “attractional.”
To the point, the greatest command we’ve been given as Christians relative to others is to love them. Love. What’s more attractive than love? Nothing. Nothing is more attractive than love. So, if we have to stick to categories and labels, maybe we should create a new one, “Love.” Go ahead – let’s try to earn the label “loving” in our churches and see what happens.
I’d love to answer the question, “What kind of church do you attend?” with the simple label of “Love.” How about you?