Though some evangelism experts tend to promote one way as being better than the other, in reality, it should not be either/or; it should be both/and. Moving beyond the walls of the church through missional involvement in the community is very important. However, since the very nature of the church is to gather people together for worship, prayer, fellowship, and teaching, at some point the previously unchurched have to be gathered together for the church to be able to consider their evangelism efforts eﬀective. Whether that gathering is held in a house, a Gothic cathedral, a small family chapel, or a mega-church campus, the principle of Hebrews 10:25 remains the same: “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (NIV).
The Mass Evangelism Team at the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention compiled results on the eﬀectiveness of both missional and attractional evangelism. Jerry Pipes, former leader of that team, has said: “A lot of churches have pursued a missional approach to evangelism and church growth to the neglect of attractional evangelistic events that will draw people in. That is like asking a pilot ﬂying over the Paciﬁc Ocean whether he wants his right wing or his left wing. The answer is you need both wings—both missional methodologies and an attractional model.”
Small churches should desire to use both missional and attractional evangelism to reach their communities for Christ. These two philosophical views on evangelism are not contradictory to each other. My next few posts will reveal practical ways that churches of any size can blend the two types of evangelism to eﬀectively reach their changing communities.
Adapted from my book, Mission Possible: Reaching the Next Generation through the Small Church, which can be purchased at thousands of online retailers or directly from the author.