Incarnational vs. Missional Church Planting

The missional emphasis in church planting moves Christ’s church in a good direction.

The reason is that it’s most biblical, and that should be the basis for what we do in Christ’s church. In particular Matthew 28:19 and Mark 16:15 both command Christ’s church to “Go!”

Strangely, I’ve not heard anyone refer to these passages when encouraging a missional approach. Also, many have made the distinction between the missional approach that gets churches involved out in their communities and the incarnational approach that invites the community to the church.

A good example of the latter is Willow Creek’s seeker approach. Some in the missional church movement seem to want to “throw the baby out with the bathwater.” They juxtapose the missional and incarnational approaches. I would not be so quick to abandon inviting lost people to our churches. While fewer lost people seem to be responding to an invitation to attend a church, there are parts of the US where they will such as in the South.

Some churches may want to implement both approaches. Others may choose one over the other. Much depends on the church and where it’s located.

So don’t be too quick to abandon the invitational approach. Be wise and strategic in your thinking. What will unbelievers in your community respond best to? Incarnational, missional, or both?