The essence of being a mission-focused reproducing church is that of being a witness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel witnesses in Acts were often persecuted to such an extent that the Greek word martyr is used as the word for witness. This is more than semantics as it paints a clear picture of the commitment involved in being a witness of the Gospel.
Tim Keller says, “If you are persecuted all the time and never attract people to Christ its because you are obnoxious. If you are never persecuted for your faith it’s because you are a coward. “
A mission-focused reproducing church is not built apart from whole-hearted commitment to the Gospel. In that commitment there is a complete dependence upon the power of the Gospel to change people’s lives for the glory of God. Faith in methods, or a particular strategy are not adequate in and of themselves to accomplish this.
As a whole our witness as a church can be expressed in a variety of ways. One such means is attractional in nature. The attractional approach is usually associated with a great event backed with multimedia communication, high quality production, worship, the manifest presence of God, with an emphasis on cultural relevance. This approach seeks to attract people to such gatherings, affording them the opportunity to process their faith along the way.
Another means of witness expression for the Church is incarnational in its approach. The incarnational expression seeks to be Jesus in the community in which it exists. Meetings and programs are downplayed, while community connection is magnified.
While both expressions have their place, the book of Acts suggests that the early church, which was firmly missional in nature was both attractional and incarnational. Next week we’ll take a look at the dynamics of the early church to see how their witness to the Gospel was formed.