CNLP 251: Drew Powell and Matt Warren on Why Attractional Church is Past Peak, Why It’s Changing and What’s Next for Weekend Services

The attractional church model has been the dominant church model for 20 years in growing churches and many leaders are noticing it’s not nearly as effective as it used to be. Few churches were better known for the attractional model than Cross Point Church in Nashville, TN.

In a raw, honest and open conversation, Creative Director Drew Powell and Executive Director Matt Warren talk about why attractional church isn’t what it used to be, why it was effective but isn’t as much anymore, what they’ve changed (and why Cross Point is now the largest its ever been) and where the future church is heading.

Welcome to Episode 251 of the podcastListen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.

Guest Links

@drewpowell | @mattywarren | |

Episode Links

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5 Reasons Charismatic Churches Are Growing (And Attractional Churches Are Past Peak) by Carey Nieuwhof

3 Insights from Drew & Matt

1. The foyer of the church has moved online

Nobody goes to a restaurant without checking out the website and reviews first and it’s no different for seekers looking for a church to call home. Most people are going to visit a church online before ever considering to step through the doors and that’s why the foyer of the church has moved.

Once online attenders are ready to experience a service live, the transition can be intimidating. That’s the time where they get to find out if everything they’ve been experiencing online (and missing out on live) is real and true.

It’s important to have volunteers on the ground ready to make them feel expected, welcomed and at home. That successful transition often leads to fast engagement because they are eager to get involved in the church community once that online barrier has been crossed.

2. Everyone can still be welcome in a charismatic model

As many churches move towards a more charismatic model, it’s important to continue to be welcoming to everyone – a key component of attractional church that doesn’t need to disappear.

What’s shifting in the charismatic approach is who the programming is being created to reach. Instead of cultivating a service with only the unchurched in mind, incorporate space in the program that provides the “first couple of rungs on the ladder” for anyone new to the church space while keeping the focus on engaging Christ followers in continued spiritual growth.

3. Don’t wear Saul’s armor; find your own fit

If you feel stuck in a model that isn’t working and aren’t sure how to change course, there are two places to focus on in order to slowly turn the ship around.

First, pray – and if you don’t know how to pray, ask God to teach you how. Seems too simple, but never underestimate the powerful changes that can come through intentional prayer.

Second, focus on your unique calling instead of getting lost in the comparison trap. The things that connect your church to your community are not necessarily the same things that connect other churches to theirs. You can’t wear Saul’s armor. You need a suite customized for your own battle. Focus on your strengths, know who you are and hone in on what God has called you to do.

Quotes from Episode 251

Nobody is looking for WOW anymore in the church. If they are truly lost, they are looking for HOW. -Matt Warren Click To Tweet

People show up looking for Jesus and shame on us if they show up and only find us. @cnieuwhof Click To Tweet

I never want to lose the environment that says everybody is welcome. -Matt Warren Click To Tweet

We're never going to have the opportunity to actually get our arms around online attenders if we don't engage them in the new foyer, which is online. -Drew Powell Click To Tweet

Read or Download the Transcript for Episode 251

Looking for a key quote? More of a reader?

Read or download a free PDF transcript of this episode here.

Reach More People…Every Weekend

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  • Why you need to ditch your sermon notes (and how to do it far more easily than you think.)
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And far more! Plus you get an interactive workbook and some bonus resources that will help you write amazing messages week after week.

In the Art of Better Preaching, Mark and I share everything we’ve learned about communicating in a way that will help your church grow without compromising biblical integrity. We cover detailed training on everything from interacting with the biblical text to delivering a talk without using notes, to writing killer bottom lines that people will remember for years.

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Next Episode: Kevin Queen

What do you do when a well-known, charismatic founder of a highly visible, successful church resigns and you’re the successor? That was Kevin Queen’s situation in 2017 when he took over the Lead Pastor role at Cross Point Church in Nashville, TN after Pete Wilson stepped back. Kevin had never been a Lead Pastor before and has a very different style and approach. 18 months later, the church has never been stronger or larger, and is moving into the future as alive as it’s ever been. Kevin shares that astonishing, unlikely story of how it all came together under God’s grace.

Subscribe for free now and you won’t miss Episode 252.

CNLP 251: Drew Powell and Matt Warren on Why Attractional Church is Past Peak, Why It’s Changing and What’s Next for Weekend Services


  1. Whatsapp Plus on September 28, 2020 at 7:33 am

    It’s no wonder that in recent years whatsapp became a huge part of our lives. It’s convenient quick and easy to use.

  2. AOS TV on July 8, 2020 at 12:55 pm

    How about this one: I never want to lose the environment that says everybody is welcome! Awesome I would say. Keep more coming sir.

  3. Robin Savin on March 21, 2019 at 7:41 am

    I don’t like nor do I believe in whatsoever what the Bible says about homosexuality. I’ve always felt homosexuality is normal and ice pure and speak to God literally every day for for the last 11 + years. God told me” we should not control one another because he gave us FREE WILL and said LOVE IS LOVE and God has never felt “homosexuality is an abomination or considered a SIN”.

  4. Mark McDonald on March 18, 2019 at 12:21 am

    A great episode, again well done on digging deeper into the topic (fan of the long format).
    It was refreshing to hear leaders in the attractional church starting to realise that the things that drew people in weren’t the lights and cool music. Attractional churches have raised production values (a positive thing) but have also been better at welcoming the new person or the visitor. Attractional churches have also been better at explaining the truths of the gospel in ways that nonchurched people can understand and apply in their lives. My hope is that all churches keep learning these lessons; welcoming the new person and explaining the gospel to those who are still learning.
    I work in Anglican churches (in Australia) which have not seen a lot of growth in recent decades as less people understand the inside church culture. The gap has been too far for people to leap into the church. Traditional churches are picking up lapsed christians who seek to reconnect but they don’t really reach into their non christian neighbourhoods. An anglican church like Holy Trinity Brompton in London is teaching us is that we can blend new person focus whilst providing engaging teaching and deep worship encounters with God.
    The other interesting development is the cross denominational descriptions appearing. Recently I heard Matt Chandler describe himself as a Bapicostal. Another leader described himself as liturgicostal based on the work of Robert e Webber. Your interview with Jon Thompson was another example of a blend of denominational descriptors.
    Carey, keep digging into the charismatic church idea, I’d love to hear more on this.

  5. Jeanne Bressler on March 14, 2019 at 10:35 pm

    Hi, Carey,

    Honestly speaking, I feel that you are pursuing your own personal agenda on this blog. I think that you suppress any views that you do not personally support and that run counter to your own thinking. I trust that you are supporting The Lord as best you can and as He leads you, yes. So, God bless you and Joel Osteen, and I hope you guys attract many tithes, donations and offerings.

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