Wednesday, November 7, 2007

God's Way May Be Best After All

If we can do something in church that draws a crowd, then it must be a good thing to do, right? Forget Bible study, Bible preaching, digging into the Word. Our goal should be to grow a crowd, right? If we can just get a lot of people in a building once or twice a week, the changed lives stuff will just take care of itself, right?

Bob Burney, host of a radio show on WFRD in Columbus recently wrote an eye opening article for Baptist Press. Every church leader should read this article. Here is an excerpt...

Willow Creek has released the results of a multi-year study on the effectiveness of their programs and philosophy of ministry. The study's findings are in a new book titled "Reveal: Where Are You?," co-authored by Cally Parkinson and Greg Hawkins, executive pastor of Willow Creek Community Church. Hybels himself called the findings "ground breaking," "earth shaking" and "mind blowing." And no wonder: It seems that the "experts" were wrong.

The report reveals that most of what they have been doing for these many years and what they have taught millions of others to do is not producing solid disciples of Jesus Christ. Numbers yes, but not disciples. It gets worse. Hybels laments:

"Some of the stuff that we have put millions of dollars into thinking it would really help our people grow and develop spiritually, when the data actually came back it wasn't helping people that much. Other things that we didn't put that much money into and didn't put much staff against is stuff our people are crying out for."

If you simply want a crowd, the "seeker-sensitive" model produces results. If you want solid, sincere, mature followers of Christ, it's a bust. In a shocking confession, Hybels states:

"We made a mistake. What we should have done when people crossed the line of faith and become Christians, we should have started telling people and teaching people that they have to take responsibility to become 'self feeders.' We should have gotten people, taught people, how to read their Bible between services, how to do the spiritual practices much more aggressively on their own."

You can read the full article here.

May our church always seek to grow and reach more people, but let our purpose be to connect those people to a meaningful, life-changing, and enduring relationship with God, and may we do that by preaching His Word and showing the love of Christ.

Pastor Noel