The Purpose-Driven Church - Part 1
See also A purpose-driven seminary for the 21st century church
Peter Drucker On Leadership: Peter F. Drucker was born 95 years ago today.... He stopped giving media interviews about a year ago. But in late October, Drucker granted an exception to Forbes.com at the urging of Dr. Rick Warren, the founder and head of the Christian evangelical Saddleback Community Church....
"The Drucker-Warren relationship may surprise many readers, but it goes back two decades, to when the young minister came to Drucker for advice. Under Drucker's tutelage, Warren's own success as a spiritual entrepreneur has been considerable. Saddleback has grown to 15,000 members and has helped start another 60 churches throughout the world. Warren's 2001 book, The Purpose-Driven Life, is this decade's best seller with 19.5 million copies sold so far....
"During the first 30 minutes... advised Warren on the challenges of ministry and church building. This consultation is one Drucker and Warren have engaged in twice yearly for two decades. ... Below are Drucker's thoughts on leadership. ....Successful leaders... don't tackle things they aren't good at. They make sure other necessities get done, but not by them. Successful leaders make sure that they succeed! ... Effective leaders check their performance.... They are purpose driven--yes, mission driven. ...I think churches and synagogues and the 12-step recovery programs are the main development agents of character today." See Social Change & Communitarianian systems & Spirit-Led or Purpose-Driven?
Learning To Live And Lead With Purpose: "You will be supervised and receive coaching by the staff and pastors of Saddleback Church. You will also be given the opportunity to attend one of two affiliated seminaries: Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary or Rockbridge University.... Blessings, Erik Rees, Andrea Petty."
Read about Eric Rees inCreating Community: 40 Days of Change through Transformational Leadership
Motivating Volunteers in Your Church: A Twelve-Point Checklist(Rick Warren's website): "If you are going to foster an ethos of service, you must start by helping people understand and discover how God has wired them spiritually. Although a general understanding of spiritual gifts is essential, the core issue is helping volunteers understand THEIR spiritual giftedness and how THEIR giftedness fits into YOUR ministry....
"Motivational leadership pundit John Maxwell states that the number one motivational principle is that people do what people see. Without a living model of what you expect from volunteers, all the talk, teaching, training manuals, and videos are for naught!....
"According to educational guru William Glasser one of our basic needs as human beings is the freedom to choose. Think about a time you had to do something you were not particularly excited about doing. You probably felt trapped."
But God trains us in service by calling us to do what may not be comfortable for us. He provides His strength in our weakness! SeeSpiritual Gifts and Community Service
Rick Warren's Ministry Toolbox : "The quality of your life will be in direct proportion to the types of questions you ask yourself." - Rick Warren11/10/2004
"Education guru" William Glasser -- a key "change agent" in today's social transformation -- now influences churches as well as schools. Notice his quote at the top of this page: Reinventing the World: The Mind-Changing Process. Then click on the shortcut to Glasser at the top of the following pages: Sex Ed and Global Values, Chronology of the NEA (2 items), Soviet Education in the 1930s versus U.S. Education in 2001
Illumination: "Each child has a unique glow that brightens the world in some way. It’s these little lights that bring joy to those in the dark. That’s why it’s so important to plug them into an outlet that grounds them in Christ’s love. At PDCM 2005, you’ll learn how to flip the switches that will bring the most light to your ministry. Plus, you’ll make connections that will recharge you mentally, physically, and spiritually during three days of total illumination.... The Purpose Driven Children’s Ministry at Saddleback Church believes that even a flicker of light in a child can grow into a lighthouse of hope in an adult."
A flick of a switch is all it takes? What about Scriptures such as John 6:43?
(From Rick Warren's pastors.com) Brian McLaren: the story we find ourselves in: "Interdependence, though imbedded in nature, is foreign to the Western individualism so ingrained in American (U.S.) Christianity. That's why McLaren's 'new kind of Christian' often uses words like 'journey' and 'conversation' to describe Christian life beyond the postmodern divide....
"'Brian has moved beyond simple deconstruction and stone-throwing to a much more productive combination of healthy critique along with future-thinking and praxis,' says Mark Oestreicher of Youth Specialties." The next article is from the popular magazine started by Youth Specialties:
Contemplative Prayer Practices: "Every book on CPP [Contemplative Prayer Practices] I've ever read talks about deep breathing. Interestingly, while this is the most physical aspect of CPP, spiritually it's the most suspect. ...
"Ignatian Contemplation: A form of prayer used by Saint Ignatius of Loyola incorporating the imagination. There are a number of different exercises associated with Ignatian contemplation, but there are two I teach frequently. The first is connected to sacred reading, and simply put is visualizing the situation of a Biblical text with you in it.....
"The point of a labyrinth is to journey to the center of a spiral pattern traced on the ground and journey back out again. While walking through the pathway in the labyrinth, participants are encouraged to ask God to speak to them in the walking."
CNN LARRY KING LIVE Interview With Rick Warren: WARREN: Billy Graham's been a mentor for me for a long time. He's taught me a lot. He would be one of my spiritual fathers. Peter Drucker (ph) is a mentor, and Billy Graham has been a mentor, both of them to me for years. ...
WARREN: ...I think one of the things about the book that took off, it's kind of a slap in the face, because the first line of the book says, 'it's not about you.'" Now, I don't know a self-help book in the world that starts with, 'it's not about you.' But every other book on self-help will basically say, it's all about you. It's all about your needs, your dreams, your desires. ...
WARREN: I am going to write another book.... This next book is going to be on asking -- dealing with the question, what are you doing with what you've been given? Because I believe that we all fundamentally -- everything we have is a gift.
CALLER: Yes, I would like to ask the reverend if he believes that non-Christians can get into heaven and be with God when they die.
WARREN: ...Does god have a right to decide who gets into his place? ... Jesus said this -- he said, I am the way and the truth and the life. And nobody comes to the father except through me. Now, you know what, that's a pretty radical statement when you think about it."
Rick Warren: a philosophy of leadership: "Nothing happens until someone provides leadership for it. This is a law of life.... [It is? It's certainly not a law of God!]
"...the Civil Rights movement was making little progress until a man came along named Martin Luther King, who said, 'I have a dream.' He then provided leadership. ...
"The test of leadership: 'Is anybody following?' If you want to know whether you're a leader or not, simply look over your shoulder.My friend John Maxwell says, "He who thinketh he leadeth and hath no one following him is only taking a walk." See the next link:
Living Leadership: "John C. Maxwell, a best-selling author and leadership authority, will help you map a Leadership Action Plan that will translate insights and principles from Living Leadership into the daily practices that will ignite your leadership. You’ll craft a comprehensive plan, full of ideas and executable steps that will ensure you deliver results, the right way. This custom tool ensures that beyond inspiration, your execution will be lifted...." Maxwell pastored a large church in California. Is there any place for God in his current formula for success? This web page continues:
"Living Leadership unites an unprecedented lineup of executives, world leaders, and gifted communicators for audiences gathered in board rooms and universities across the country: Donald Trump... Mikhail Gorbachev, President of the Soviet Union from 1985-1991; 1990 Nobel Peace Prize winner; and 1990 Time Magazine 'Man of the Decade.'... Peter F. Drucker... the Father of Modern Management. ...
"Living Leadership attendees can expect to walk away with a vision for where they want to take their team...."
Notice that this is not a Christian group. Therefore their respective visions match the world's system -- not God's will or purposes. Today's churches call for visions and a "visioning process," but their demands for motivating visions do not mean that God supplies the visions "needed" for their strategic or transformational leadership.
Salt-free saints: "In a recent televised interview with Rick Warren... Dateline NBC’s Josh Mankiewizc told viewers: '…don’t expect to hear any sermons on the evils of homosexuality or abortion rights.'...
"Mankiewicz: 'You don’t seem to talk very much about some of the most divisive issues facing the country; why is that?'
"Warren: 'We never use the pulpit for politics. I believe abortion is wrong. But, if someone comes to our church who’s had an abortion… what I want her to know is that God loves her.'...
"He concluded his interview by saying: 'Fundamentally, my role in life is to get people into heaven.' Well, I would love to know just how he does that without addressing the issue of sin and one’s need to repent. John the Baptist couldn’t do it. Jesus Himself didn’t do it. And, their message is just as important today as it was 2000 years ago; 'Repent: for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.'” Conforming to the culture and Repentance
The tyranny of visions: "Visions are powerful things. For some people, visions make facts unnecessary and can even over-ride facts to the contrary. In the years leading up to the Bolshevik revolution in Russia, Lenin developed a whole vision of the world of the past, the present, and the future. ... Lenin was just the first of the great vision-driven dictators of the 20th century. Like Hitler and Mao after him, Lenin was prepared to sacrifice the lives of millions of human beings on the altar to his vision.
"Even in democratic nations, there are people who can impose their vision on other people, with no consequences for being wrong and no requirement that they prove themselves right. Social workers have for years tried to stop white couples from adopting orphans from minority groups because that goes against their vision. They don't need a speck of evidence to back up their preconceptions." See the next link:
Topical Index of Scriptures. Dreams and Visions
70 state churches launch 'Purpose' campaigns (Registration required): "More than 6,000 churches in North America, including about 70 in Wisconsin, are embarking on a spiritual path this fall blazed by mega-church pastor Rick Warren and his bestselling book, 'The Purpose Driven Life.'... Before winter sets in, at least 9 million adults and children will have participated in '40 Days of Purpose' campaigns run by more than 21,000 congregations over the past two years.... That does not count the overseas campaigns. And the next phase, a '40 Days of Community' campaign, is being launched today in 900 churches that did the first campaign." See Small Groups and the Dialectic Process
Seven Principles of Transformational Leadership -- Creating A Synergy of Energy: "Families need rebuilding. Jobs are scarce. The cost of living is increasing. ... Children do not have a level playing field for every intellectual, social and emotional development. We are flooded with evidence of the need for societal transformation everywhere we look....
"Peter Drucker, in The Age of Transformation, says that this age is far from over and predicts it will reach well into the next century. This is a time, which calls for a critical mass of transformational leaders who will commit to creating a synergy of energy within their circle of influence so new level of social, economic, organizational and spiritual success can be reached."
Notice that this link is from Pastor Rick Warren's website: pastors.com. Please pray that God lead us as we write an article on such transformational leadership and what it means -- whether in churches, schools, corporations or government. See Small Groups and the Dialectic Process
40 Days of Community: "40 Days of Community is a comprehensive program that impacts every area of the church’s ministry.... Warren warns that many other programs and activities will need to be placed on hold or even cancelled if they are not part of 40 Days of Community.... The program extends not just to the corporate gatherings but also to individual quiet times....
"At the end of that time he promises that the principles God has revealed to him will have transformed your church. It will be bigger (growth in numbers), be bringing in more money (growth in giving) and stronger (growth in small groups).... The program is designed to infiltrate every important area of the church and remove those areas that are not deemed important. It is all-encompassing." See Postmodernity
S.H.A.P.E. -- Life Review Retreat: "The Life Review Retreat will guide you through a sequential process that helps you gain a better perspective on your S.H.A.P.E. and how that influences your life. This is NOT a self-help-styled, quick fix resource. Rather, it IS a total life discovery and planning process to help you fall deeper in love with God, while understanding how he SHAPEd you. Included in the Life Review Retreat is the Life Review Planner and a quick start audio guide on CD by Saddleback pastor Erik Rees." SeeSpiritual Gifts and Community Service
The next three links describe a global contest judged by five authorities on the Power of Purpose, including Rick Warren:
Rick Warren tour to mark 2-year point for ‘Purpose-Driven Life’: "During his 12-day tour, Warren will speak to a variety of East Coast audiences in 16 events about what he describes as 'the renewal of purpose happening in America.... 'I believe that we are possibly on the verge of a new reformation in Christianity and another Great Awakening in our nation,' Warren said. ...
"Warren plans to use the tour to speak to different groups of what he calls 'cultural influencers,' including the media and entertainment industry in New York City, military and government leaders in Washington, D.C., and business leaders, philanthropists, psychologists, religious leaders and university students in other locations.... Stops on the tour include... an event at the Pentagon... West Point... NBC’s 'Today Show.'"
One of the judges of the Power of Purpose writing contest was Rick Warren. Read about the other judges and the esoteric beliefs of the winner on this page: Purpose-Driven
The Power of Purpose Awards - A worldwide Essay Competition: "Many religious traditions, both Eastern and Western, subscribe to the idea that there is something of God’s presence in each of us. Even for the growing number of people who describe themselves as spiritual, but not necessarily religious, there is a certain attachment to this concept of the divine spark....
"...if purpose in its purest form is something greater than individual human beings or even groups of people, then surely purpose can be found elsewhere in the world. The 19th Century Romantics looked at nature itself and found this 'divine spark.
"...it could be said that part of man’s purpose is to learn nature’s purpose. Finding evidence of purpose in our fellow human beings as well as in nature and the cosmos can help us to see the benefits of purpose, understand its origins and, perhaps, even broaden its reach."
Notice that theemphasis is on the power or motivating force of purpose, not the actual purpose. As long as facilitators can design a strategic vision or purpose statement, they can manipulate the feelings and behavior of the group they lead. And their subjects won't even know that they are being controlled.
This is a global strategy, conceived by devious men in the early 1900s, and developed by psycho-social visionaries at Tavistock Institute, Frankfurt Institute, SRI, MIT, Columbia University and Educational Laboratories across America. Now the churches have caught their vision of power, rewrapped the manipulative strategies in misleading Biblical terms, and are distributing the "tools" and "teachings" to churches around the world. See Deception and
Steps toward Global Mind Control
The Power of Purpose Awards - The Judges: "The award-winning essays in this competition will be selected by this distinguished panel of judges, all of whom have exemplified throughout their lives and careers a strong and unmistakable understanding of The Power of Purpose. ... Nancy Brinker... Rick Warren... Paul Davies... Hugh Delehanty... Marian Wright Edelman (To learn more about Marian Wright Edelman, see Character Training For Global Citizenship)." Next, meet the winner:
Global Spirituality. August Turak: "Working toward this miraculous transformation, re-birth, or inner alchemy is the true purpose of life. This transformation is what the West calls 'conversion' and the East 'enlightenment,' and is the fruit of our commitment to the authentically purposeful life." See A Twist of Faith, Chapter 1
Sermons for sale: "I know that on Rick Warren’s sermon download page it says: 'Stop Following and Start Leading'.... So, it only makes sense that part of being a good leader in the church growth movement means being a faithful downloader and promoter of Purpose Driven products." See Saddleback Sermons by Rick Warren
40 More Days of Warren: "This fall, Rick Warren will be encouraging thousands of churches to join his 40 Days of Community program. Warren describes this program as 'a next step in spiritual growth for your congregation, and we believe it’s a necessary step for deepening healthy, balanced, purpose-driven lives.'...
"Who can argue that deepening authentic community and reaching out to the community could be a bad thing? So what's the problem? The problem is that this whole program is Warren Driven. The campaign depends on six essential tools.... The registration cost for this program is roughly $1000." See Part 2: Unity and Community
All God's Children: "In a cinder-block classroom at the edge of Biola University's manicured campus in a Los Angeles suburb, Craig Detweiler was blasting the music of Nick Cave at his 'Intro to Mass Media' class. Two dozen students were arranged in a horseshoe of swivel chairs, and they were looking blankly at a photo of Cave, a sullen goth-rocker....
"Detweiler... brings a kind of affable sarcasm to a complicated job; he is the chairman of a mass-media department at a university that until 1977 banned all films.
"'This stuff is pretty hard and dark,' he offered.... 'But did you know that Nick Cave wrote an introduction to the Gospel of Mark for a special edition of the Bible published in the U.K.? What do we think of that?'
"Like a lot of Christian colleges in the United States, Biola has in recent years made serious efforts to compete academically with secular and more mainstream religiously affiliated colleges." See Re-Inventing the Church
The Gospel: A Method or a Message? How the Purpose Driven Life Obscures the Gospel: "The Bible study my friend attended was really a Purpose Driven Life study group.... He was told that if he was going to attend the study, he would have to leave his Bible at home, because the issues he brought up were disruptive to the group. He chose to quit instead....
"Rick Warren begins the first day of his journey by saying, 'It’s not about you.' Yet the entire book 'feels' like it is about you.... He dedicates the book to 'you' on the first page after the copyright information and uses the pronoun 'you' continually throughout the book."
Emerging Church (encyclopedia): --a label that has been used to refer to a particular subset of Christians who are rethinking Christianity against the backdrop of Postmodernism.... Emerging Church groups have typically contained some or all of the following elements: Highly creative approaches to worship and spiritual reflection. This can involve everything from the use of contemporary music and films through to liturgy or other more ancient customs. ... A flexible approach to theology whereby individual differences in belief and morality are accepted within reason. A more holistic approach to the role of the church in society. This can mean anything from greater emphasis on fellowship in the structure of the group to a higher degree of emphasis on social action, community building or Christian outreach. A desire to reanalyse the Bible against the context into which it was written...." Psalm 119:11
165 members ousted from Gardendale Baptist: "Members of Gardendale Baptist Church voted Sunday to expel about 165 members from their congregation because they did not support the leadership of the church's pastor.... In a letter to the congregation, Micah Davidson, the church's pastor, called a business meeting after a July 18 baptismal service at which members would vote on the following statement: 'Pastor Micah is the God-called pastor for Gardendale and is leading us in God's direction or not.' ...
"'If the church votes for me to stay,' he wrote, 'those who vote against me will be removed from membership in the family immediately.'...
"Gilbert said opposition in the church was impeding the church's progress. He said the members could not vote on every decision Davidson made, but could vote on whether he was called by God to be pastor.' They just couldn't continue with the gossip and slander and misinformation,' he said."The audio interviews with some who were forced to leave indicate their concerns were valid, not gossip or misinformation. The "misinformation" seems to come from the new church managers, not from the concerned Christians. No wonder, since contemporary "church leaders" are trained to use tough words to discredit dissenters. See Dealing with Resisters and comment
Church must embrace post-christendom: "...the church needs to rethink the way that it relates to the world around it. That is the message of a new and radical book by Stuart Murray. The book entitled 'Post-Christendom: Church and mission in a strange new world' looks at the context within which the church in western culture now operates....
"In the secular and religiously plural world of the twenty-first century, Christians can no longer operate with Christendom values, assumptions, methods or attitudes. A church on the margins, if it is to flourish or even survive, must learn to read the Bible, engage in mission and understand itself in fresh ways....
"...in a Post-Christendom context the church has opportunities to engage in new and radical ways with the world around it, that it hasn’t had for hundreds of years.” See Spirit-Led or Purpose-Driven?
Worship services can be charismatic and sensitive to seekers: "Several years ago, as we explored implementing the Purpose-Driven Church (PDC) concepts, we were led to face a stark reality.... The self-evaluation required in making deep changes in any local church often surfaces painful issues. In the light of change, we discovered that our worship had become irrelevant to our community....
"As post-modern thinking emerges, there is a new openness to spirituality, but it is not a spirituality that seeks absolute truth. It is a spirituality that looks for solutions that work in real life. Whatever works, whatever is best, that will be the spirituality that is considered truth, and people are looking for it everywhere....
"To evaluate spiritual awareness in your community, go to the local bookstore.Look at the titles under topics like occult, spirituality, mysticism etc. Ask which ones are the top sellers. Have the courage to read one or two to find out what is attracting people to these forms of spirituality. The object of this research is not to build up an arsenal of 'what is wrong' thinking. The object is discovering what needs are attracting people to this spirituality.... Looking into the mirror as we embraced PDC was very costly; some things had to change. But, as a result, today we are healthier and better equipped to realize the kingdom of God within our church and our community."
Does God really want us to read occult books to discover the "felt needs" in our community? How can we make our worship relevant to the secular or pagan community when God tells us to worship Him in "Spirit and truth"? Should we not seek His will and ways -- then offer His truth to those whose hearts He has prepared? See Ephesians 5:2-17, Re-Inventing the Church and From Personal Freedom to Collectivism and Control
Emerging churches in post-Christendom: "New models of church are promoted as contextually appropriate and missionally effective - seeker-sensitive, purpose-driven and cell church among the most popular.... Redesigning church for postmodern culture is a quest on which many have embarked. On the fringes are those whose experiences of church make them wary of using the term 'church.' Alternative worship, café church, youth church, pub church, cyber-church, household church, portfolio church, table church, new monastic communities and other models are emerging....
"The deep yearning for expressions of church that are spiritually authentic, culturally attuned and attractive to others is a hopeful feature of contemporary church life." But God didn't promise that His people feel at home in the world's culture. See John 15:20-21 and Hebrews 11
The Mad Rush to Seeker Sensitive Worship: "Os Guinness makes the valid point that, 'Meeting needs does not always satisfy needs; it often stokes further ones and raises the pressure of eventual disillusionment.... Need (is) subject to consumer fashion, (and) become shallow, plastic and manipulative.' Indeed, the drive to meet 'felt needs' can mask the real need that the truth of the Gospel addresses -- alienation from God! ...
"One of the most blatant examples of the compromise which flows out of this can be seen in 1966 World Council of Churches dictum: 'The world must set the agenda for the church.' I would suggest that this idea, formulated in the crucible of ecumenical dialogue between light and darkness, is not far from the 'seeker sensitive' approach adopted through the Church Growth ideology of contemporary evangelicals."See Worldliness
Younger pastors ask: Is preaching out of touch? (From one of Rick Warren's websites) "At last February's Emergent Convention, a gathering of alternative church leaders.... Pagitt bluntly told 1,100 young participants that 'preaching is broken.' ... Most of those young leaders are quick to point out it isn't about technique. Preaching is broken, they say, because the church has failed to take the cultural shifts of postmodernity seriously. In today's culture, they explain, people are increasingly distrustful of authority figures, especially preachers....
"'A sermon is often a violent act,' says Pagitt, a key figure among emerging leaders. 'It's a violence toward the will of the people who have to sit there and take it.'... It's hard for a congregation to practice the priesthood of all believers when the preaching perpetuates an image of the pastor as somehow more authoritative or spiritual than his or her listeners." 2 Timothy 4:3-4
Marketing the Church, God, and the Gospel: Why the Church Must Stop Selling Jesus: "As already alluded to above, there is a widespread and growing conviction among many church leaders and marketing gurus that the form or method of the message or the worship service has no effect on the content. Church marketing is seen as a completely neutral technique that does not alter the Gospel in any way....
"Effective seeker church messages are full of paradoxes. They are traditional in theology, yet innovative in form; 'hard' in their call for conversion, yet 'soft' in their promotion of the this-worldly benefits of belief; traditional in their insistence that God is holy and righteous, yet modern in their willingness to focus primarily on God’s love and forgiveness.... In sum, seeker church messages resist the pressure of modernity in their theology but often accommodate themselves to the culture in their format and emphases....
"...the issue is not how to get people back into churches, but how to make our churches into His church.” Colossians 2:8
The rise of the American megachurch: "Gone are traditional religious dogma, rituals, and symbols, replaced by uplifting songs and sermons. Congregants are taught that - through God - they are victors, not victims. The messages are encouraging and easy to swallow, and no one is called a sinner. It's 'Jesus meets the power of positive thinking.'"
A New Song - Part 3: "...many of today's contemporary Christian songs and popular praise choruses are quite suitable for use by almost any of the world's religions. Like the church growth movement, the lyrical content is, more often than not, emotionally strong, theologically weak and largely ambiguous. Because such music verbalizes little more than fleeting emotions, vivid imaginings, poetic interpretations and felt-need affections toward a universal or generic 'God', leaving out any potentially offensive doctrinal specifics – especially scriptural negatives like sin, repentance, shed blood, crucified, cross, etc., virtually any god or religion could be accommodated, worshipped and served by their use." Psalm 100:2-5
The Church Growth Movement & Purpose Driven Church VERSUS The Bible: "Man adds to the church daily as should be saved through contemporary marketing methods...' versus 'And the LORD added to the church daily such as should be saved." This is a helpful chart showing the difference between Biblical and Postmodern guidelines.
A Critique of the "Seeker-Sensitive, Purpose-Driven" Church Model: "In our last article we examined why the message of the cross arouses the hostility of sinners when it is faithfully declared in their ears. In this article we will delve into the attempts by the proponents of the 'seeker-sensitive, purpose-driven' church model to minimize, if not outright eliminate this inbred resistance by the world to the gospel of Christ." The Cross of Christ
Church Growth Scholar Advocates Radical Change in New Millennium: "The evangelicalchurch in North America must undergo radical change with new kinds of leadership in order to fulfill its redemptive mission in the postmodern context of the next century.... Speaking during the annual meeting of the American Society for Church Growth at Golden Gate Seminary's Mill Valley, Calif., campus, Nov. 12-14, Gibbs warned churches must embrace transitions or 'forfeit the possibility of exercising a transformational ministry within changing cultures.'...
"The church itself will need to go through a metamorphosis in order to find its new identity in the dialectic of gospel and culture,' he said. 'This new situations is requiring churches to approach their context as a missional encounter.'
"...the cultural changes with which church leaders must grapple are:
- Global. 'There is nowhere to run to.' ...
Comprehensive. 'They affect every area of life.'" We will look at those "global" and "comprehensive" changes in Part 2 of Spirit-Led or Purpose-Driven
Saddleback, Golden Gate Launch Partnership for Educating Laity: "Designed to 'multiply leaders for ministry,' Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary and Saddleback Church in Mission Viejo, Calif., have launched a partnership offering graduate theological education and ministry training for lay leaders.....
"We are committed to the inerrancy of God's Word. It is the bedrock on which we base everything else."
It sounds so good, but in Softening God's Word, you saw how Scriptures are paraphrased and taken out of context in order to please the postmodern community. Romans 12:2 and John 15:20-21
Practical Strategies for Outreach (Brett Schrock, Saddleback Church, CA) "Applying Purpose Driven Principles to Connect Your Church with Seekers//Workshop Description: Knowing how to identify and connect with the felt needs in the local community is a challenge facing thousands of churches. This session provides you with tangible examples of 'how to' meet the challenge and provides take away tools and models to assist you. Develop an intentional outreach plan to transform your community for Christ. This workshop is a must for any pastor wanting to build bridges and make a difference in the local community." Spirit-Led or Purpose-Driven?
US megachurches bring shopping mall theology to thirtysomethings: "As Americans like going to shopping malls for all their consumer needs in one spot, so self-styled 'megachurches' are the fastest growing form of service in the country. They offer a one-stop spiritual supermarket.....
"The multi-ethnic congregation is made up of nominal Baptists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians and Roman Catholics. They are taught that through God they are victors not victims, and no one is called a sinner.... Eddie Gibbs, a professor at the Fuller Theological Seminary, has described it as a conscious process to 'remove every obstacle that keeps people from coming into the Christian Church.'....
"The church's target market is the thirtysomethings....'We are trying to get the people in so that we can then process them towards a greater understanding of the faith, which we do through smaller discussion groups for those that want to further examine their spiritual path,' he said. 'Don't forget Christ used user-friendly language. He spoke to his followers in parables."
Jesus spoke in parables so that only the true seeker (drawn by the Holy Spirit) would understand. Pastor Warren speaks a "user-friendly language" so that it will make earthly sense to everybody. See Softening God's Word and Psalm 119:11
(Rick Warren has endorsed Brian McLaren's Emergent Church ministry.)
Church on the Other Side: "We are living in a time of some confusion and uncertainty as to where the church is headed and what it’s supposed to be. The options are many, and just about everything is being tried--seeker services, renewed liturgy, house churches, and cell groups. How does a church equip itself to minister effectively in the postmodern culture? ....Brian's first book, formerly titled Reinventing Church, now revised and expanded in 2000, has been a portal helping many Christian leaders enter the conversation about the postmodern transition." See Apostasy
Unbelieving 'born-agains': "Secularists, liberals, and Muslims do not need to fear conservative Christians, says Dave Shiflett in The Wall Street Journal. Christians, he says... don't really believe that there is such a thing as the heathen, tending to believe instead that every religion is equally valid. Even the most feared of Christians—the dread 'born-agains' ... often embrace the modern orthodoxies of tolerance and inclusion over the traditional teachings of their faith."
"He cites poll data from Christian researcher George Barna that 26 percent of born-agains believe all religions are essentially the same and that 50 percent believe that a life of good works will enable a person to get to heaven....
"...this is strong evidence of how American Christianity is conforming to the dominant secular culture. It is all right to be religious, according to the dictates of postmodernism, as long as your faith exists just in your head. Preachers sometimes exhort people to 'invite Jesus into your heart' without proclaiming who Jesus is and what He has done for sinners. This is evangelism that forgets to preach the gospel. The result will be 'nonevangelical born-agains.'... [See "Widening the gate to the Kingdom" and Colossians 2:8
Rick Warren's Purpose-Driven® Life sells 10 million copies: "Pastor Rick Warren's 'The Purpose-Driven® Life,' the #1 New York Times bestseller, has sold 10 million copies in the English language alone since its release in September of 2002.... A third '40 Days of Purpose' campaign was launched last month with more than 6,000 churches participating. It is estimated that an additional 14,500 churches will participate in the campaign in 2004.... 'The Purpose-Driven Life is more than a bestseller, it's become a movement....'" Spirit-Led or Purpose-Driven?See the next three links:
The Emerging Church (by Dan Kimball): Vintage Christianity for New Generations: "...a new world is emerging all around us. We are fast moving from a Judeo-Christian world to a post-Christian world. This means we need to rethink leadership, preaching, spiritual formation, evangelism, what we do in worship services and most importantly of all how we view 'church'.... The book explores current cultural changes and then moves beyond deconstruction to give specific examples of emerging church ministry...."See Re-Inventing the Church
Endorsements for The Emerging Church” by Dan Kimball: "...a wonderful, detailed example of what a purpose-driven church can look like in a post-modern world," says Rick Warren. "My friend, Dan Kimball, writes passionately from his heart, with a deep desire to reach emerging generations and culture. While my book, The Purpose-Driven Church, explained what the church is called to do, Dan’s book explains how to do it with the cultural-creatives who think and feel in post-modern terms. You need to pay attention to him because times are changing." ...
"The future of the church in North America hinges on innovators like Dan Kimball and the ideas presented in The Emerging Church." Bob Buford, The Buford Foundation, Founder of Leadership Network." No! The future of the Church is in God's hands, not in the minds and plans of contemporary "innovators." See El Shaddai, The Almighty God
Day the Church split: "Worldwide Anglicanism split in two yesterday after conservative leaders representing up to 50 million worshippers angrily rejected the Church's first openly homosexual bishop."
Biblical unity is based on Biblical truth. Where people mock God's Word, there can be no unity.Oneness and Postmodernity
Church growth movement - Revival or Apostasy?"A wave is sweeping the world that many Christians are calling Revival. This is the biggest change to take place in the church since the days of the Protestant Reformation. Tens of thousands of pastors and church leaders in America have jumped onto the bandwagon of a Church Growth Movement that seems to be reaching the masses for Christ. Can this be the real thing?
"What are the methods being used to grow the church? Are they really God's methods or have churches compromised with the world and used techniques common to the New Age rather than to the Bible? As Christian author and preacher John MacArthur said, 'Contemporary evangelism has been beguiled and sabotaged by a ruinous lack of confidence in God's word….
"The Bible defines sin as rebellion against God, but Schuller finds that insulting. To him, Jesus was Self-Esteem Incarnate...
"In Nov. 1987 that same Gorbachev that Schuller so highly esteems said in a speech at the 70th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution, 'In October 1917, we parted with the Old World, rejecting it once and for all. We are moving toward a new world, the world of Communism. We shall never turn off that road." SeeThe State of The World According to Gorbachev
The Death of Truth: (Chapter 1) "As with Darwinism, postmodernism has its origin in intellectual and academic circles. This is why average Christians are unaware, or at least unclear, about what postmodernism is. Even Christian leaders and thinkers find themselves confused as their senses are assaulted by the strange or even seemingly insane language of postmodern analysis.
"As we shall see, they present a dangerously convincing case for their view--a view that ultimately directly undermines all possibility of knowing objective truth (i.e., true whether I realize it or not). The real problem is this: once again, Christians aren't ready for a major challenge to the Christian world view...."
The postmodern culture didn't just evolve. It was created primarily through the dialectic process. See The Mind-Changing Process and Postmodernity
"Satan is not simply trying to draw people to the dark side of a good versus evil conflict. Actually, he is trying to eradicate the gap between himself and God, between good and evil, altogether." Ray Yungen, A Time of DepartingSee Religion-discussion
A New Kind of Christian: "A New Kind of Christian [By Brian McLaren] gives voice to this emerging understanding of what it means to be a Christian in these confusing times, offering a constructive vision of what a postmodern Christian might look like.... The pastor is forced to grapple with the true source of his dissatisfaction with Christianity and his growing desire to become a new kind of Christian--one who discovers truth afresh each day through continuous engagement with God."
Neither the Bible doesn't change with our times and culture. Nor does Jesus Christ, our Lord and our Life. But with today's quest for new and higher thrills, it's not surprising that people are less than satisfied with the good old gospel or an unchanging God. See My Lord and Psalm 119:11
Graduating in faith: "Azusa Pacific sends 200 to 300 students overseas for study each year and imports 222. 'If we don't globalize,' says Vic Bezjian, executive director of the college's International Center, 'we'll be left behind.' So globalize they have.... Ministering to this mix is no easy task, says college chaplain Chris Brown.... He preaches at chapel Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in the homespun style of radio personality Garrison Keillor. 'It's a challenge to be three times a week in front of 3,423 critical thinkers,' Mr. Brown says. 'The power in this country is not in money, land and politics. It's in the media, those who can tell narrative creatively.' The screen saver on the chaplain's computer reads '3,423 eternities,' a reference to the destinies of those critical thinkers....
"Our goal generally is not to indoctrinate our students,' Mr. Jones says. 'At its best Wheaton College will be a dangerous place for students, because there's nothing more dangerous than ideas. They'll read Freud, Nietzsche and Kant, the most dangerous thinkers of contemporary and past ages. In the end, students will make their own decisions. The best thing we can do is not be hypocrites, and to be healthy and self-critical.'...
"...the Rev. Gordon Bietz, Southern's tall, dapper, silver-haired president, says his school attracts students by depicting itself as an incubator of passionate faith in Jesus Christ. 'From a pure marketing perspective, that works.'"
While Christian colleges are far better than secular universities, their focus is changing fast. Considering Rev. Moon's friendship with church leaders but hostility toward the cross [scroll down to "Global Spirituality" in Ban truth - Reap Tyranny], it's no surprise that the series was published by Washingon Times. See The Church Walking with the World
New Church Specialties Bridging The 'Contextualization Gap': "The vision of New Church Specialties is to assist the church and its institutions of higher education worldwide in 'bridging the contextualization gap.' We aim to develop New Church University, not just as a place, but as a learning process. Our goal is that, as a prospective NewStart, ReStart or ReFocusing church leader finishes their theological education, they would also be assessed....
"At New Church Specialties, we are also planning, not only for church planting and ReFocusing diplomas, but also for Church Health diplomas as well, designed to reward persons who invest their lives in bringing fresh life to churches that need to be 'turned around' and brought back to 'health.' The focus of all New Church University training is not simply on 'church growth' but 'church health.'" See Legalizing Mind Control
Relativism reigns over morality: "That these controversies even exist points to the continuing effort by many within the church to abandon Holy Scripture and replace it with their own personal preferences. The Bible is clear in its declarations that homosexuality ranks as a sin. Note that St. Paul places such acts alongside other sins: 'Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you.' Nonetheless, many would prefer to ignore sin, making repentance unnecessary." Jeremiah 6:13-15
repeat Feeding Sheep or Amusing Goats (by Spurgeon): "An evil is in the professed camp of the Lord, so gross in its impudence, that the most shortsighted can hardly fail to notice it during the past few years. It has developed at an abnormal rate, even for evil. It has worked like leaven until the whole lump ferments. The devil has seldom done a cleverer thing than hinting to the church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them.
"...providing amusement for the people is nowhere spoken of in the Scriptures as a function of the church.... What was the attitude of the church to the world? Ye are the salt" (Matt. 5:13), not the sugar candy....
"Had Christ introduced more of the bright and pleasant elements into his mission, he would have been more popular...."
Night Stalkers: "How confusing it must be for those outside the faith who try to connect the Jesus Christ of scripture to the people, groups and institutions of our day that call Him Lord. It’s a wonder ANYONE comes to faith in Christ anymore! Were it up to the machinations of men, clearly no one would. When I myself read Isaiah the prophet’s brief description of the coming Messiah and then view the postmodern church that bears His name, it’s often difficult to see any resemblance or relation between the humble Shepherd and the 21st century sheep." Rom 8:1-8 and Chart: Postmodern church
What's Inside the Trojan Horse? (John MacArthur) "...Church leaders reacted to the world's indifference, not by a return to strong biblical preaching that emphasized sin and repentance, but by a pragmatic approach to 'doing' church–an approach driven more by marketing, methodology, and perceived results than by biblical doctrine. The new model of ministry revolved around making sinners feel comfortable and at ease in the church, then selling them on the benefits of becoming a Christian....
"Even the church's ministry to its own has changed. Entertainment has hijacked many pulpits across the country; contemporary approaches cater to the ever-changing whims of professing believers; and many local churches have become little more than social clubs and community centers where the focus is on the individual's felt needs."Rom 12:2-9 and America's Spiritual Slide
Helping God: "...many churches today are acting as if big sound systems and video screens are required to hear the 'still small voice' of God and experience His presence. ....
"Am I saying that making your church attractive is sinful and that state-of-the-art church buildings are Temples of Doom? No, I’m saying that many formerly humble fellowships have become like Michael Jackson – butchering themselves and their credibility with millions of dollars in frivolous makeovers, renovations and reinventions in a desperate attempt to appear beautiful, successful and legitimate to a skeptical world." Galatians 6:4
Post-Modernity - A Global Weather Change? "Like a slow-moving weather front gradually blanketing our continent, a radical shift in the way young people view reality is bringing permanent change to Europe's spiritual climate.... Post-modernity, as this mood-change is becoming known, is not a rational, consistent, philosophy.... It is not a cohesive, logical mindset. It is a soup of contradictory ideas. Yet it is as radical a change as that triggered by the Enlightenment, when 'Pre-modern' thought gave way to the 'Modern' view of life.
"This climate-shift... carries major challenges and opportunities for how we are to present and demonstrate the Gospel in Europe today and tomorrow. Our evangelistic methods and approaches developed for the 'Modern' world will be irrelevant for a 'Postmodern' generation."
Yes, because public education has -- for many decades -- been teaching relative values, group thinking and hostility toward absolute truth. It happened by design, not by chance. See A New Way of Thinking and Brainwashing in America
Healthy Churches: "Characteristics of a Healthy Church [Willow Creek]: Active spiritual formation... Contagious evangelism... Mobilized spiritual gifts... Strong leadership... Cultural relevance... Collaboration and partnership....
"They utilize holistic stewardship practices. They serve the needy people in their community. They equip families to minister to themselves." Some points sound good, but all take on a new meaning in the context of the postmodern church. So be on guard. See Re-Inventing the Church
Is Willow Creek the Way of the Future? "Healthy congregations in the 21st century will undoubtedly be more 'seeker friendly,' but they will balance marketing efforts with a more judicious use of traditional understandings of the church and its ministries. 'Theological engineering' will catch up to church marketing.... Using their market-driven approach, its leaders will likely learn to address the current weaknesses...
"In a world of Willow Creeks, pop psychology can invert and ambush biblical truth about the relation between people and God. A firm foundation in scripture and in research-oriented psychology would generate a clearer recognition of the limits of such approaches. But cautions are not likely to receive much attention because of what Pritchard identifies as a strong pragmatic bias toward what is immediately useful. What doesn’t work now is not important." See The People's Church
Secrets to serving your generation in your time (Rick Warren -- "my life verse, Acts 13:36, where we’re told David was purpose-driven: 'David served God’s purpose in his own generation, then he died.'")
"He served God’s purpose … As individual followers of Christ we are to use our lives in worship, ministry, evangelism, discipleship, and fellowship....
"In his own generation … Ministry must always be done in the context of the current generation and culture. Whether we like it or not, we must minister to people in the culture as it really is - not in some past form that we may have idol-ized in our minds.
"David’s ministry was both relevant and timely. He did it "in his generation.” He served God’s purpose - which is eternal and unchanging - in his generation, which was the contemporary context for him. He served the timeless in a timely way. He was both orthodox and contemporary. He was both biblical and relevant.... We must be contemporary without compromising the truth. With every new generation, the rules change a little.
Links to earlier articles on the Postmodern Church
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