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Reformed. Christianity. Evangelism. Modern Culture.
Purpose driven church?
Many in the church today believe that the only way to reach the world is to give the unchurched multitudes what they want. . . Subtly the overriding goal is church attendance and worldly acceptability rather than a transformed life. Preaching the Word and boldly confronting sin are seen as archaic, ineffectual means of winning the world. After all, those things actually drive most people away. Why not entice people into the fold by offering what they want, creating a friendly, comfortable environment, and catering to the very desires that constitute their strongest urges? As if we might get them to accept Jesus by somehow making Him more likable or making His message less offensive. That kind of thinking badly skews the mission of the church.
[This article was first posted in August 2012] When I came across this church “marketing advert” I was reminded of something that Alistair Begg once said:
A good church is a Bible-centered church. Nothing is as important as this–not a large congregation, a witty pastor, or tangible experiences of “the holy Spirit”. – Alistair Begg
It seems these days church services are geared to be social entertainment events created to provide a euphoric buzz but the least emphasised aspect seems to be Biblical teaching and discipleship. No wonder some so called pastors have very little or even no reverence for God.
Interesting clip featuring Pastor Mark Dever answering questions on church growth and numbers: …Read More!
“Churching” the unchurched is a terminology used by many mega churches or purpose driven churches and if you have never heard of it, (let me begin by bursting the bubble) it actually has nothing to do with evangelism. No…
“Churching the unchurched is an absolute fallacy – it is like purposing to let the tares in. It is absolutely bizarre to want to make unsaved people feel comfortable in a church. The church is not a building – the church is a group of worshiping, redeemed, and sanctified people among whom an unbeliever should feel either miserable, convicted and drawn to Christ, or else alienated and isolated. Only if the church hides its message and ceases to be what God designed the church to be, can it make an unbeliever comfortable.” ~John MacArthur
When pastors keep a finger on the pulse of pop culture so as to set the pace for the church then do not be surprised when there becomes no difference between the sacred and the profane. If you look to “America’s pastor” to decide your purpose then he sure is doing a good purpose driven job…
Rick Warren is a megachurch pastor, international speaker, and best-selling author of the bestselling hardback non-fiction book in history, The Purpose Driven Life. Outside of coordinating global peace efforts and Bible study curriculum for his 20,000+ member non-denominational Christian congregation in Southern California, he’s tracking popular trends and publicly declaring his affinity for South Korean artist Psy’s K-pop song “Gangnam Style.” According to Twitter, “Gangnam Style” has been his ringtone since July 20.
[Apparently] “Gangnam Style,” a song by South Korean artist Psy, recently became the most-viewed YouTube video EVER, with over 826 million views as of this month (overtaking my man, J Biebs’, “Baby” video). The “Gangnam Style” dance is now a global phenomenon, with thousands buying, playing, and dancing to it on a weekly basis.
The world seems to be having a lot more influence on the American church these days. Reminds me of when one man in anguish lamented, “If God withdrew the Holy Spirit tomorrow, my church would function just the same; we wouldn’t even know He was gone.”
Oh my anguish!
If you’re going to be good at fishing, you’ve got to learn to think like a fish. If you’re going to be an effective fisher of men, you’ve got to think like a lost person. Here’s the problem. Unfortunately, the longer you are a Christian, the less you think like an unbeliever…To catch fish, you’ve got to know their habits, their preferences, and their feeding patterns. Certain fish like smooth water. Others are bottom crawlers. Some like rushing water. Others hide under rocks. You’ve got to know what the fish you’re trying to reach like to do. If you’re going to understand and reach non-Christians, you’ve got to begin with their mindset.-Rick Warren
Still scratching my head till I can get my hair cut straight enough to become hip and “relevant”. I think I will reach there next year! Trying!!
I know there are different voices in the wind whispering and pandering formulas to getting a revival in our times. One popular televangelist, Benny Hinn has proposed that the death of Billy Graham will truly open the flood gates of heaven. Well I don’t think people should be seeking out their pitch forks and hunting down poor ol’ Billy. You see, biblical illiteracy has reached very high levels in the church that anything goes these days. Critical Issues Commentary has an interesting post:
”For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8, 9)
A key idea in the contemporary evangelical movement is that revival can be engineered. The Purpose Driven Web site says, “Peter Drucker called him [Rick Warren] ‘the inventor of perpetual revival’ and Forbes magazine has written, ‘If Warren’s church was a business it would be compared with Dell, Google or Starbucks.’” The Purpose Driven movement can cite this business management guru approvingly only because they have a faulty theology of human ability. For example, Rick Warren says, “It is my deep conviction that anybody can be won to Christ if you discover the key to his or her heart. . . . It may take some time to identify it. But the most likely place to start is with the person’s felt needs.” If this were true one could use modern marketing principles to sell people on their need for Christian religion and convince them to convert in order to find satisfaction of their felt needs. But it is not true. …Read More!
[Some misguided teachers] say “make the service so attractive, appealing, and relevant to the unchurched that your members are eager to share it with the lost people they care about.” This is church for the unchurched (translation: unsaved/nonbeliever). That again is not a Biblical model. The Biblical model set up the church as the “pillar and support of the truth,” the place of fellowship for believers where they can be trained and strengthened to go out and proclaim the gospel to the lost. Then when the lost are found they are welcomed into the church. ~Steak and a Bible
The Purpose-Driven / Seeker Sensitive model of evangelism attempts to attract so-called ‘seekers’ (Rom. 3:11) to attend a church service by radically changing the nature of church. Gone are hymns, and Biblical expository sermons. These have been replaced with culturally appealing rocks shows and practical self-help, felt-needs, life improvement seminars that contain a few ripped out of context verses thrown in to create the illusion that they’re based on the Bible. The model of fishing that Rick Warren is teaching his fleet of ‘fishers of men’ to employ is Bait Fishing. It is important to understand that the primary strategy of bait fishing is deception. Bait fishing deceives unsuspecting fish into believing that they are about to enjoy in their favorite meal but instead they find themselves being killed by a well hidden hook.
Chris Rosebrough has an interesting post. It does ask pertinent questions on evangelism, modern methods and the Bible. It begins:
Rick Warren, one of the innovators responsible for foisting the “Seeker-Sensitive Model of Church” upon the Body of Christ justifies his radical innovations by alluding to Christ’s statement to Peter that He’d make Peter a “fisher of men”. Evangelism, according to Jesus is akin to fishing. Rick Warren picks up on Jesus’ fishing theme and says:
“If you’re going to be good at fishing, you’ve got to learn to think like a fish. If you’re going to be an effective fisher of men, you’ve got to think like a lost person. Here’s the problem. Unfortunately, the longer you are a Christian, the less you think like an unbeliever. I don’t think like a non-Christian; I think like a Christian. In fact, I think like a pastor. That’s even worse! It’s two generations removed from the people I want to reach.
You can tell just how differently pastors think than lost people when you look at church advertisements in the newspaper. You’ll see advertisements like, “Preaching the inspired, inerrant Word of God.” Who will that appeal to? I know what the inspired, inerrant Word of God is. In fact I believe in it. I’d die for the inspired, inerrant Word. But non-Christians don’t care about your view of inspiration.
Or you’ll see a church advertise “Holy Spirit services.” That’s going to scare people away! Non-Christians don’t know what you mean by the Holy Spirit. Is that Casper the Friendly Ghost? You must learn to think – and communicate – like a non-believer if you are going to communicate the Gospel to them.
To catch fish, you’ve got to know their habits, their preferences, and their feeding patterns. Certain fish like smooth water. Others are bottom crawlers. Some like rushing water. Others hide under rocks. You’ve got to know what the fish you’re trying to reach like to do. If you’re going to understand and reach non-Christians, you’ve got to begin with their mindset. (Online Source)
What if Rick Warren’s fundamental premise about evangelism / fishing is dead wrong?
Do they want bigger hot dogs? Flavored water or cushions for their ankles the customer is king. This is the approach to successful entrepreneurship. It is sometimes no different when it comes to modern day church marketing only that it is called being ‘purpose driven’. Long gone are the days of preaching the gospel and teaching sound doctrine. It’s not uncommon to hear pastors talk and ask questions like ‘what’s the vision for your church?’ or ‘how is your church going to grow?’ By ‘vision’ they usually mean ‘a purpose driven plan’ or pragmatic approach to church growth.
You see, the purpose driven church movement makes several assumptions but here we will look at 5 common errors and how they deviate from scripture.
1.A pragmatic church assumes that the primary purpose of Sunday morning church services is to reach out to unbelievers who are some times erroneously referred to as ‘unchurched christians’ . In the New Testament, however, the reason the church gathers is for worship and equipping (Eph. 4:11-16; Acts 2:37-47). Evangelism is to primarily take place in the believer’s life context (“as you go”—Matt. 28:18-20) rather than being the main focus of the Sunday worship service. …Read More!
Enough of all this banter against modern Christendom’s latest prodigal and most loved opulent brat. Ed Young Jr. is officially the most google-d and U-tubed Christian celebrity pastor. Gone are the boring days of being an obscure youth pastor left to follow up new converts and pray for toddlers who don’t finish their breakfast cereal in the church back garden. Gone are the days of watching re-runs of Veggie Tales and Tom and Jerry in Sunday school.
The other day he took a bold step in being the honest and transparent man of God that he has become and indulged viewers in a personal tour of his parsonage or is it vicarage. And look how many bloggers treated him as though he had invited Bin Laden to the White House. He had simply allowed a TV Crew to have a glimpse of his humble 10,000 square foot, $1.5 million estate. Read More
Every so often its good to look back and see what God has done and praise Him for his providence but more so for the spread of the gospel of redemption from sin. I am always over whelmed with compassion for the missionaries who leave their comfortable lives and trudge on to remote mountains in South America or track down primitive tribes in unknown jungles in uncharted territories to preach the gospel. In the same breath, there has always been wisely devised fables and tales that some preachers would like to spread in the name of the gospel. Truth is some of the tales and snake oil being tauted is so alluring and excitable that these teachers easily amass crowds and followings. It is deplorable and nauseating. Such preachers have their reward and surely God will not take this lightly on that great and fateful day when He calls them to account for their deeds. [This is an archive story from reuters.] See what you make of it:
SOWETO, South Africa – “Jesus wants you to drive a brand new Nissan Navara 4×4. He’d also like you to live in a classy house, use the latest cell phone and wear the snappiest designer clothes.” Read More
Its very easy to make the modern day pulpit the center of attention rather than what is proclaimed from it. And therefore a good sermon must come forth with clarity and depth. And so must preparation for it. Alistair Begg pulls no punches on sermon preparations in this excerpt from his book ‘On Being a Pastor‘ (co-authored with Derek Prime).
“I remain fascinated by the variety of approaches that preachers take in preparing their sermons. In our preparation, as well as in our delivery we must ‘to our own selves be true.’ When I am asked to summarise my method of preparation, I mention the following points, which I learned from the late Leith Samuel….
1. Think yourself empty. As strange as it may sound, we must be careful to ensure that we do not avoid sound thinking. The temptation to respond emotionally to a passage (this is how this makes me feel) is not unique to our listeners. If we are to have ‘thinking’ congregations it is incumbant upon us to be ‘thinking’ pastors’! We do not want to be uncertain by the time our study ends, but it is surely right and proper to begin with the perspective, ‘I must know what this says, and I must learn what this means.’ Read More
Some argue that what the church only needs, apparently, is new methods to reach the lost, new techniques to promote the church, new packages for the gospel message. People, we are told, are not rejecting the gospel or Christ; they are rejecting our out-of-date, unappetizing forms, philosophies, and methods. With this presupposition, one church recently decided to take matters to another level.
New Day Church, a year-old congregation in Hendricks County, Ind., is finding sex helps sell its message of faith. An edgy marketing campaign asking, “What happens when God gets between the sheets?” promoted a sermon series in February and early March focusing on the link between sex and religion.
Members of the congregation heard the Rev. Denis Roy discuss God’s take on topics such as intimacy, pleasure, sexual preference, pornography, adultery and even sexual healing. Read More
In the never ending quest to remain relevant and draw capacity crowds into church, whats more hip than bringing a motorcycle into the sanctuary, cranking it up to maximum speed while a harem of excitable wild eyed youths cheer on?
It is probably good that the remaining bibles and hymnal got trashed and crashed up by the motor bike after all who needs them? And who will notice their absence? Read More
Christian writers have woven stories of deep devotion and reverence to God through the ages. Writing oracles, odes, and inscribing scriptural exhortations is woven into the fabric of Christian history. We have all heard of how Martin Luther nailed his theological theses (declarations) to the castle door in Wittenberg, Germany. And John Bunyan later authored the Pilgrim’s Progress while John Foxe left us with Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. It’s interesting to see what legacy the half committed Seeker Sensitive writers of today want to leave for the next generation. This interesting excerpt was adapted from an article by Candace Malcolmson titled ‘Christian Romance Novels.’
Dear Sisters, Friends, Mothers and Daughters,
It is with an extreme sense of urgency that I write to you today to warn you most sincerely of one of Satan’s most subtle ploys to draw us away from Christ: His standard, His Salvation and His life. I wish to remind you that the “. . . the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made”(Gen 3:1) and that serpent, the Devil, has never changed; he is still subtle. Read More
There was once at time when the deepest urge of a Christian was to be like Christ. To imitate Christ. The coolest thing about Christianity was Christ and for you to know him you must have first stumbled past a bloodied cross. Gone are the days when it was preached that for our sake God made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him Jews and Gentiles might become the righteousness of God. Read More
During a great war, there was a man who invented a parachute that was one hundred percent trustworthy. It made no difference whether the user was large or small; it opened every time and got him safely to the ground. The key was in the way it was folded. (story continued below)
Not many people will not recognise the name Harry Emerson Fosdick. Yet the fabric of most Christian Bestsellers, Contemporary Christian Music, Self Help Literature and Pop motivational psychology is dipped in an age old Self Esteem gospel chalice that was popularised by Mr. Fosdick. Speaking of fabrics, remember the Hans Christian Andersen story of The Emperor’s New Clothes? Read More
By Phil Johnson Full Article Here.
n the book Tony Campolo co-authored with Brian McLaren (Adventures In Missing the Point: How the Culture-Controlled Church Neutered the Gospel) Campolo seems to suggest that seminarians ought to pay more attention to marketing techniques and less attention to theology, exegesis, original languages, and other traditional seminary curricula. After all, those are academic subjects with limited practical significance, and pastors these days hardly ever use such stuff after seminary. In Campolo’s own words:
What if the credits eaten up by subjects seminarians seldom if ever use after graduation were instead devoted to more subjects they will actually need in churches—like business and marketing courses? It is not true that with a gifted preacher, a church will inevitably grow. Good sermons may get visitors to stay once they come, but getting folks to come in the first place may take some marketing expertise. Read More