Rick Warren has pointed out that the world appreciates the attempt by Purpose Driven people to live out the values of Christ and that criticism will always come not from sinners but from saints. The New Testament describes a time of rapid growth and upheaval in traditional Jewish religious values. The changes brought by the early church were systemically resisted in patterns that are being replayed today as sincere, committed Christians work to resist the changes of the Purpose Driven movement and other movements that are attempting to win the lost to Christ.
The same patterns of resistance are seen throughout church history, right from the beginning. Jesus said clearly, AA disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master; it is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household@ (Matthew 10:24-25). The first person to admit that Rick Warren is less than perfect is Rick Warren.
Generally, most methods of leadership for change derived from corporate America inflame resistance to change and deliberately sow the seeds that lead ultimately to failure in transition. Many attempting to implement the Purpose Driven design do not carefully prepare for transition. One solution is the Diffusion of Innovations understanding of change and transition. A great deal can be learned from studying the problems and successes of helping traditional churches become faithful to the Great Commission in a way that works in actual numbers of conversions.
Bill Beckham=s AEddie@ is alive and thriving in many churches and very unhappy when the focus shifts away from the church meeting his needs. Perhaps the most telling example comes from Warren=s The Purpose Driven Church, p. 82:
If you ask typical church members why their church exists, you=ll get a wide variety of answers. Most church do not have a clear consensus on this issue. Win Arn, a consultant to churches, once told me about a survey he took. He surveyed members of nearly a thousand churches asking the question, AWhy does the church exist?@ Of the church members surveyed, 89 percent said, AThe church=s purpose is to take of my family=s and my needs.@ For many the role of the pastor is simply to keep the sheep who are already in the Apen@ happy and not lose too many of them. Only 11 percent said, AThe purpose of the church is to win the world for Jesus Christ.@
Then the pastors of the same churches were asked why the church exists. Amazingly the results were exactly opposite. Of the pastors surveyed, 90 percent said the purpose of the church was to win the world and 10 percent said it was to care for the needs of the members. Is it any wonder why we have conflict, confusion and stagnation in many churches today? If the pastor and congregation can=t even agree on why the church exists, conflict and disagreement on everything else is inevitable.
This survey by Win Arn, a church growth expert, is even more interesting in that the churches surveyed are likely to be conservative and evangelical. What would be your answer? Is the purpose of the church to take care of you and your family? Or to take care of the needs of a lost and suffering world?
NOTE (my response)
The quote is from Major League Disciple Making: An Overview of the Best Research on the Cell Church, an online course developed for the Institute for Discipleship at www.BeADisciple.com in 2009. Course materials, including these lectures, can be downloaded here: http://www.disciplewalk.com/IFD_MLD_Class_Links.html
All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Please review the page How and Why We Use Quotes.