To Clear Up Some Things

I have received numerous private emails in responses to yesterday’s post "Chicken Little & The Starbucks Sky".  While all were positive, there seems to be a little misunderstanding from some of the folks that regularly read my blog.  I’d like to take a moment to clear up some things and to redefine why I post to this blog.

To answer the basic questions I’ve been getting lately…no, I have nothing against mega-churches, multi-site churches, video venues, purpose driven churches or attractional churches.  They have all been very effective in reaching disconnected people for Christ…and should be praised for their Great Commission efforts.  However, those kind of churches are the strategies, structures and styles of today and yesterday…not necessarily tomorrow.

The church I pastor was created in order to reach young 20-somethings…which we have done pretty effectively.  For this reason I am constantly studying culture, trends, statistics, other churches, people and…most importantly…Scripture.  All of the research combined spells out the end for some of the church styles mentioned above.  Younger disconnected folks are moved by authentic community and authentic truth.  By that very nature anything "seeker sensitive" and professionally staged is now in it’s twilight years…it still works in some places, but is fading fast for reaching tomorrow’s disconnected.

Unfortunately, book publishers, magazine editors and conference coordinators keep pushing the same ideas for church leadership and planting.  By and large they have failed to see the changing of the tide and have been slow to highlight newer ideas.  Thus, we have created a cloned way of launching new churches…a "one size fits all"mentality.  In many cases pastors no longer have a heart for their own community…but a heart for someone else’s community featured in a book on church planting.  Too many guys fresh out of seminary or a two year stint as a youth pastor are panting the churches in their head…not the ones that God has laid on their hearts.  Three years later when the church has folded they wonder what happened because they did everything "the book" or "the conference" said to do.

I post to this blog to introduce new ideas and to make the church planting/leadership world aware that we are going to have to color outside the lines in the days to come.  One size will not fit all and God’s calling to a specific community…not books or conferences…will need to dictate the style and strategy of the church.   I do not blog to create a "war" with those that are mega and attractional…many of those pastors are my friends.  As a child of God I praise the Lord when I read of any church baptizing 388 in a single month…no matter what the style or structure is.  However, I also know that change is evident if the Church is going to keep baptizing folks in the future.

I do not propose to be the ultimate expert on everything 20-something.  However, God has given me great insight into their world…and a burdened heart for reaching them for Christ.  It is from that insight and burden with which I write, blog and attempt to challenge others.  Ultimately, I do not want churches to have a limited lifespan because they became too attached to one style, structure, program or strategy.

Now to answer the other question I kept receiving yesterday…no, I have not heard from the folks at Starbucks.  🙂

To Clear Up Some Things

4 thoughts on “To Clear Up Some Things

  1. Good post Chris. I remember planting my first church in the Kansas City area. I was bombarded by the voice of my superior and those around him. I tried planting their idea of a church because I didn’t know any better.

    A couple of years into the plant, I realized that I was planting a church, but I didn’t love the people. So I began serving them. I reached out in loving, practical ways, and found that I was changed.

    I believe that we are not necessarily called to plant church (that is the form or method), we are called to love people. I also think that is why most churches don’t reach lost people…they don’t actually love them they simply want to convert them.

    Thanks again. Sorry for the long comment.

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  2. As a guy who fits more in the category of “a two year stint as a youth pastor” I think you’re absolutely right. I’m wary of anything that presents itself as a formula or like pants with an elastic waistband.

    Know the community you are called to and do all you can to reach them. That’s Missiology 101.

    Great post and follow-up Chris!

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  3. Jimmy – Not really. The house church movemen isn;t really moving forward much anymore. Studies are showing that…by and large…house churches are not reaching very many unchurched or disconnected people. They seem to be almost exlsively for Christians that are walking away from mega-attractional churches. The majority of house churches also seem to be rooted pretty heavily in the Emergent Movement…which is not really appealing to many young 20-somethings (though the Emergent guys will dispute this…however they have very little data to back up their argument). Some aspects of house church and Emergent movements are appealing to young 20-somethings…but the lack of accountability and a clear doctrinal truth is not. I am finding…and studies are showing…that the house church mentality applied to a church’s small groups ministry is working pretty well (i.e., a mini-church in every community accoutable to the larger church and congregational leadership). I do believe in the days to come that a church’s effectiveness will be judged not on what happens on Sunday… but what happens on Monday through Friday in small groups. I’ll be posting more about that down the road.

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