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. 🙂