Traditional, Transitional, Transformational – The Slow Suicide of Many Churches

by | Apr 9, 2014 | Best of!

seekermergentIt’s the way it works. Every church that has decided to follow Peter Drucker‘s business model, Bill Hybels’ Willow Creek model, Rick Warren’s Purpose-Driven model – all under the term “Seeker-Friendly”.
It begins slow, and continues steadily. The people in these churches are like the frog in a pot of slowly boiling water – never being told what’s happening. In the end, some usually find out the truth – the sordid truth of the leadership’s goal to slowly transform the church from “traditional” (the “old-fashioned” way) to contemporary (the “cool, new, fun and relevant” way) by slow transition.
~ Vincent and Lori Williams, Falsified Ministries
This is an article originally shared by our friends over at Falsified Ministries, from Vince and Lori who had spent many years attending and serving at a church just like many others: cutting-edge, state-of-the-art, missional, transformative, you get the idea. But what they didn’t hear from their pulpit or in their life groups was the full Gospel message. Ever. It wasn’t until some Christian believers shared some podcasts of solid biblical teaching that they realized they were false converts (check out their ministry page).
It’s a symptom of a post-modern sickness in the visible church. The Peter Drucker business model has manifested itself through the Willow Creek Association, the Saddleback affiliations and the Leadership Network, and has seeped into many churches much the way a sweet-tasting yeast does.  At the bottom of this article is some must-read background information on this purpose-seeker model, and how to find out it it has infected your church.
With that, I share this:
The People’s Church, Willow Creek, and the Church Growth Movement
by Paul Proctor

I walked through the doors of The First Baptist Church in the spring of 1995 after having been somewhat of a prodigal son for roughly 10 years. I had recently rededicated my life to Christ and wanted to once again be a part of a loving church family. As I entered and sat down to the joyful noise of a magnificent choir and orchestra praising God in song, my heart and soul were filled with wonder, excitement and great expectation. I was truly being prepared for worship.
When the preacher finished his sermon, I was spiritually refreshed and energized for the week ahead. His message had been clear, powerful, convicting, biblical and full of the Holy Spirit.
Over time I grew to love this brother in Christ because of his faithfulness and passion for the gospel. After visiting the church for some months, I knew I had found a church home.
A couple of years later, the pastor invited me to lunch at a nearby country club he frequented where he mentioned in passing his desire to eventually do away with the First Baptist Church name and simply call it “The People’s Church”, claiming “that’s what everyone called it anyway”. Still taken by the man’s persona, I smiled and nodded in approval as he told me of wanting to take the church in “a new direction”, away from the Southern Baptist stigma that he felt had somehow hindered us in the past and move on greater things. Unfortunately, he didn’t elaborate on what that “new direction” was and I mistakenly assumed that he meant toward a non-denominational identity.

In the coming weeks and months a new message began emanating from his pulpit not unlike what had been coming from, of all places, the presidential podium of Bill Clinton during the height of his scandals. A re-occurring theme of “tolerance, diversity and unity” seemed to permeate almost every sermon. It became increasingly clear to me that the pastor’s “new direction” was worldly and that he was now being guided by someone or something other than God. Friction grew between the two of us over the course of time as his sermons turned away from the gospel that leads to repentance and faith in Christ to the social psychology of get-alongism. Sure, the Bible calls us to live in peace with one another, to keep and maintain healthy relationships with our brothers and sisters in Christ, but NOT at the expense of God…
…Today when I walk into that entertainment complex on Sunday morning where a sanctuary used to be, I see a lot of cushioned movie theater seats where pews used to be; a big multi-media projection screen where a wooden cross used to be; a half dozen choreographed entertainers performing to applause where a choir used to be; a jazz/rock band playing solos where an orchestra used to be; a young female singer leading simplistic chants before a confused audience, where a music minister used to lead great hymns of worship and praise to God and where a charming “facilitator” in a golf shirt preaches that we should all GO ALONG TO GET ALONG, where a once humble man of God in a suit and tie used to courageously proclaim the Word of God.