Archive for the ‘Church Growth Movement’ category

Mark Dever on Numbers and Faithfulness

May 30, 2012

I think if we would be honest with ourselves, our default position is to elevate fruitfulness over faithfulness. The two should not be at odds with one another, but when they are, fruitfulness tends to win out. This discussion is one that many are having in evangelical circles today, and I think we need to think it through without making excuses for neglecting either (those not seeing any fruit from their ministry saying all that matters is being faithful, and those with significant fruit saying all that matters is being fruitful).

In light of that, I commend the balanced, wise counsel of Mark Dever regarding the ministerial responsibility to be faithful in discharging the duties of a gospel minister while recognizing that the results belong to God.

Tozer on Masterful Psychologists

March 5, 2012

A.W. Tozer:

Much of church activity and fellowship also falls back upon the practice of psychology. Many church leaders are masterful psychologists. They know how to handle people and get the crowds to come. Their operation qualifies as an amazingly “successful” church. Part of the success of that church depends on people with business talents and part of it depends on people with natural gifts as salespersons and politicians.

A Christian congregation can survive and often appear to prosper in the community by the exercise of human talent and without any touch from the Holy Spirit. But it is simply religious activity, and the dear people will not know anything better until the great and terrible day when our self-employed talents are burned with fire and only what was wrought by the Holy Spirit will stand.

 – Tozer, Tragedy in the Church: The Missing Gifts, 22-23

When we assess spiritual leadership, let us not be guilty of evaluating psychologists, salespersons, politicians, and talented businessmen rather than shepherds of the flock, servants of Christ, and stewards of the gospel.

Don’t You Wish Your Preacher Was Hot Like Me

November 7, 2007


Wanna Be Relevant? Pray to Accept Hannah Montana into Your Heart

November 7, 2007


Tried “40 Days of Purpose” and didn’t get the exponential growth you were expected to have?  There’s good news for your church!  Get your hands on some Hannah Montana tickets  and watch your “event attendance” skyrocket to new heights!  Church Relevance reports,

LIFEchurch (North Richland Hills, TX) averages 350 to 400 people for weekend attendance but attracted around 2,500 people for their Family Fun Fest this past Halloween. That’s over six times their average weekend attendance.

Amazing!  How did this happen you might ask?  LIFEchurch offered the free gift of Hannah Montana that only a few fortunate souls would be privileged to experience.  Montana is the winning ticket that will help you overcome that attendance barrier, and throw in some more choice entertainment tickets, and event attendance will undoubtedly experience exponential increase that even prosperity experts could not manufacture.  According to the report, the only financial investment to go from 400 to 2,500 people is a one-time cost of $20,000.  Reports showed that church members weathered the criticism, arguing, “That’s a small price when you have accepted Hannah Montana into your heart.”

This has got me thinking about my regulative principle question again.  But alas, such methodology is certainly biblical and justifiable since it works – and, of course, “Hannah” is in the Bible anyways.

Spontaneous? Baptism? Appeal?

January 10, 2007

Last Sunday morning I heard an excellent sermon by my pastor, Dr. Bill Cook. He was sharing a new perspective for a new year, working from Daniel 10. As usual, his exposition was great, but Dr. Cook also said some things that I and other young ministers needed to hear–namely that the ministers we should be learning and following should not necessarily be the coolest or most innovative ministers today, but rather those who have encountered God and experience him in prayer.

With his message still ringing in my ears, I was walking out the door and happened to see a display with the new Outreach magazine. As I picked it up, I looked at the cover which had in bold-faced font, “America’s Most Innovative Churches” and a quote from Craig Groeschel who said, “Our technology initiatives fan the flame . . .” I thought, “How ironic is this to pick up this magazine after hearing such a powerful sermon like that!”

Last year, I didn’t pay much attention to the church growth movement, but after glancing through some of the articles in this issue, it appears that I need to pay attention to what these “movers” and “shakers” are telling us regarding how to do church. I realize that Outreach magazine is a mixed bag of the good and bad, so maybe those of you who are more up on this movement and employ some of the practices in order to be more relevant and effective can help me understand why and how you apply the things Outreach magazine and others like it are advocating.

One of the articles I want to address is called “5 Tips for Baptism Appeal” which highlights Fellowship Church in Grapevine, TX where Ed Young Jr. is pastor. The article begins by mentioning that “nearly 450 people came forward for spontaneous baptism.” In 2006 alone, “Fellowship Church saw 2,312 people spontaneously baptized–many visiting for the first time.”


“Unorthodox, yes. But effective.”

January 8, 2007

That’s the summary provided by Damian Williams, pastor of Steel City Church (you’ve got to take a look the pic on their homepage). What, you might be asking, is unorthodox? Well, Steel City Church meets in The Altar Bar–a venue that is transformed from “a popular, smoky night club to a sanctuary–in the heart of Pittsburgh’s strip district.” Williams explains,

“We chose this location because it’s a place of identification for the people we’re reaching.”

The article (“Church by Day” in the Jan/Feb 2007 issue of Outreach magazine, 26) goes on to share what the atmosphere in the services is like.

“During Sunday night services, people are encouraged to respond to questions by text messaging their thoughts, which are then projected onto one of the six flat-screen TV’s mounted above the bar. On another TV, you might find a Steelers football game.”