The Christian Church is an interesting thing in that, like most religions they want more numbers and have different standards about how they go about getting them.
All too often I’ve experienced being brought to the point where the question has either been asked (or I have asked it) about what mix of quality or quantity were we striving for.
I usually fall on the side of the quality argument– I think that we should make believers the best that they can be and so that they will produce disciples of high quality to reach their world.
Others, like the seeker sensitive churches, will water down or tailor their message to bring the biggest crowd with the hopes that the most people will hear the Gospel and get saved. However, if the Gospel offends people (which the Bible claims that it will), then how will it have a full impact?
This is exactly what the people from Willow Creek are just now finding out:
Willow Creek has released the results of a multi-year study on the effectiveness of their programs and philosophy of ministry. The study’s findings are in a new book titled Reveal: Where Are You?, co-authored by Cally Parkinson and Greg Hawkins, executive pastor of Willow Creek Community Church. Hybels himself called the findings “earth shaking,” “ground breaking” and “mind blowing.” And no wonder: it seems that the “experts” were wrong.
The report reveals that most of what they have been doing for these many years and what they have taught millions of others to do is not producing solid disciples of Jesus Christ.
Hybels states: We made a mistake. What we should have done when people crossed the line of faith and become Christians, we should have started telling people and teaching people that they have to take responsibility to become ‘self feeders.’ We should have gotten people, taught people, how to read their bible between services, how to do the spiritual practices much more aggressively on their own.
What this means is that the basics of being a Christian– reading the Bible, prayer, and trying to change to be more like Christ– are the fundamentals and when you take them away from the message you get a crowd, but you also get nominal Christians or unbelievers that think that they are Christians when they are not. You get more chaff in with the wheat, to use a parable-type expression.
In any case, I’m hoping that this message spreads– that churches need to be about being in the process of helping people change their lives into being more like the image of Christ rather than just trying to attract a crowd.