September 14, 2006
Purpose-Driven Conflict: churches split over the popular ministry model
The Wall Street Journal recently ran an article discussing conflicts caused by pastors seeking to implement the popular Purpose-Driven Church model in their congregations. Scot McKnight, professor of New Testament at North Park University in Chicago, and one of our favorite bloggers writes here about the WSJ article and asks some important questions about the Purpose-Driven philosophy of ministry.
The gist of the Wall Street Journal article is that some churches split or experience serious tension when pastors try to implement the Purpose-Driven Church model. The pastors who are trying to implement such changes seem to have good reasons: they want their churches to gain a clear mission and to grow, but it always comes at the cost of change for the parishioners.
The Purpose-Driven model focuses on these five elements: worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry, and evangelism. It also seeks to move people from community, to crowds, to congregation, to committed, and then to the core. Thus, it leads from knowing Christ to growing in Christ to serving Christ to sharing Christ.
Here are the questions that come to mind for me from this article about churches struggling over adapting the model, and I'm keen on hearing what you have to say.
And this "keen" comes with the bonus requests to behave yourself and to avoid calling people names.
Does the five-fold scheme of the Purpose-Driven model adequately reflect the central concerns of the New Testament's understanding of what the Church is all about? What would you do differently in coming up with five central themes?
Does the use of surveys to discern need and audience and strategy trouble you?
Is there an inherent marketing strategy in all of this, and what is wrong with "marketing" the Church? If the essence of evangelism is declaring good news and "persuasion" of its truth - both in dependence on the Spirit and in the use of everything we can muster - and if marketing is about persuasion, and if there are commonalities between all acts of persuasion, what is the distinction between Church persuasion and marketing persuasion?
Do the criticisms of the changes being made in some of these comments in the newspaper article suggest to you that some of these folks just don't want to see their church change? How do we deal with the older folks who simply don't like it that the younger Christians want changes in the churches?