9.29.2005

purpose driven chameleon

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

I’ve heard of being all things to all people… but this is ridiculous!!!

I don’t have a problem with a church having a service that has a specific style of music if that style of music helps them express their love of Christ in an authentic way. I don’t even have a problem with churches that have a certain theme. You know, different strokes for different folks… Whatever blows your skirt up.

The thing that bums me out about this is that it seems like Saddleback Church is trying to take over the entire church “market” in their hometown. Pastor Rick… why do you need a service with gospel music, and a big choir? There’s already a church in town that’s doing that. Why do you need a worship service with “Island” music and a “Luau”? There’s a Samoan church a few miles away that already does this. Why do you need a “Traditions” service? There are tons of churches in town that offer hymn singing and solid biblical teaching. Why do you need a “Country” service? Actually, why does anybody need a country service!?!?!?



Pastor Rick, your church is big enough.



12 comments:

ben said...

I once got in a heated discussion with a Pastor from rural Kansas about how big is too big for a church that hopes to make actual change in a congregations lives.
My point was simple: Smaller congregations, all over, in an effort to seek a more authentic relationship with Christ and others.
His point was that the Bible said "to save ALL that were lost" and that to do that a church would "need to have the largest building" in town, with "basketball courts and video game rooms" and after school "skateboard groups" and so on and so on, ad nauseam.

Of course he didn't understand when I said that his version of Christianity sounded more like a confusing virus than a concise cure.

Of course my idea of church right now is to open a bottle of red wine with some friends and read the Gospels and the writings of Gandhi and the Dali Llama.

Hidden Valley Girl said...

Ben I agree with everything you said . . . except for reading the gospels of Ghandi and the Dali Llama. Are you freaking out of your mind, dude?! Anyway, yep, that church is pretty wacked in their ideas of the meaning of what "church" is.

scoey-d said...

How big is "big enough"? There are many churches in the US that may not be as "on the radar" as Saddleback - are they too big? Do they just not "get" church like we do?

Worldwide, Yongii-Cho's church is 1 million people & growing. We going to rip on him? Argentina has many churches in the 30K+ in attendance. Should they stop their mission because they're big & getting bigger?

This isn't Burger King vs. McD - its not a competition between franchisees to see who can win. This is a kingdom of God victory - when a church sees converts, & is making disciples, it means more people in heaven & less that go to hell

I did some searching on Mission Viejo & saw that even with Saddleback's monster church & attendance, there is still a dearth of churches in the area... if Saddleback grows 10-fold, there will still be hundreds of thousands of people in Mission Viejo not in ANY church that calls on Christ as savior.

Though it's definintely not my personal bag or preference of ministry style, Rick Warren & co are doing their best to continue their God-given mission - & the definition of what "church is" is much bigger than our small-mindedness could ever grasp.

We start sounding like a bunch of jealous pharisees who are watching all of "our" sheep following someone else; & when we ridicule something that God is blessing, we minimize our own effectiveness & become salty & bitter.

Even if Saddleback is off, they will be held accountable for it by God, as to the one who much has been given, much will be required...

Louie in Reno

jimmy said...

Hey Louie, good to hear from you. As I said in the original post, I don't have problem with a church doing a certain style, or a certain theme. I should have also said that I don't have a problem with a church that is big, per se. I've read Pastor Rick's book, I've been to his church, I've heard him speak. I think he has a gift for communicating spiritual truths in a way that is very simple, and easy to understand. I don't have a problem with Pastor Rick. I definitely see many things differently than him, but like I said, "different strokes for different folks." I do think that there are other churches in Southern California that are doing these types of services, that are reaching out to fill a need in their community. I don't believe that any of Saddleback's "worship venues" are filling an unmet need in that community. There is enough room for everybody. Saddleback doesn't need to monopolize the "church market". My other problem with this type of program is that it feeds the "spiritual consumerism" mentality of churchgoers. But that is too much to get into here. We'll save that fight for another day...

jimmy said...

Another thought occurs to me. What would be an alternative to the "worship venue" approach for a mega church like Saddleback?

Bayside Church is the closest thing Northern California has to Saddleback. It is a huge church with a huge staff, huge budget, and palatial buildings. They have an ongoing program called "Extreme Makeover: Church Edition". In this program they find smaller churches that are doing a good work and Bayside comes in and does a makeover. I saw a video clip of one church of a few hundred people that couldn't afford to buy a video projector for their auditorium. Bayside sent a team of contractors to completely remodel their auditorium and install new sound, new video, the whole package. To me, that seems like a really cool way that mega churches could help expand the kingdom in their community.

jimmy said...

Side note: the smaller church that Bayside helped out wasn't even in their denomination...


That is refreshing in so many ways...

Jarred D said...

jimmy thanks for the bayside shout out, as you may know i attend bayside of south sacramento. it actually was a point i was gonna make. one of the things i have noticed about these huge churches is this, many people seem to go there to fulfill an obligaton of going to church while still being able to remain comfortable or still being able to hide. not all, but many. churches like bayside or the rock seemed to have found remedies to all of this. they grow their initial church planted, then branch off, planting another church, and another after that. first of all it lends itself to allowing people a more intimate worship experience (not that i would categorize bayside of granite bays worship as intimate) and it also allows other people to be used of God as opposed to one worship leader, lead pastor etc. for the whole body. a church that i used to go to that some of you are familiar with would never have allowed something like this as the egoes were far too big. the other thing that happens with these churches is as they grow and remain one huge church they start to draw from other smaller resources. pastors who have had churches in these areas for 40 & 50 years are now forced to close down as their members now attend these other churches with maybe more resources and dare i say better sales people ehem i mean staff. its and economical thing that happens, much like when you set up a walmart at a location where local businesses have been thriving. well walmarts distributors provide cheaper goods at the wholesale level, so walmart can mark prices down, next thing you know these little neighborhood stores are closing up shop. now in regards to pastor cho and his 1 million strong church. i dont think anyone can argue that God has not done that. nor do i think anyone has. you can not really compare these churches to churches in america, because Gods church is not readily available in these other countries. so its like one dude set up shop and people who had not heard this stuff in years were drawn to it. its not like most of them came from local, smaller churches who are now forced to shut down because pastor cho now offers hip hop night. oh and ben wiht what you said about ghandi and the dalai lama (speling help?) im riding wit you on that one thats some real pimp sh*t. havent read them, but it sounds deep...jarred

jimmy said...

"I like your Christ, but I do not like your Christians.
Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."

Mahatma Gandhi

Hidden Valley Girl said...

Okay, I guess that I need to clarify my comment about Saddleback church having wacked ideas about what the definition of "church" really means. What I'm trying to relay is that for me, church shouldn't be some fun fair to cater to what feels good and fun. I have never been to a service at Saddleback church, but it seems that church shouldn't be about what feels good and appeasing to the flesh; rather it should be a place of worshipping the Father in a real and tangible way. I guess some people can worship the Lord in a service with all of those different themes and venues, afterall, we should be able to worship the Lord wherever we are and in whatever we are doing, but again for me personally, it would be a distraction. It may be that way for me because one of the ways the Lord speaks to me clearly is through music; in intimate times of praise and worship. I also prefer small gatherings where thoughts and ideas can be exchanged and talked about on a personal level. Big churches are okay for some I guess, but not for me. Oh and, sorry for knocking the Dahli Lama, I haven't read it but I thought it was derived out of a muslim or hindu background. I guess I have some research to do . . . Then I can fairly give my opinion about the matter!! (I'll let you know)

jimmy said...

Yeah, the Dali Llama isn't Muslim, or Hindu, he's Buddhist. Mahatma Gandhi... he's the Hindu.

I think we can learn much from people of other faith traditions, even if there is much we disagree on.

joel said...

wine, friends, and great conversation about the authors that transcend our futile understanding of this here and now. I truly believe what ben (and what jimmy suggests in the juxtaposition of the gospels and some relevant writers) to be a great way to experience church and christ as the family. these are the things i miss most about my family, Matthews House in North County, San Diego.

Natala said...

my biggest issue with it is that we are supposed to come together as a body, it seems this only seperates, into various tastes. let's teach one another, not divide one another... it just seems to me like more division.