POC Blog

The random technotheolosophical blogging of Reid S. Monaghan



There has been a bit of a buzz in some circles about Willow Creek Community Church's admission that the program driven seeker church model is not producing mature Christian disciples.  This revelation has come after a self study which produced "data" that convinced the Willow Leadership that much of what had been created was based on flawed assumptions.  If you build it, lots of people come out, then people become mature followers of Jesus Christ. Out of UR, the leadership blog of Christianity Today has a post on this today

Personally, everyone I know has the utmost respect for Bill Hybels as a godly man and a good leader.   This admission will only add to that for many, including myself.  What perplexes me though is that the model of church leadership seems to be continuing in the same processes that formed the orginal paradigm in the first place.

Market Research --> Get "the data" --> Reinvent the church

This is precisely what led to the "seeker movement" - you find out what the folks want, see what "works" and then reinvent.  Hold conferences, publish stuff, etc. so that others can follow the "cutting edge"

I am thankful for the changes which Willow is dreaming, more discipleship, more of a missional vision for the church in culture.  But why did we need this "new data" in order to realize that the means of grace (scripture, prayer, meditation, community, sacraments) are what changes people, not big venues and large crowds as an audience for services which cost millions of dollars a year to produce?  The solution now according to the Reveal video presentations and the quotes from the Out of Ur Blog?

Market Research --> Get "the data" --> Reinvent the church

Could it be that the very method is flawed as well as the  models which are re-invented?  In order to know the way, we follow Jesus as revealed in Scripture, illuminated by the Spirit of God.  Should we not as how he defines and lived discipleship before we start doing "what works?" After all - his way is what really works and we are best if we start there. 

I am thankful for the good influences Willow has had on many people's lives.  But I did not buy the previous seeker model and I am not looking to Chicago to find out what to do next.  The sufficiency of Scripture and the person of Jesus are the paths I will wrestle out in church leadership.  I think Willow will do the same.  At least I hope this will be the path to this next reinvention.  We need more men who treasure Jesus among all things, not more butts in the seats.  For this realization and revealing I am thankful.