Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Been There, Done That

Recently at the BHT, Randy wrote this:
I’m sitting in church listening to a sermon about vision. Turns out that our vision coincides with the western consumerist church vision. Our pastor is reading Andy Stanley’s book to us. I can’t leave. I’m running the sound board.

I can feel the fatigue and the desperation.

I have friends who've been there. Who turn to each other backstage or in the sound booth or in the pew and whisper, "I don't know how much more I can do this."

Sometimes, even with vision, the people perish.


nhe said...

I'm missing what the issue he saying Stanley's church has a western consumerist vision?....or, is he just lamenting that his church's vision isn't original?......whereas I usually track with you on missional vs. attractional, etc., I'm not sure that I agree every large/vibrant Willowcreek Association church is automatically plagued by a "western consumerist" vision........sometimes God just really does bless a church with numbers and an expanded sphere of influence.....ummmm........doesn't He?

Jared said...

Don't see Willow Creek mentioned here, but I get what you're saying. I agree that God does bless churches with numbers and influence. I've tried to be pretty clear in the past that I'm not in the "big = bad" category.

But what I'm feeling Randy saying here is something I've been through and others close to me have been through. "Lamenting that his church's vision isn't original" comes close.

It's about pouring oneself into the bigger/better/faster machine, being drained by the ambitious programs that may be attracting numbers but don't seem to be growing people spiritually or exalting Jesus, and then just having vision that promises more of the same.

Some friends close to me have endured two years in a row of vision nights that didn't even have vision. It was more of a "Here's what's wrong, but we'll figure it out, because we're awesome" kind of thing. :-)

Jared said...

Which is not to say Vision Nights are bad. I think the concept is great.
Element just had its first one. We rolled out a three-tiered forecast (short term, mid-term, long term plans) and unveiled the Bold as Love initiative.

We've already accomplished most of our short-term plans and 1 of our mid-term, just in 5 weeks. :-)

Scott Packett said...

I see where Randy is coming from. As a pastor it is easy to take others ideas and try to force them into your context. What one should do if they see a particular process working in another context, they should take it and evaluate how it could be applied to their current situation. One must be very careful in this process. I have made the mistake of taking concepts from an urban church and trying to apply those same ideas in my rural context. It doesn't work, because we are dealing with two different groups of people, in two totally different contexts.

A pastor should look for inspiration from other sources, but should not try to mirror those successful ministries without first evaluating what God wants to do with the community he finds himself in. As pastors, we need to focus more on the gospel and discipling the people God has entrusted us with, and find ways in which we can inspire people to seek to know the God they claim to serve. Let the gospel and the Holy Spirit do the inspiring through our proclamation of the gospel.

We must remain faithful to our calling to proclaim the gospel, leading by example, and loving and discipling those who sit under our leadership and teaching. Many churches fail to develop disciples, simply because their focus is more on tactics and styles, and not so much on glorifying and honoring God by focusing on the gospel.

nhe said...

I mentioned Willow Creek because Stanley's church is in the Willow Creek Association of Churches (as is mine) and large WC Association churches probably are susceptible to the consumerist label.

I completely agree with frustration over hearing his pastor communicate another church's vision for his church.....I guess I'm just curious as to how much he borrowed from Stanley - if he adapted it and made it his own, I would see it as positive - the North Point blueprint wouldn't be a bad one to gleen a few things from.