Five Tools to Develop Spiritual Maturity – Saddleback Style

I stand in amazement at the audacity of Saddleback Pastor Rick Warren. He has deceived himself (along with countless multitudes of star-struck pastors) into believing that his self-manufactured, man-centered methodologies will bring about tremendous growth in our churches and in our spiritual lives. This article from that I found through a link on Christian Research Network has Warren explaining the five tools he uses to develop spiritual growth. For those who don’t like clicking on links, I will list them here: Continue reading

Sanctuary or Auditorium – Does it Really Matter?

I had lunch with a friend the other day. The topic of church growth came up, as it often does. He informed me of a trend in his church that has provoked him as of late. He has noted that the place believers gather together to offer praises in worship to their God, the place where the bold proclamation of God’s word is presented to the people, the place once known as a sanctuary is now simply being called an auditorium.

This isn’t an isolated occurrence. When my old church moved from their sanctuary into the gym (preparing for growth) the term sanctuary was dropped and it became an auditorium. Even the conservative baptist church I attend now calls it an auditorium.

My friend was so troubled by the terminology he confronted the pastor about it. He argued that the church has been referred to as a sanctuary throughout history and carries with it a sense of awe and reverence in the presence of the Holy that should not be changed.

In light of our discussion, a question has been hammering in my brain the past few days: Continue reading

Church on the Downgrade

This is one of the most amazing quotes I have ever read from the pen of Charles Spurgeon. Did he really write this over 100 years ago? The Downgrade Controversy Spurgeon fought against was at heart the same battle the church is fighting against today in the Church Growth/Seeker Sensitive movement.

Spurgeon never compromised his commitment to Sola Scriptura. Will we stand with him?

“An evil resides in the professed camp of the Lord so gross in its impudence that the most shortsighted can hardly fail to notice it. During the past few years it has developed at an abnormal rate even for evil. It has worked like leaven until the whole lump ferments. The devil has seldom done a cleverer thing than hinting to the Church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them. From speaking out as the Puritans did, the Church has gradually toned down her testimony, then winked at and excused the frivolities of the day. Then she tolerated them in her borders. Now she has adopted them under the plea of reaching the masses. Continue reading

My ‘Simple’ Sunday

Sorry I’m so late reporting this, but summer is a difficult time of year for me to post on a consistent basis. We have two computers, but my wife uses one for summer school and my kids stay up to all hours on the other one playing games and texting their friends. I can’t wait for fall, frankly.

Anyway, let me give a brief overview of how church services went Sunday. Pastor gave his first message on ‘Creating a Simple Church.’ I held my breath, hoping he didn’t propose a bunch of radical changes couched in corporate lingo to communicate the need to re-focus the church. I was pleasantly surprised, however. The message did not resemble much, if anything I had read of or listened to about ‘Simple Church’. He did center the message around the book’s thesis: We need to focus all the ministries in the church around the bible commission to make disciples of all nations. But it appeared to me he took the central idea of the book and built upon it without relying on the book’s methods to do so. He made the message his own. Here were his three main points: Continue reading

Simple Church

My church is starting a new series this coming Sunday on ‘The Simple Church’ that has me more than a little nervous. I believe (but has not been verified yet) that it is based on the book, ‘Simple Church‘ by Thom S. Rainer and Eric Geiger. Pastor will preach 4 messages each Sunday morning over the month of July. Evening services will not be held. In its place, we will divide into small groups and discuss the morning message.

So what has me on edge? Continue reading

Coming Out From Among Them – Epilogue

Are you familiar with the tale of the pied piper?

The story goes that a small German village called Hamelin suffered from a terrible rat infestation. A man calling himself a rat catcher boasted he could rid the town of every single rodent. The villagers promised the man, (known around those parts as the pied piper) a great sum of money for accomplishing this task. He played his flute, mesmerizing the entire colony, leading them to the nearest river, and drowning them all in the rushing waters. However the villagers weren’t as thankful as they ought to have been. Like many of us would do in the midst of a desperate situation, they made a wild promise they could not possibly hope to keep in order to rid the town of its plague. But once they were relieved of their burden they had no intentions of paying the man his due.

After all, the problem wasn’t all that bad in the first place, right? It’s similar to how quickly a sailor’s fear of drowning fades after the storm subsides. The pied piper did not take the villagers’ snub very well, so he plotted revenge. One day, while the adults were all gathered together for church service, he came into town and spellbound all the children with his soulful tunes. He led them away to a dark cave. All of the children entered without hesitation, but none of them ever walked back out. Continue reading

Coming Out From Among Them – Part 4

I had arrived at a crisis point in my spiritual life and I just didn’t know what to do. Our church had bowed its knee at the altar of Purpose, worshiping the Church Growth Goddess, who had seductively lured it away to her sinful bed. She had successfully inflamed passion for numerical growth, fame and influence to a fever pitch among our leadership. They had yielded to her will in matters of faith and practice. I strongly felt God’s call to come out of her, that her sins would not be imputed unto me or my family. However, I didn’t know where to go. I felt I needed a well thought out plan before exiting stage left.

I still had not found a church home for us to root ourselves in. After 11 years in a pentecostal\charismatic type church and seeing a lot of goofiness done in the name of God, I was looking to make our home in a more conservative, scripture-saturated atmosphere. I didn’t completely rule out a ‘full-gospel’ church since there are a couple in our town with good reputations, but I honestly couldn’t bring myself to attend them. I have too many questions and concerns about tongues, prophecies, prophets and spirit baptisms to be comfortable in one right now. Most of the other churches I considered have been influenced, to some degree, by Rick Warren. So many choices, so few options. So while I pondered and prayed over our future, we continued to attend services on Sunday morning and on Wednesday nights. Continue reading