Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Questions Part 2

The next question I have heard a lot recently is actually not a single question but a category of questions. These questions involve a lot of the catch phrases we hear about in the church these days. Here's what I am talking about.

Multiple Choice Question:

Is your church _____________?

a. Bible Based
b. Christ Centered
c. Seeker Sensitive
d. Purpose Driven
e. All of the above
f. None of the above

These are just a few of the catch phrases you will see on church signs, web sites, etc.

I had a call a few months ago that asked if Bayshore was a Christ centered church. I politely answered yes, and continued to answer the caller's other questions. I wanted to ask the caller what exactly a "Christ centered" church is. I joked with my wife that I wanted to tell the caller that Bayshore was centered around the disciple Bartholomew.

I guess part of my problem is that there are certainly some churches who have a superiority complex because they are more "purpose driven" or more "Bible based" than another church. The other problem is that a strategy that works at one church may not work at all at another church. As Brian McLaren put it in his book, The Church on the Other Side, certain strategies that have caused growth explosions at one church may even be toxic at another.

I have been at a church that tried the Willow Creek model, only to discover that our church didn't have the talent or, more importantly, the will to pull it off. So, we called in a pastor from another mega-church with another model, and that one didn't work either. I know they have tried at least one other model, but I don't know whether it has worked or not. I think smart church leader look at a church model AND several churches that are using that model in different ways. I think every model has a few essentials but can be tweaked to meet the needs of a specific congregation. The tweaks can make the difference between success or failure.

So, next time you see a church advertise itself using one of these catchphrases, stop and think what it really means, if anything.

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