Church Growth Movement

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by gb93433, Jan 16, 2012.

  1. gb93433

    gb93433
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    "The Devil seeks to destroy the church indirectly. Men's views eliminate all the unpopular principles of the Cross - self-denial, life surrender, and separation from the world. When this is done, the Devil runs the church. Then the church becomes popular, self-satisfying, modern, and progressive. But it is the Devil's church, founded on principles pleasing in every way to flesh and blood."

    Guide To Spiritual Warfare by E.M. Bounds

    I am wondering what you think about how the above quote caompares with what is being taught among those in the church growth movement.
     
  2. mont974x4

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    I have been reading Bounds writings on prayer and spiritual warfare as well.

    I think the quote is accurate. Churches have been made to be like corporations. It's about trying to make churches run like a business. 5th Ave marketing techniques have been adopted to make the church popular.

    We need to be reminded that no man grows the church. God alone does that. A look at Scriptural passages when great numbers were added to the Church would be helpful.
     
  3. Amy.G

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    A few months ago I moved to another church. I really love it and thank God for moving me. I found out yesterday that the church I left is now planning (actually the Pastor's idea) to plant a "Cowboy Church". What??????
     
  4. mont974x4

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    We have a Cowboy Church, a Biker Church (which is SBC) and an Outdoors Church (geared to the outdoor sportsmen). They are all devoted to teaching the pure Word. They just gear style (music and setting) towards specific groups. The biker church has been used by God in mighty ways to reach the homeless. They even have a successful Christ-centered rehab program. The cowboy church reaches those involved in rodeos. The Outdoor Church uses hunting, fishing, and camping as discipleship and outreach tools.

    Just because something is different does not mean it is automatically bad. We need to take the time to investigate and see if the foundations are Christ and the Word.
     
  5. Amy.G

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    I live in a small town that has no rodeos or anything having to do with cowboys. This is just another way to appeal to the flesh if you ask me. The church that is doing this is dying and I think it's more of a desperate attempt to bring people in.

    My new church is very traditional Baptist yet is growing. Maybe because the gospel is preached and actually lived out by the members and God is honoring that? What a concept!
     
  6. gb93433

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    I think it is worse than you suggest. Find me one man who promotes what you suggest who has also been a godly man in business. I cannot think of any.

    It is about the same percentage of businesses and churches that fail within the first two years. Most fail internally.
     
  7. freeatlast

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    That is exactly what is taking place in most our churches and not just in the church growth movement. These leaders need to get away from church growth and into bible teaching and let the Lord grow the church.
     
  8. Berean

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    How interesting that you should post his thread at this time.I have just finished reading LOVERS'S QUARREL WITH THE EVANGELICAL CHURCH by Warren Cole Smith, Associate Editor of WORLD MAGIZINE. I have already started to reread it. I am reminded of the qotation; 'We have met the enemy and the enemy is us"In this Post Modern Age we have spent the past fifty years fighting the symptoms, abortion, sexual immorality loss of our youth on leaving home and very little time seeking the only cure, getting back to basic scriptural teaching. We have gone just tho opposite with all the mega-churches, youth groups and para church organiztions too numerous to list.
    If you are serious about making change I suggest you buy this book, read it and pass it on.
     
  9. Oldtimer

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    We have several Cowboy churches in our general area. There's one not too far from us that we visit from time to time. They have services on Tuesday evening so they don't compete with Wed night Bible study at most "traditional" churches.

    Amy, based on my experience with the one near us, these are just ordinary hard working God fearing people. Many are what some would classify as po folks. They feel comfortable driving their old beatup pickup truck to church. Feel comfortable that they don't need a 3 piece business suit and tie to worship the Lord. I'm sure that many of them never sat on a horse in their life.

    And, the membership isn't just men. Some singles of both sexes and some families. All ages, from too young to sit on a horse to too old to do the same. Again, from what I've seen and heard, a better name for the one near me is an old-fashioned country church. Amens and praise the Lord are often heard from the congregation. Along with heartfelt prayers.

    Don't write them off until you see and hear for yourself exactly what happens in a Cowboy Church, Biker's Church, or even an Outdoors church. Every congregation is different, I'm sure. So, in that regard, I can only speak for what I've seen and heard myself.

    BTW, in closing, our church also has an Outdoor ministry. While it isn't a separate church, we do have events that focus on God's Great Outdoors. What's the difference between sponsoring a Vacation Bible School for children and sponsoring an event geared towards hunters and fishermen and their families?
     
  10. Amy.G

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    This isn't an event. It's a church (if you want to call it that). I believe church should be centered around Christ, not cowboys or hunters or fishermen...hey I know, let's have hairdresser church..., and we can get our hair done while the choir is singing.....or nurse church,...they can pretend to give you shots of the Holy Spirit! :rolleyes:
     
  11. Oldtimer

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    FWIW, I'm thankful that I attend a Baptist church where the Lord comes first. For example, we dropped a youth program when the focus drifted away from it's intended purpose to serve the Lord. Yes, some of the youth began going to another church with a similar program. Because they were looking for "entertainment" that we stopped providing.
     
  12. mont974x4

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    I am afraid you missed the point. These churches are centered around Christ. They just happened to by filled with people from a sub-sect of our population (cowboys, bikers, for example). They take measures to be inviting to those groups while being devoted to Christ and the pure teaching of the Word. They reach people that most of our churches cannot, or will not. The biker church, for example, has people in it that would be allowed in many churches because of their tattoos and style of dress. However, I have never met a more humble group of people with such a deep desire to reach the lost and and just serve the people of our community so often overlooked by others. I also know their pastor personally, and I know he goes into bars and hauls people out of them on a regular basis. Sin is confronted more boldly there than I have seen in most churches I have visited.

    I understand your concern. I really do. I had to do some investigating in order to accept them myself.
     
  13. Oldtimer

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    Amy, again, I can only speak for the one Cowboy church I've visited on Tuesday night. That church is centered around Christ. Yes, their hymns are sometimes accompanied by a guitar. The collection plate is a cowboy hat. The cross behind their pulpit isn't polished brass with a spotlight on it.

    IMHO, when a God called preacher steps behind a pulpit and delivers a sermon that brings people to the cross, it doesn't matter if it isn't called a traditional Baptist church. The sermons I've heard at the Cowboy church in our area would be appropriate at my own Baptist church. Come to Jesus Christ. Serve the Lord and give God the glory.
     
    #13 Oldtimer, Jan 16, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 16, 2012
  14. Ed B

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    Could these Churches be classified as "missional", "relevant" or "resurgent" where those terms are used to mean meeting people where they in their own cultural setting? It seems to me that Cowboy Church might be a less caustic manifestation of this sort of thing than how Mark Driscoll chooses to communicate or minister to his congregation by using vulgarities and very questionable topics because that's how modern culture talks these days.
     
  15. Amy.G

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    I have no problem with cowboys or bikers coming to church. The problem I have is conforming our churches to the world in order to draw in a certain group. If churches that cater to cowboys and bikers are a good thing, then we should start churches catering to every other type person as well. Where does it end?
    It's our job as Christians to represent Christ in such a way that the world sees HIM through us and comes to church for Him alone. If we need gimmicks, then we have failed as Christian representatives of our Savior.
     
  16. Oldtimer

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    Ed, the one I've visited would be more like one in the setting of "Little House on the Pararie" than a "modern culture" church.
     
  17. preachinjesus

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    The quote can apply to some churches that use atteactional models for growth...but not all and not always.

    There are some good things we've learned from the (traditional) CGM and some bad trends we do, and should, spurn. I believe all churches are called to grow. Whether that is numerical and spiritual, and to what exten they can and do is where the nuance occurs.

    As we can, and do, learn practices and strategies that help us reach more people and create more effective organizations we, as a unified body, are stronger. I challenge anyone to show me where a normative Eccleisology works itself out in the NT in terms of approach, outreach, structure (beyond basic offices), worship style, etc etc etc.

    The church where I get to serve is a very large, growing church. We do use many trends from what might be considered secular sources...but our platform is spiritual. Bounds' quote is a good one, but needs to be applied to what it is speaking to.
     
  18. mont974x4

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    In most cases they are trying to follow Paul's example

    1Co 9:19 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more.
    1Co 9:20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law;
    1Co 9:21 to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law.
    1Co 9:22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some.
    1Co 9:23 I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it. (NASB)


    We are not talking about gimmicks or becoming like the world. We are talking about shining the light of Christ in a dark world full of people who have no idea what real hope looks like. We are talking about following Jesus' own example of eating with sinners, talking to a Samaritan woman, or sending someone to drag a drunk Marine home and hold him accountable to the mandates of Scripture. God's intervention through such men led that Marine to raise me and my siblings in a Christ-centered home and the reason I am now a pastor myself.
     
  19. preachinjesus

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    BTW, I don't have a problem with (what I call) boutique approaches like Cowboy, biker, coffe shop, etc etc churches...we a great diversity of Bible based churches to reach a great diversity of people.
     
  20. mont974x4

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    Using that definition I would say, "yes".
     

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