More wisdom from Rick Warren...

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Gunther, Sep 22, 2003.

  1. Gunther

    Gunther
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2003
    Messages:
    616
    Likes Received:
    0
    In the BP article today, Warren enlightens us as to why and how a church needs and can grow beyond its plateau.

    Here is the link:

    Baptist Press article

    Now, if you notice, he references two Scriptures. You can also see how he sees the church as basically a business and you operate it as such (very hard to believe :rolleyes: ).

    Now, about the first Scripture, Warren says:

    Why is it that 95 percent of all churches in the world never grow past 300? I believe it's because their structure keeps them from growing beyond that point. Hebrews 8:13, in the Phillips paraphrase, says, "When a thing grows weak and out of date it is obviously soon going to disappear." That's also true of churches. If a church cannot change, it will eventually die.

    Okay, nevermind that the Phillips is worthless when proper exegesis has anything to do with the discussion, but he was driven to use it on purpose.

    Here it is in the NASB:

    Hebrews 8:13
    When He said, "A new covenant," He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.

    Not only did Phillips miss it, but Warren joined company and missed it also. Nice twisting of the Word to further your drivel Rick.

    Then, he uses the classic new win in old wineskins example. Does that passage have a thing to do with Warren's diatribe? Of course not. Does that matter? Of course not. What matters is that he has a thought, he found a verse to use, he knows he can con others into buying it because they have already gone for his other stuff, he is okay.

    Now, the merits of the article are completely subjective. Apparently, numbers is the only kind of growth to him.

    What would you say if a church had 80 members in it. It has grown by about a family a year for the past couple of years. Some people have moved away, so it generally stays around 80. The families are strong, the parents love their children, the children are not rebellious, the fathers/husbands are learning biblical theology, the older women are teaching the younger women, they have an outreach to the homeless, divorced, etc.

    According to Warren, such a church needs to change.

    Where exactly does he pull this statement: If a church cannot change, it will eventually die?

    Is he insane? Where is that in the Scripture? Oh yeah, no where. It is a Warren article.
     
  2. Brett

    Brett
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2003
    Messages:
    586
    Likes Received:
    0
    Next thing you know he'll be saying the Bible needs to change too. :rolleyes:
     
  3. ScottEmerson

    ScottEmerson
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2002
    Messages:
    3,417
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'd say, that's a church that is clearly missing their opportunity to take that love, that theology, and that teaching beyond their walls. Why isn't there evangelism happening in the church? My fear is that the church is one-dimensional, missing the command of Christ in the Great Commission to go out into the world and make disciples. If only one family a year comes, I would wonder why the church isn't reaching out to a lost and dying world.

    As for Hebrews 8:13, the NIV says, "What is obsolete and aging will soon disappear." This is a principle that directly relates to the covenant - this is true. However, through church history, especially since the Reformation, we have seen this principle to be true about the logistics of church. That's not as big a stretch as you make it to be. The principle is still true.

    As to Luke 5:37, Jesus indeed said that no one pours new wine into wineskins. That rings true when I think of churches and when I look at churches that are dying or plateauing.

    From practical experience, I have seen firsthand in several churches that the church that does not change will eventually die. I've never seen a church that was unwilling to change prosper and succeed in reaching the lost and dying world. I just haven't.
     
  4. gb93433

    gb93433
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    15,496
    Likes Received:
    6
    The SBC thinks well enough of Rick Warren to put it in the Baptist Press. So I assume those who adhere to the BF&M and believe in the inerrancy of scripture approve. I assume there are no liberals any more in the SBC. After all haven’t they been purged? Now you can’t believe they would quote a liberal would you?

    A church is either dying or growing. There is no in between. I can show you plenty of First Baptist Church's in the county where I live where the average age is about 70. One will close soon. I can show you a church in a city of 3.5 million that was the second largest church in the city and now it is one of the smallest. All because of one reason. It refused to change. Those who refused to change are all together with those who refused to change and one by one they disappear. I can show you another church just a few miles from where I live that refused to change until the church had no more people lefyt and the denomination brought in a new pastor. He had an empty building and a few to help him. It was a replant. The church just a few years later is now the largest church in town. In that same town is a church that once was the largest that is one of the smaller churches because it refused ti change.

    God’s grace demands that we change. We are changing one way or the other. Be are either growing in love with Jesus and becoming more and more like Him and loving people or we are getting harder and more judgmental.

    Perhaps you should read some of Spurgeon’s sermons. Many of his sermons were on one verse or a few verses. Some preachers use a lot of verses and prooftext as well.

    Can you find any verses on how to interpret scripture? Can you find any verses to back up James 1:5 on the wisdom God gives to you personally in the midst of your trials?

    I pastored a church that grew from 90 to over 220 in 20 months and the deacons didn't like it. They didn't want to change to accommodate the new people and disciple them. Another pastor some years earlier grew a church from 75 to almost 600 and the deacons didn't like it. There were too many former Mormons coming to suit them. It was probably the same convention as First Baptist.

    It doesn't take any verses to use a small fraction of your brain and figure that these people were selfish. God just took their lampstand.

    It doesn't take any verses to figure out that the average Christian in America never disciples anyone outside of their family in a lifetime.

    When God gives a man wisdom does he always accompany it with a verse or two?

    I have heard Rick Warren preach a few times and he has always used a passage to preach from. The sermons I heard him preach did not lack any substance.

    What I learned from him was a lot. I'll give you an example of where I come from. With a new christian I start with the books Design For Discipleship by Nav Press. Then I take them on a one year trek through Step by Step through the OT and then Step by Step through the NT. (They read the entire OT and NT and answer all the questions each week. The workbooks are about 200 pages each. Those workbooks have 13 lessons each. I usually take ½ of a lesson each week. But I have taken one group through the entire Bible in 26 weeks. For each lesson they are to read the Bible and do the workbook. Each lesson will take about seven hours of their time. Finally I use a set of worksheets I have developed to go along with How To Read The Bible For All Its Worth. In almost every case before I reach the end of the series the people are already leading a Bible study with someone or more whom they have met. I teach them to visit and share their faith by doing it with them. I take the men and then they take their family or their wife. This covers a time period of 94 weeks.

    I never use the sermon as a time for a Bible study. If that's all your getting each week it's just watery milk. It is a time for everyone especially for those who will understand less. The more mature must understand that it must be a time primarily for the less mature. The mature should be feeding themselves anyway. They shouldn’t be relying on the pastor. The mature should be discipling people. It is not a time to explain supralapsarianism and how that relates to the time of creation and the fall. Nor is it a time to explain the difference between presbuteros and episkopos and how they are used among philosophers, in the papyrii, and in the early church fathers.. It is not a time to explain the differences between the MT and the LXX. It is not a time to explain the issue of textual variants. It is a time to call people to obedience and trust in Christ. If i just read the Bible through from cover to cover orally it would take 79 hours. So imagine how long it would take a pastor to explain each verse in the Bible. Spurgeon one of the greatest preachers that ever lived said he wasn’t good enough to preach long passages and hold the attention of the people. They didn’t have the competiton of the radio and TV during the week to help develop a short attention span.

    In almost every case where someone has tried to show his knowledge of something it is more of a fog than anything else because they are in a fog themselves. I have heard more nonsense from those kind of preachers. Years ago a roommate of mine tod me about a preacher he heard and he told me that guy didn’t know Greek. Then he visited a seminary with a friend of his and he said the professor didn’t know Greek either. You see my friend was from Greece. Later I find out that same seminary doesn’t put out very good pastors. I find personally they are not very well equipped theologically. When we try to dazzle people with what we think we know we will eventually get found out. But when we are humble we can learn. It’s kind of like what Ben Franklin was told, “...You will never know any more than you know now which is very little.” Ben Franklin took that rebuke to heart.

    But the way Rick Warren structures his sermons has helped me a lot. The congregation noticed it immediately when I started doing that. They were better able to follow me. It also helped me to better apply the message so that people could understand it better.

    If you want to be challenged just take a look at Jesus’ preaching. How difficult was it to understand? He often spoke in parables. His language was simple and so were the concepts.

    It might impress you to know that the congregation Rick Warren preaches to come from the second highest best educated community in California.

    You mentioned, "Where exactly does he pull this statement: If a church cannot change, it will eventually die?"

    If a seed doesn't die to itself it will not reproduce.

    Luther said, " God creates out of nothing. Therefore, until a man is nothing, God can make nothing out of him."

    [ September 23, 2003, 02:00 AM: Message edited by: gb93433 ]
     
  5. donnA

    donnA
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2000
    Messages:
    23,354
    Likes Received:
    0
    Week after week we have to watch Rick Warren be bashed and run to the ground. How easy when he isn't here to defend himself. How much more easy to misunderstand him (and sometimes on purpose I've noticed) when he isn't here to straighten out what he meant, explain it to people unable to understand. He can't even defend himself against accusations(whether false or not)becasue he isn't here, it makes it easier to accuse him doesn't it.
    I for one am getting sick and tired of constantly see Rick Warren this and Purpose Driven that every single day. If you don't like him don't read his books, don't do purpose driven anything in your church, it's as simple as that. But this constant back stabbing, one christian against another(who is not here to defend himself) is sickening!
    When is someone going to act like a christian.
     
  6. All about Grace

    All about Grace
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2002
    Messages:
    1,680
    Likes Received:
    0
    Nice try again Gunther. Still producing strikes I see.

    Change is essential. W/o it you will die and your church will die. Maybe one day you will realize Warren is not offering theological treatises or universal statements. He is providing good practical advice for the real life pastor/church. Believe or not many leaders out there are not content to live in the land of status quo and excuse it with the "numbers mean nothing" mentality upon which the content survive.

    As Emerson pointed out, Warren's use of the text is permissable.

    DonnA, don't worry about all of the criticism Warren endures. If you have ever heard him talk about those who criticize him, you would know that he does not give them a second thought. It is always easier to kick those whom you are standing behind. Remember many fundies thrive and survive on the belittlement of those who differ from them.

    Gunther - still waiting to see if you are as hard on Spurgeon as you are on Warren.
     
  7. Gina B

    Gina B
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2000
    Messages:
    16,944
    Likes Received:
    1
    I'm almost starting to like Warren. [​IMG] Not quite there yet, but he does have some good things to say, he just needs to say less and think more at the moment. He had a few good things to say, then let it go to his head and kept talking methinks. LOL
    Anyhoo...
    What was running through your head when you said that??? I totally, completely, emphatically disagree.
    Gina
     
  8. Gunther

    Gunther
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2003
    Messages:
    616
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gina, that is just warren being warren. I mean, why would it be necessary for a preach to exposit the text? Well, as long as you can get away with his teaching, why actually work for it?

    SBC, can you prove from Scripture that a growing church must of necessity grow numerically so that it isn't in danger of dying?
     
  9. donnA

    donnA
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2000
    Messages:
    23,354
    Likes Received:
    0
    In the N.T. we read several times about how much the church grew, 3,000 in one day, God was keeping count. Seems numbers do matter. Anytime something doesn't grow it eventually dies. Thats only common sence.
     
  10. Gunther

    Gunther
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2003
    Messages:
    616
    Likes Received:
    0
    Okay, maybe I should type slower.

    Where in the bible does it say that a church must grow NUMERICALLY so that it isn't in danger of dying?
     
  11. All about Grace

    All about Grace
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2002
    Messages:
    1,680
    Likes Received:
    0
    Still avoiding the Spurgeon question huh? Can't blame you. Most anti-Warrenites are usually very pro-Spurgeon but are usually unable to explain the similarities in the two.

    The Great Commission is to go and make disciples. This naturally implies growth. Do you believe it is possible for a church to be healthy and NOT grow?

    BTW, I am not talking about growing as in "we have 25 more this year than we did last year." Pruning may be a part of the growth process that is not always reflected numerically. As a church changes, it may naturally lose some people so the numbers (for a period) may not necessarily show substantial growth. But what I mean by growth is that a church is consistently seeing people become followers of Christ. So again I ask: do you believe it is possible for a church to be healthy and NOT growing (as I have just defined growth)?
     
  12. LarryN

    LarryN
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2003
    Messages:
    958
    Likes Received:
    0
    I dunno.

    Maybe the issue isn't so much one of simple numerical growth, but one of replacement growth.

    I grew up in a Lutheran church. When I was a kid a few decades ago, the church was filled with middle-agers, mostly. Now 40 years later a large percentage of those people have passed on, and the church has dwindled to about 40 remaining souls. This church, literally, is dying a protracted death due to its inability to attract new attenders/members.

    It may seem trite to say, but some churches die simply because people die.
     
  13. LarryN

    LarryN
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2003
    Messages:
    958
    Likes Received:
    0
    As an aside to this: Has anyone visited the Church at Jerusalem lately? In my two visits to the city, I couldn't find it.

    Seriously, the point I'm getting at is that no local church has a guarantee of perpetuity. Spurgeon's Metropolitan Temple (or is it Metropolitan Tabernacle?) was a few dozen people (from 6,000+ at its height) when I saw it. I understand it's growing though in recent years.

    Think back also to Moody's church, or Landmark Baptist Temple in Cinncinati, or Temple Baptist in Detroit. Where are many of the large churches of even 50 or 100 years ago? Either radically altered or in decline.

    Also consider the many immigrant churches that served previous generations. In my state, many churches a century ago conducted services in Scandinavian languages. They served their purpose, and now they're either gone or radically changed. Individual local churches may sometimes serve a specific, distinct purpose, and then pass from the scene.

    My point is this: Individual local churches may come & go, but from the standpoint of God's Kingdom, that may not necessarily be a bad thing.
     
  14. gb93433

    gb93433
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    15,496
    Likes Received:
    6
    It doesn't take a verse to point out how the church grew. The early church grew as they shared their faith and discipled the new believers. There were people living for Jesus Christ because of their life. You can double your ministry by reaching one other person.

    Read the website at http://www.bibleteacher.org/Dm118_8.htm

    I never see Jesus ever preaching about the prevention of death. He doesn’t want the minimum, but rather our entire life. Look at the parable of the sower. We need to be like the good soil. It’s not about what can I do to prevent a church from dying. It’s about what I can to help them live for Jesus. However some churches need to die before they will grow. They need to die to self first.

    If it is dead just read Rev, 2 and see what happens.

    Rev 2:1-5, "To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands, says this: I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; and you have perseverance and have endured for My name's sake, and have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.`Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place--unless you repent."

    God says repent or else.

    It is God who removes the lampstand.

    If you go to one of the conferences that Rick Warren does, you will hear him talk about church health and little about size and numbers. I heard him say that a church can be large and unhealthy or small and very healthy.
     
  15. blackbird

    blackbird
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2002
    Messages:
    11,898
    Likes Received:
    2
    I go to these church growth conferences all the time--have heard Warren speak a number of times. He'll be speaking on how you church needs to grow past 300 in attendance, etc., etc. and how if they don't---they are out of the will of God cause God desires them to grow---

    then I go back to my church--and try to figure out with the rest of the preachers attending with me--"How in tarnation am I gonna get past 300 in SS---out here in "The Boonies!!!" You get all racked in the brain and depressed---cause its easy for him to talk about folks floodin' in over at Saddleback---where people actually outnumber flies and cattle that go with them!! But out in the boonies---let him come to my church and see if he can grow it past what it is--he can mimick the Saddleback mentatlity all he wants--he'll never make it peak what Saddleback is right now-he'll scope out the impossiblity and then refuse to pastor where I am--cause the numbers he needs just ain't there!!!!
     
  16. dianetavegia

    dianetavegia
    Expand Collapse
    Guest

    We had 495 in Sunday School two weeks ago but our church membership is 1011! You can only do so much!

    However, I do want to say that back in 1976 we lived in Daytona Beach Florida and rented a house on FBC church property, owned by the church. Bobby Welch was the pastor then and now. He's the guy who wrote the F.A.I.T.H. literature. Not once did anyone every visit us (we did visit there a couple of times), invite us back or ask where we were attending church... even when we would stop by the church office each month to drop off our rent check. Not once. Several times when I dropped off the check (with a 5 year old holding one hand, a 15 month old in a stroller and as pregnant as a house) the preacher would have his office door open, looked up, but never called out or spoke to me. I certainly don't think I look indigent or ever would have dressed in a way that would make them think I was not church material! Makes me wonder....... but then it was a well to do church. And he wants to run for President of the SBC.

    We ended up at a tiny church out of town (Fruitland Park) and bought a house from the pastor (who was also a builder) of that church.

    Diane
     
  17. donnA

    donnA
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2000
    Messages:
    23,354
    Likes Received:
    0
    Larry, you sound a lot like my pastor. He says God promises His church(as a whole, the body) will aways exsist, but no promise each indivual church will continue to exsist.
     
  18. gb93433

    gb93433
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    15,496
    Likes Received:
    6
    What was running through your head when you said that??? I totally, completely, emphatically disagree.

    Gina
    </font>[/QUOTE]You have a right to disagree. But here is where I am coming from.

    If the only time you ever get any Bible is during the sermon that isn't much. The role of the preacher is not to just give you another Bible study.

    This role of the preacher is: Eccl. 12:9-11, "In addition to being a wise man, the Preacher also taught the people knowledge; and he pondered, searched out and arranged many proverbs. The Preacher sought to find delightful words and to write words of truth correctly. The words of wise men are like goads, and masters of these collections are like well-driven nails; they are given by one Shepherd. But beyond this, my son, be warned: the writing of many books is endless, and excessive devotion to books is wearying to the body. The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.

    As you read the passage did you notice the power of what the preacher says. He is well prepared and uses wisdom in preparing the sermon. His sermons stick. People are moved by his words. He has spent time before God before he comes before the people. He knows God.

    One time I preached a sermon in a church and the main leader other than the pastor came forward and shared with the church how he had offended someone who was no longer going to church anywhere.(That was about two years earlier). After the service he went to pay the person a visit. I didn't know anything about it and neither did the pastor. But he did. He came face to face with God.

    When I preach I want to bring people face to face with the living God. I want them to know God. Because when they know God they have everything they need. They have something that goes way beyond just an intellectual knowledge.

    Take a look at the sermons Jesus preached sometime. Jesus didn't just give a Bible study and send the people home.

    Do you think it will help to give a woman hope who has come to church with seven children and has no job whose husband has left her during the week. A woman in that condition does not need to hear about literary genre as it relates to the interpretation of a passage nor does she need to hear about the structure of Hebrew poetry as it relates to the interpretation of Proverbs. She does not need to hear about the difference between the Hebrew word used in the MT and the Greek word used in the LXX in Is 7;14 which is translated in the English as virgin. She does not need to hear about the hypostatic union that day.

    She needs to hear about how God loves her and how He will see her through. She needs to hear how much the people of God love her and will do anything to help.

    A few years ago A friend of mine was pastoring a church where two teenagers committed suicide within a three week period. The people were like zombies. The people and especially the parents of those children needed the support and love of the people. They needed comfort. They didn't need to hear about God's judgment and how wrong suicide is.

    Sermons are not about Bible studies they are about ministering to people. You wouldn't give a Bible study at a funeral. You give hope to those who are believers and tell those who have no hope how they can have hope by trusting Christ.

    When 9/11 happened do you think the non-believers who came to church who had members of their family die in that inferno needed an intellectual argument on how God in his sovereignty gave us that inferno? Their need is to know that they can have hope in Christ. Some of them may have even needed to pay some bills. They didn't need to hear an intellectual argument or Bible study on predestination and the free will of man. They didn't need a Bible study on the lineage of Jesus. Those things can be every good but they are not always appropriate at the time.


    A church that my wife I attended for several years was the kind of church that if you had a need and it could be met the church would do it. For many years it had proven itself that way. I was told by an elderly man that right after the depression many were without jobs. If anyone came to the church and needed food or anything a collection was taken up right then for that person. The need wasn't another sermon or Bible study the need was food or the ability to pay their bills. The church must be about meeting needs not just about giving out information.

    People need hope. They need help focusing on Jesus. They need to feel loved. In fact it has been shown that church growth is directly related to its capacity to love.

    I remember once when I was asked to preach for a pastor at another church. I had a sermon already prepared. I don't normally change sermons. But about two hours before the service I felt a tremendous need to preach on another text. That night I spoke on trials. During the invitation a lady came forward and asked the church to pray for her. A relative of her's had just been murdered. I will never forget the look on the people's faces. I knew then why God had me change the sermon. For weeks I heard about that sermon from the people in that church.

    In the churches I have pastored the leaders will have spent an average of about seven hours per week for Bible study. They didn't need another study. They needed encouragement.
     
  19. gb93433

    gb93433
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    15,496
    Likes Received:
    6
    There are a number of things you can do. You can plant a church in another area. You can help another church that is struggling. You can help another small church pastor do evangelism. Just ask your DOM. He should have lots of idea. What can be done should not be limited by the size of your church only or the town only.

    Four years ago a church was started where I grew up in WA. The town is about 20 -25,000. The church is running about 750 and they have started nine new churches. The mother church helped this church get started but this churh has started nine others. The pastor is a former GARB pastor. He was asked to resign and left the church he was at. It was one of thsoe "dead" churches. For months he did not attend any church. He was beginning to have some personal troubles. But he started going back to church and ended up at a local church. He took a secular job and eventually the church he was attending asked him to be on staff. One thing led to another and now God has given him a ministry way beyond what he ever had before.

    When you walk into that church you know immediately there is something very different. Those people know they are saved. There is a boldness that I have not seen very many places. What I have seen happen in my family members is incredible. They were not even Christians when they first attended.
     

Share This Page

Loading...