Too "Purpose Driven?!"

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by GeneMBridges, May 26, 2004.

  1. GeneMBridges

    GeneMBridges
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    I found this article in a thread at www.carm.org.

    It's frightening to say the least:

    Church Votes to Expel Non-Purpose Driven Members
    Rick Warren's Book Becomes More than Recommended Reading for Local
    Congregation

    Purpose Driven Life

    MEMPHIS, TN – (snip intro paragraph)

    In a groundbreaking move, the elder board at MCC (Memphis Community Church) – a nondenominational "mega-church" – passed a resolution to revoke the membership of any church member who does not, by the end of 2003, read The Purpose Driven Life, (snip authorship info, we all know who wrote it).

    "Upon encountering this life-changing book, we realized that if members of our church aren't leading a purpose driven life, they really don't have much value as believers," said Senior Pastor Charles Moynihan. "After much prayer and consideration, we simply decided that they can take their purposelessness elsewhere."
    -----------------------------------------------

    My comment: THAT IS SCARY...

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    The decision was announced during Sunday morning services on November 9th, and every MCC member will have received a form letter from Moynihan by the end of the month.

    Not only do MCC's 2,348 members have to read The Purpose Driven Life by December 31st, 2003, they also have to pass a written test of both multiple choice and essay questions, formulated by the elder board, that demonstrates that they understand the concepts and have undergone the life-changing effects of the book.

    Moynihan says that he expects that very few, if any, members will lose their membership, and that many will easily fulfill the requirement during the church's "40 Days of Purpose," a collective reading and study of the book, now in progress at MCC and thousands of other congregations around the world.

    "We're not looking to expel anybody here," he said. "We know that our
    membership will rise to the challenge and start to actually live lives with a purpose. The reaction to this action by the board has been overwhelmingly positive."

    But that doesn't mean the church's revolutionary decision is completely free of detractors.

    "I went through nine weeks of mind-numbingly boring membership classes, and now I have to prove my worth as a member by reading about some evangelical fad?!," exclaimed Memphis resident Rick Peterson, who became an MCC member last year.

    Despite his objections, Peterson, an avid basketball player, plans to read the book and take the test.

    "I'm not ready to give up my free access to the church gym," he said.
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    My comment: Did he say what I thought he said?
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    For his part, Moynihan is convinced that the required reading will have an effect on the church that will be just as revolutionary as the elder board's ultimatum.

    "We're going to have hundreds of Christians finding unique purposes
    simultaneously," he said. "I like to think of it as the Purpose Storm."

    -----------------------------------------------

    As one of the posters at CARM said, "I think they forgot to read The Purpose Driven Church

    What have we come to? I am grieved that "Christian pop culture" has idolized this book. Personally, I got more out of Experiencing God and Hearing God Speak by Henry Blackaby than this book.

    Thoughts? Comments?
     
  2. rsr

    rsr
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  3. GeneMBridges

    GeneMBridges
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    Thank You...I will post back there immediatamente.
     
  4. Johnv

    Johnv
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    This story is a hoax.
     
  5. All about Grace

    All about Grace
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    Great satire ... maybe not a bad idea ... might give church discipline a whole new concept.
     
  6. Dr. Bob

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    Actually, I was hoodwinked by it. I've seen some churches that I would not put such action past!

    BTW, we have "required" reading in our new members class. One cannot be considered for membership without taking the 6-week class, reading a book (for now unnamed) and meeting with elders to share testimony AND go over some material in the book. Only THEN can they be posted for membership.
     
  7. LarryN

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    Dr. Bob raises the idea of a membership class being a prerequisite for church membership. I'm of the opinion that it's not a bad idea.

    Why not have prospective members study & agree to a church's Statement of Belief, or agree to abide by some form of church covenant? Can it hurt for members to be aware of what they're joining & committing themselves to?

    Barna's research claims that church members who've been through a required class for membership are 14 times as likely to still be in attendance after one year, compared to those who haven't been required to complete a class.
     
  8. GeneMBridges

    GeneMBridges
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    I agree. I think a basic new members class that covers basic Christian discipleship as well as the distinctives of your local church is a wonderful idea.

    My own church does this, but right now there are problems with it. The minister of evangelism is supposed to conduct it, but he is also required to be in at least one of the services WHILE THE CLASS IS BEING HELD. (e.g. be in two places at one time). There is a growing feeling that the class, which is intended to introduce people to our church is not doing that very thing. I spoke to a new member this past Sunday who was in the class that day and told me all about how it was conducted. First, the annual fire drill was held. (Of course, you have to have it during both services and both Sunday School times), so that disturbed the class. Nobody was encouraged to at least introduce themselves to the class. Since Phil had to be in the first service, but not the second, they did not get to meet him until the second service (the class is held for two full hours), and, then,he had to leave early in order to be back in second service for the invitation. None of the other ten pastors were there. Instead, they were babysat by a video.

    Not good. Oh well, maybe there's a suggestion box.
     
  9. Johnv

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    My church has new members classes. They didn't when I joined, so didn't know a whole lot about Baptist history. Now, every new member gets a crash course in Batist history, theology, and doctrine.

    My cousin's church (non-Baptist) also has a 6 week new members class. Since they're a Calvin-founded denomination, their new members learn about the Reformation, etc.

    I think it's generally a good idea. It produces knowlwge, and knowlege is power. Educated members are better equipped to serve.
     
  10. donnA

    donnA
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    http://www.holyobserver.com/detail.php?sec=main&page=disclaimer

    So much for truth on the BB.
     
  11. GeneMBridges

    GeneMBridges
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    Yes, we realize that. A number of us were duped, even Dr. Griffin. I have since been back to www.carm.org where I found the story and informed them. Thank you, though, for reinterating that fact for those that scroll down and don't see the other posts.

    I am pleased,however, at the way this thread has matured into discussion of membership classes. In that, I find the satire has had an unintended positive effect.
     
  12. Ben W

    Ben W
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    Well sorry to be the weak link in the chain, but I completely disagree although I feel that the reasons being offered are valid.

    Memberships and Membership classes as we have them today are not in the Bible so that is a good enough reason not to have them. The church is creating all these models to run by because they are moving away from the model of the original church in Acts.

    The believer met together and broke bread together daily yet probably worked longer hours than what we do. They studied the Letters of the Apostles and Old Testament scripture. Having an alive and genuine faith. They did not need to sign lists of points to prove that they were followers of the Way, they lived it instead.

    If we look at the history of the Creed, we see that the church had to have that because of the Gnostics that were infiltrating the church. I think that a better idea than memberships and classes is for people to be versed in what that Creed is and what it really does mean. To try and take it further, defining mans dogma is teetering on dangerous ground. A good example is the Seventh Day Adventist Church where you have to sign a total of 28 points of doctrine. Where does it begin and end. In my opinion with a basic confession of Faith in Christ. I think that if people can affirm the creed then that is enough. Otherwise we can become just like the SDA and others.
     
  13. Loren B

    Loren B
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    In our age of easy believism, it is a great idea to make certain that new converts are taught what the church is all about. My first church, after I was saved, had an extremely valuable class that took new believers through the main doctrines of the Bible. Without this kind of teaching, new converts are ripe targets for all kinds of cults.
     
  14. Trotter

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    All churches should have a new believers class (or at least an assigned mentor) and a new members class. Both should be requirements for membership.

    In Christ,
    Trotter
     
  15. superdave

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    Our church requires a Membership class, and requires 3 other classes before you can get involved in ministry.

    Our church highly encourages committed membership. Its not a bad thing. Obviously, reading the PDL book has little to do with whether a member is committed or profitible to the church.

    You have to love satire, I am too good at writing that stuff, so I stay away from it, I tend to get carried away. My 2nd Generation Christian cynisizm gets the better of me.
     
  16. Dr. Bob

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    90% of the First Century Christians were first die-hard Jews. They KNEW God's Word and godly living principles.

    The churches that had large non-Jewish elements (think, "Corinth") had lots of problems because the people did NOT have this background.

    Today, the bulk of our new converts come out of paganism, Catholicism or at least a post-modern humanism. Knowledge of God, the Word and godly living are almost negligible.

    They NEED our mentoring, discipleship. I like one-on-one for 2-3 sessions for personal living and holiness. And I like small groups (like a new member class) for sessions covering corporate or basic church living.
     
  17. PastorGreg

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    Ben, the fact that something is unscriptural does not make it anti-scriptural. True, there are no membership classes in the NT, but then again, there are no pews, pulpits, pianos, hymnals, Sunday school, morning services, or electricity. Do we do away with all of these?
     
  18. superdave

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    Paul's epistles were great advertisements for the need of true Biblical discipleship. Like small group Bible studies, accountability prayer partners, Membership classes, etc. Those things are all practical ways of following through on many of the teachings of the Bible on how to make people more like Christ.

    Many people who come into our church as new believers have literally no foundation in the Bible, or what it means to live their lives as a christian, and are overwhelmed and don't know where to start. The guidance of others to help them learn to study the scriptures, and to learn the philosophy and importance of the local church.
     

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