Change!Change!Change!Unbelievers Determine The Church’s Message.

The church must change its methods(but not its message) is what  pastors constantly hear from our leaders in the SBC.Unless we change our churches will die on the vine.Apparently our denominational  leaders have been influenced by Donald McGavran,founder of the Fuller School of World Mission and Institute of Church Growth.He has been called,”The father of the Church Growth Movement.”

Bob DeWaay in his excellent book,”Redefining Christianity”writes,”One would be accurate calling McGavran the academic founder of the movement ad Robert Schuller the popular founder.Both men influenced Rick Warren.

One of McGavran’s key ideas is that people need to be reached as a group rather than as individuals.He came to this conclusion through sociological studies of people groups and what he called “people movements.”One term that came out o McGavran’s mission theology was “homogeneous unit.”the significance of this concept is that people are less resistant to attending church if hey can go as a group to a church where everyone else is like them.McGavran understood the Great Commission to mean that the church should “disciple nations”in the sense of “people groups” or “tribes” rather than individuals.   

This thinking is reflected in Rick Warren’s teaching of defining a target group for a particular church to reach.Having defined the target the church must devise a service that is relevant to the “felt needs”of that demographic profile.

Warren discusses his key idea about how to attract a crowd:”The answer is quite simple:Create a service that is intentionally designed for your members to bring their friends to.And make the service so attractive,appealing,and relevant to the unchurched that your members are eager to share it with the lost people they care about.(From the 40 days of purpose campaign promotion for September and October 2005).This means that the felt needs of a particular target group of the unregenerate determine what happens in the church.(page 14,Redefining Christianity).

DeWaay writes on page 17-18…Unbelievers Determine the church’s message:

The key idea is very simple:Change the sunday morning church service so that the non-christians will not only attend it,but enjoy it and keep coming back.Using a fishing analogy,Warren says,”Catching fish on their terms means letting your target determine your approach.The way to do this is to begin with the felt needs of the unchurched.


Warren reasons,”While most unbelievers aren’t looking for truth,they are looking for relief.Since,in our post-modern milieu,most people are most interested in what works for them(in terms of their own wants and priorities),making a church service designed to appeal to the general public means not making truth claims a prominent part of the message of the church.

Explore posts in the same categories: Church Covenant., Uncategorized

4 Comments on “Change!Change!Change!Unbelievers Determine The Church’s Message.”

  1. […] 19, 2008 · No Comments Bill Poore has an interesting post about danger which every pastor must be aware.  John MacArthur pointed out […]

  2. […] Links Dr. Bill Poore South Carolina On Fire Change!Change!Change!Unbelievers Determine The Church’s Message. « hottubreligion March 19, 2008, 2:42 pm Filed under: Dr. Bill Poore, Hottub blog, opinion Change!Change!Change!Unbelievers Determine The Church’s Message. « hottubreligion […]

  3. pastorinthewoods Says:

    I recieved a call from a telemarketer last week who asked me to consider buying a subscription of video illustrations for as little as $1.99 each. He said, “Pastor do you realize that “up and coming” pastors are paying as much as $1000 per video clip for sermon illustrations?” That statement was so ridiculous that I could not continue the conversation.

    Is this what our churches will look like after swallowing this philosophy? We will spend so much money on making our worship resemble the quality that comes across our TV screens that we have no more money to preach the Gospel to someone who meets under a tree on Sunday morning to worship.

  4. Rev. Says:

    – God has already determined the message and the methodology.
    – The worship service should be driven by God-centered worship, not evangelism.
    – The vast majority of evangelism should be carried out outside the church building.

    – I’m becoming more and more liturgical in my thinking the older I get. Our houses of worship should be places where “heaven meets earth,” so to speak – both in the architecture and in the way we conduct worship. What does the architecture / arrangement of a sanctuary communicate? What does the structure of the service communicate? TV screens, theater seating and plexi-glass pulpits communicate a message, as do religious symbols, pews and solid, wooden pulpits. What is communicated when the singing of non-theological choruses is left to the “praise band” (i.e., Saddleback / ‘The Purpose Driven Church’)? What is communicated when the congregation sings theological hymns? What is communicated when there are at least three readings of Scripture (OT, NT, Gospel) in a service, as opposed to one or no reading?

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