New Impact Community “feel good”Rick Warren church in Rock Hill

Pastor Mike Lowery of West End Baptist Church in Rock Hill resigns and starts a “New Rick Warren church”in Rock Hill.When Lowery came to West End thirteen years ago their membership was 700.Mike,a “church growth”specialist ,saw the total membership swell to 2,171,Sunday school enr.2,474,Average Sunday School,421.Discipleship training 2,869.Facts taken from S.C.B.C.2007 Annual.

At this time no one can explain how you could have 2,474 enrolled in SS and average only 421 in attendance.I am of the opinion that they just do not count accurately on Sunday mornings. 

The new”Impact Community church” will attempt to have “Home Sunday School.” Dad and Mom will lead the kids in this class using Rick Warren’s material called,”Families on their journey.”After Home Sunday School,mom,dad and the kids will put on their most comfortable,trashy clothes and head out on their “journey”to Impact church.Following a Rock and roll worship time,Pastor Mike,dressed in his flea market clothes will bring a Rick Warren sermon that will meet the felt needs of everyone.

Mike Lowery was quoted in the Herald Journal,He said,”There are all kinds of ways to have church,and none of them or right or wrong.But this contemporary church is geared more toward the unchurched.”

For those who may not know what Mike means by the “unchurched” let me say that for 2,000 years they were called unsaved,lost and condemned.In my humble opinion,when you start church with “lost”people,that is a wrong way to have church.It is plain to me that in the early church people were saved and then baptized before they became church members.When we in the name of “pragmatism dumb down the gospel message and make sinners comfortable on their journey to hell we have made the wrong “Impact ” in the community.It is hard to improve on the Acts.2:37-47 pattern.

Questions:

How many West End members will leave and follow Pastor Mike?

Will the South Carolina Baptist State Convention give financial aid to Impact Church?

Wll the N.A.M.B. give support to Impact church?

I am sure that Impact church will impact the Rock Hill community.But there are all “kinds”of impact.Some are wrong and some are Biblical.

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43 Comments on “New Impact Community “feel good”Rick Warren church in Rock Hill”

  1. journeyman Says:

    hottub,

    can’t you see that the methods of yesteryears are not working. the culture is changing! therefore, we need to change our methods to connect the culture. but let me be clear that though the methods change, the message never changes!

    journeyman


  2. Journeyman,
    ——————————————————————————–
    »The First Mega Church Split:Jesus runs off 12,000.Only 12 Remain.Why?
    After Jesus fed 5,000 men including women and children(approx.12<000)they tried to make Him king.John6:15.He departed again into a mountain himself alone.Later that day when Jesus crossed over to Capernaum,the crowds also passed over to Caperanaum,seeking Jesus..desiring to be fed again.They wanted to be “fed and fixed.”They desired to see another great miracle.

    Then Jesus knowing that his sermon would “offend”them preached a sermon on eating bread and drinking blood.vv.53_58.No other message would have “offended”a Jew like this one.The thought of them drinking blood was repulsive and went against everything they believed.Jesus did not preach a “felt”needs “seeker sensitive”sermon.

    Their response to His sermon was……we are gone,vv.53-56.He intentionally ,on purpose,ran off 12 thousand people,Jesus asked his Disciples,will you also leave?They answered,”Lord.we are not going anywhwere.You have the words of life that can take death out of us and impart life to us.John.6:67-69.

    Why did Jesus run off 12 thousand seekers and felt needers?

    This is the reason they were following Him,6:2.Because they saw His miracles.In v.26,Jesus said,”You seek me,not because you saw the miracles,but because YOU DID EAT OF THE LOAVES AND WERE FILLED.Twelve thousand were following Him because they wanted to be FIXED—not because they wanted to be SAVED.

    Our Lord would ran off 12 thousand because He refused to build His church around people who wanted to be fixed.He would build His church around people that wanted to be saved.

    That is a huge distinction that we better grasp.We have become so desperate for numbers that we are going after people that are trying to be fixed.We are not trying to find people that really want to be saved.

    If our Lord chose not to build a ministry around fixing people-how dare we do differently?

    Today when you ask someone,”Why did you come to the Lord?Many say,Because my marriage was in trouble and I needed it fixed.

    Jesus does not fix marriages…….He fixes people in the marriage.And the way He fixes them is they come through His blood,they put their faith in Him.He cleans them up,He implants His Holy Spirit in them.The Holy Spirit drives them into the Word from which the Holy Spirit does two things:He gives them the wisdom to understand the Biblical principles for marriage.

    He gives them the power to bring these principles in the marriage and the by-product is a changed home.He doesn’t change homes,He changes people.

    What a sermon he preached.Jesus was not a “felt”needs preacher.He was a “real”needs preacher,and so must we be also.Jesus came to save us,not to fix us.

  3. pastorinthewoods Says:

    Your bloody Gospel that talks about how we messed up and How God fixed our problem through Jesus in such a repulsive way is not PC enough to Rock and Roll with the “fun in the Son” crowd.

    “The Methods need to be changed” I have heard this since I began college in 1990. The sad truth is we are changing them and we are still declining. Could it be that the methods of preaching and worship design that is focused on “felt needs” and “contemperary issues” have failed us.?

    Could it be that the methods of appealing to “unchurched” rather than “preaching to sinners” produces people who think they can clean up a little and come to church once a week and be alright with God.

    HOW MANY MORE YEARS DO WE HAVE TO BEAT THE DRUM OF “FELT NEEDS” PREACHING AND SHALLOW WORSHIP BEFORE WE HOLD IT TO AS MUCH SCRUTINY AS WE DO TRADITIONAL WORSHIP MODELS? It seems our denominational leaders celebrate and accept anything coming out of the “new tradition” and criticize everything that has historically kept the church alive through the years. IE- doctrinal worship and biblical expository preaching. I am not opposed to the new tradition when there is doctrinal worship and expository preaching that focuses on what the Bible actually says not what we feel like we want it to say.

    This is my rant,

    I am Dwight Easler and I approve this message


  4. pastorinthewoods,
    Why don’t you tell us what you really believe?


  5. Journeyman,
    We are not called to connect with the culture..we are called to confront the culture with the gospel.
    Let me be clear,the message of the Purpose driven church has indeed changed and continues to dumb down the gospel until it has now become..another Jesus,another gospel and another Spirit.
    bp

  6. pastorinthewoods Says:

    I wonder if NAMB or the SCBC would support a new church start that had the following vision:

    1. Our vision is to glorify God through being missionaries to the lost and building up the visible local church to be what God intended it to be. We will do this through regular corporate worship as a local church, determined discipleship, and investing our lives in local and international missions.

    2. Our preaching will be expositional and our worship style and educational program will include blends of old and new traditions in order to develop unity and cooperation among all ages of believers. If possible we will not hold 2 services but will demand that the church always be together in worship.

    3. We will approach worship as formost an activity for the Christian but we will confront and call the lost to salvation recognizing that the lost will be present at all times.

    4. Our outreach efforts will be balanced to reach our growing populations of all ages. Our staffing will be appropriate to current needs not future potential.

    5. We will hold members accountable and encourage family worship. We will encourage the father to be the spiritual leader in the home.

    6. We will promote Christian education as a local church agenda and demand that all small groups be held accountable for doctrine and content through a church curriculum.

    The answer would probably be… Don’t count on it. Its just not weird enough to work.


  7. pastorinthewoods,
    I would like to know what journeyman thinks about that.
    Journeyman,”call home.”

  8. Tom Tucker Says:

    Bill,
    I love Mike but this saddens me. When will the bleeding stop with new church starts! God help us!
    Tom Tucker

  9. journeyman Says:

    hottube, pastorwoods, and tom:

    you should be the ones crying! your phariseeical fundamentalism is dying and the contemporary churches like journey will replace your glorified mausoleums. we will be drinking our lattes in our comfortable clothes and worshiping while you are in your boogy-man beater suits and neckties telling everyone they are going to hell because they don’t do church like you.

    people don’t need to be told that they are going to hell. everyone has a need; it is up to us to find their needs to minister to them.

    style of worship is neither right or wrong; it is who it is done for that matters. we should reach out to the unchurched rather than condemn them; they need hope, not castigation.

    journeyman

  10. pastorinthewoods Says:

    The journyman’s true colors are exposed!

    J-man your prejudice against well dressed people is obvious. I am not sophisticated enough to drink your high priced drinks I guess. As a 36 year old pastor I chafe at the thoughts that I have to fit into any of your “new traditions” to be acceptable. My church has never made an issue when I wear a tie or not. Apparently you are more judgmental than my congregation of mixed generations.

    We sang hymns Sunday and then I played a video from casting crowns before I preached called ” The Slow Fade.” See the difference between me and you is very simple. I refuse to allow myself to be defined by the new success and methodology. The church is made up of all ages and traditions and I genuinely have no issues with style or tradition. Every time I allow the Bible to speak I am meeting needs and every time I call people to salvation I am meeting their greatest need.

    My issue with you is your theology. To say that “Hell” is no longer a subject to be preached smacks of Osteen and ignores the GREATEST NEED OF MAN. This sort of theological blindness and shallowness is what we are scrutinizing, not style.

    Theological point: Paul spent 3 chapters proving the world’s sin (Romans 1-3) before he talked about the hope in Christ. If the apostle did that , how much time should I spend talking about sin and the need for a Savior?

    Thanks for getting angry enough to let us see what is behind your “style and tradition” issues.

  11. Quinn Hooks Says:

    Journeyman,
    On the matter of preaching about Hell, I will quote John Wesley on this matter. When asked by a young pastor how to preach, Wesley is reported to have said to preach the law 90% of the time then preach grace the remaining 10%.

    Unless people know that they are sick, they will not seek the cure. John the Baptist was not preaching to people’s felt needs when he said, “Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand.” This is the same message Jesus preached when He began His public ministry.

    What I do not understand is how you can sip a latte in comfortable surroundings while people are dying and going to Hell.

  12. Joe V. Says:

    “And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” (1Corinthians 2:1-5)

    I rarely, if ever, hear this message preached in principle either from the suited evangelicals of the SBCV in traditional surroundings, or in the Purpose Driven casually dressed mondernists’ entertainment houses. I agree that “church” is not a matter of style of surroundings or dress. But either way, the gospel is the only message of power that can change lives. And Jesus is the one who holds that power. He is the head of the church. His method is the only correct method, and it is without style.

  13. Tant Ehrhardt Says:

    Journeyman, you are so right. We do need to change our “methods”. Here are just a few methods I believe we should change: Pastors need to begin presenting the Gospel as Jesus did, no changes, no alterations, just the Gospel. Pastors need to begin leading their churches to pray. Pastors need to begin spending at least the same amount of time studying God’s Word and praying for their churches as they do on golf courses. Pastors need to begin reading these new church growth books with a more critical eye and asking “Can this suggetion be supported by Scripture?” (always in context). Now, some “methods” church members can change. They need to support their pastors with their prayers, efforts, encouragement. Church members need to start leaving the dollar bills in their wallets and give the $20’s a chance to see what an offering plate looks like. Church members need to start changing their outlook on attendance and participation in church from optional to imperative.
    Journeyman, could you spell it out for us slow folk, what it is you preach to the Lost if it is not the Gospel that they have offended a holy God, and they need a Savior to save them from the eternal wrath of God? Hep me! t

  14. Whatif? Says:

    If you dare, put aside all your preconceived notions and give “Pagan Christianity” by Frank Viola and George Barna a read. As you do, don’t be afraid to challenge what you read, but be sure to use Scripture, and not traditions formed by men as the standard.
    What if the real problem is not what preaching style we are using, what the music sounds like, or what we are wearing to Sunday services? It’s really not a question of what church model we are using, but rather, whose church model are we using. Are we really being the New Testament Church?

    http://www.paganchristianity.org/

  15. WestEnder Says:

    Here is what no one is talking about, is those of us left to pick up the pieces at West End, the mess that we were left in, and make no mistake, it was an intentional mess, this was a plot and “split” of the worse kind. And if the other area Pastors dont take a stand on behalf of West End the signal to us will be clear. WE need you, we are hurting, pray for us. I wish nothing bad for the leadership of Impact, but what they have done is wrong, they know what they have done.


  16. […] in to start a Rick Warren church in Rock Hill. Here is the West End Baptist Member’s request: Here is what no one is talking about, is those of us left to pick up the pieces at West End, the mes… Explore posts in the same categories: Church Covenant., First mega church, Impact community […]

  17. FormerWestEnder Says:

    I used to be a member of West End and my heart breaks for this church. The church is full of some wonderful, Godly people, but it was run into the ground by Mike. I suspect Mike left to answer this call to start a new church only after the writing on the wall was crystal clear. His authoritative leadership style, his pride, and his desire to be a big church over a good church led to the people leaving in droves in the past 3 years. I hope West End can recover and I will certainly pray for them. As for Mike’s new church, anyone who knows him has to laugh at the idea of him leading a casual, contemporary church to reach the unchurched. It is hard to identify with a person who wears $1000 suits to Winthrop basketball games on Tuesdays, but dresses down in jeans and a turtleneck on Sunday. It just isn’t him and he needs to be who he is. Just be yourself and stop trying to be something you are not.


  18. Former West Ender,
    Concerning “It just isn’t him and he needs to be who he is.”A wise old African American lady said to a young preacher,”Be who you is because if you is you ain’t..you ain’t who you is.”

  19. FormerWestEnder Says:

    Hottubreligion,

    To quote a John Prine song…”You are what you are and you ain’t what you ain’t.” And there is nothing wrong with that.

  20. Getoverit! Says:

    This is nothing but a bunch of gossip and everyone needs to start acting like the Christians and stop talking about this and just get over it. Things happen for a reason and this is in God’s will.

  21. Getoverit! Says:

    This is nothing but a bunch of gossip, everyone needs to start acting like Christians and stop talking about this and just get over it. Things happen for a reason and this is in God’s will and this in his perfect timing. No one can start the healing process until we forgive and forget.


  22. To all you so called christians out there who are bashing on Mike Lowery, this message is for you! If you think you could ever be the man he is i would love to see you try. Hello!!! The service is conteporary and if you think sitting in old wooden pews and singing hyms is going to get this generation to come together over God you are very wrong and very out of date. This man is putting everything he knows out there to get this generation to understand what being a christian is all about so and if all them stuck up old farts that still got to west end want to keep acting like non-christians then go ahead all you do is give the reall christians somthing to look down upon all i can say is turn before you burn and by that i mean stop acting like children and be a real christian if you can handle it…so….if you still think you know what your talking about go ahead and post another blog and i will prove you wrong yet again!! =]


  23. dancing queen,
    It is not conteporary…it is c-o-n-t-e-m-p-o-r-a-r-y.
    It is not hyms…it is h-y-m-n-s.
    It is not reall….it is r-e-a-l.
    It is not somthing…it is s-o-m-e-t-h-i-n-g.

  24. Saddened Says:

    All of this talk deeply saddens me. I’ve been to both the West End contemporary service as well as the Impact service. I go to church to learn about God and the bible. Additionally, my children have never been so excited to get to church and we have gone more in the past year than ever. Thankfully, I listen to Mike Lowery and his delivery of the word of God and not the buzz of all the gossip that inevitably happens in every walk of life. I do agree with the message of the original thread – Please pray but pray for all.

  25. WestEnder Says:

    Many of the post I read are so defensive of the MAN, it shows me people are following the MAN, and we are not to follow a MAN, but we are to follow GOD. As for the old farts sitting on old wooden pews, clearly you are misinformed, The Connection is a very contemporary style service, if you have never been there I would sugest you try it out, not one wooden pew in the place! I’m not argueing the need for that style service, that is why West End has the place in the first place. I have no doubt many great things can happen through the ministy efforts of Impact Church, its not its existence that is the issue, it the damage that was done to West End in the process, there is nothing glorifying to God about that. When you have to split a church to create a church how is that a good thing? How is robbing the body of one to uild you own a good thing for God? I don’t believe God said to Mike “take over 100 members of West End away, go across the street and start another church” do you? really?

  26. Getoverit! Says:

    I am not defending Mike or anything that has happened. I am simply saying stop dwelling on this and get over it. I still go to West End and our numbers are about the same as they were before if not a little better and our offering is up. Yes our church is hurting and need help and prayer but, you must have faith in God to get us through this. All I am trying to say is that this is over and done with. Mike is gone and he is not coming back. You can choose to pray for the Impact Church and hope that tons of people will come to know Christ thorough this church or you can choose to harbor this bitterness in your heart and never get over it. I love West End and we are all putting our faith in God and growing closer as a Body of Christ and it is wonderful. This has just made the remaining members of West End Stronger as a family. I also have friends that have started going to church at the Impact Church and if they accept Christ at that church then that is the best thing that could happen for them and their families and I will get to spend eternity with them walking the golden streets.

    Let the healing start and just start praying for EVERYONE!!


  27. Wow, reading the above comments leaves me shocked !! I attended West End Baptist for 12 years before I moved to Fort Mill. As far as comtemporty churches, that is the direction most are moving in and change is always going to happen.
    I have witnessed this type of split and gossip in Baptist churches many times in my life, it happens when someone opens the door and invites the devil in. I thought Mike did a great job at West End, if I had not moved I would have continued to attend West End, as far as a new church, I am sure he did not make this decision without support from some of the members. Do you think he rounded them up with force and made them leave West End and support his new church?? My suggestion is to embrace and pray the new church will grow and new people will be saved. West End will continue to grow and do fine. This is just a bump in the road. From all the comments I have read, it appears people are bitter about Mike leaving and taking some of the church members. Bitterness will poison your heart For all that are left at West End, continue to support, attend, and grow at West End. Wish Brother Mike good luck, comments about the cost of his suits, playing golf, etc. It sounds jealous and envious. I will agree that something has happened and all this trying to make people feel good in church is not going to save souls. It will bump up attendance, just not sure for the right reasons. I heard a sermon at Stough Baptist when I lived in Pineville back in the early 90’s and the pastor made the comment that it was not his job to make people feel good or stay away from preachin on topics that would make people feel ” uncomfortable”, I agree. Hearing a sermon that does not challenge you to examine your life , reconize your sins, want to make changes is probably not getting the job done.

  28. Dale Zillius Says:

    Dear Hottub,

    I have been reading your site since I found it and most of it has been interesting and there is not much for me to add to most subjects but this one has caught my attention and if it was not such a sad & pitiful occurance it would almost be humous. Totally as an outsider to your area that this is happening in I must say that as I travel about the country I must ask “Why do you in that area have to start up a new church when there is one on about every street corner and intersection”? What is it that I don’t understand? Or maybe I missing the point that more churches mean more Christians. I don’t think so. Most churches that I have been associated with were more a social club that a place to worship GOD. I have met and know many pastors of many demonations and most have earned my respect with there adherence to the gospel but a few needed to be shot and these new church starter usally head the list. If someone wishes to start a new church go up north or out west. These area have a great need for GOD fearing and Spirit lead churches. It would be nice of pastor would have the nerve to state what is wrong such as abortion is murder and is a sin and no true Christian would vote for a political canidate that supports it. Now days you want to have that touchy-touchy feeling and let all hold hand at the end of the service and sing some song that had nothing to do with the message. I know that this is not any of my business but it just show how silly churches have gotten these days when we as a country need GOD’s words preached to us. I pray that all those who were hurt in this mercy and love and the ex-minster understand that even minsters will stand in judgement. In closing if any of you down there wish to start a new church and will name it Zillius Memorial I will donate a hundred buck for a picture of me for the waiting area at the back or front, I get confused. Please tell the people at West End that time and prayer will heal a lot of hurt.


  29. well hottubreligion all you can say after all that is that my spelling is off?!?! wow i must have proved you so wrong that you didnt know what to say!!! ha ha =] i win!!


  30. Queen,
    I am at a loss for words.I am changing my web sight to “Bubble bath.”

  31. janice Says:

    I am pretty sure that Jesus would have never bloged about such hate. Calling people out for spelling errors, is mean, it does not suport your theory’s or your blog lines. I for one would not attend a church or a function where people were so hatefull as to call out another pastor. What happened to those of you with out sin cast the first stone? Judge not least ye be judged? Or are there only certain verses that apply to preachers? Since I never did any theological study such as the author, and I am glad I have not if all it breads is hate, I am confused as to what your purpose is for “calling out and judging” this church? Are you the ruler and defender of the gates of heaven?
    I have yet to see real comments on here seems you pick and chose which ones you can respond to. I hope when you meet your maker you will be pleasing in the site of God. Isn’t that what truely matters? Isn’t your judgement before God what you really should focus on? People followed Jesus, he had love for all men.

  32. FormerWestEnder Says:

    Hottubreligion,

    You wrote, “For those who may not know what Mike means by the “unchurched” let me say that for 2,000 years they were called unsaved,lost and condemned.In my humble opinion,when you start church with “lost”people,that is a wrong way to have church.It is plain to me that in the early church people were saved and then baptized before they became church members.When we in the name of “pragmatism dumb down the gospel message and make sinners comfortable on their journey to hell we have made the wrong “Impact ” in the community.It is hard to improve on the Acts.2:37-47 pattern.”

    I just wanted to weigh in on this because I think you are lumping a lot of churches into one category. All churches should attempt to reach the unchurched. Isn’t that what the Great Commission is all about? I have no idea how Mike is going to attempt to organize his church, but I doubt he will start his church with “lost” people because they don’t want to come to church in the first place. That’s the point of such churches, to try to reach them. If it means having ultra contemporary music and worship, casual dress, meeting in unconventional times and places, we should do it. Let’s face, most “lost” people didn’t grow up in church and they have a poor opinion of church, often for good reason. They are put off by pipe organs, three piece suits, screaming preachers, and 5 stanzas of “Just as I Am” at the end of the service. Creating an environment where the lost feel more comfortable so that we can share the gospel with them is a good thing and I don’t understand why so many people are so against it. Well, I do understand it. People hate change and a lot of people go to church out of habit and changing up how church is done upsets their little worlds. At any rate, I heard somewhere the seven words most commonly heard in a dying church are “we have never done it that way.”

    Casual, contemporary churches can be great. I haven’t witnessed any dumbing down of the gospel. I have been to a lot of churches in Rock Hill and other places, and some of the most Biblically sound messages I have heard have come from pastors dressed in blue jeans in between rock and roll style worship songs. If some dance around certain topics, shame on them, but I’ve seen that in big, traditional churches too.

    I don’t disagree with what Mike is doing in practice. I just don’t understand the motive behind it. It just seems like he is better suited for traditional church. Those that know him understand what I mean. I shouldn’t have said some of the things I said before or at leas, I should have said it differently, so I must apologize.


  33. Janice,
    It is not suport…it is support.
    Love,
    Bll

  34. Philly Says:

    It’s amazing that all of this started with a prayer request. This has nothing to do with the “style” of worship. West End / The Connection offers both a “blended” and “contemporary” style of service. All that needs to be said is “Yes, brother/sister in Christ, we will lift you and the churches involed up in prayer. We will pray that God’s will be done. Nothing more, nothing less, nothing else but God’s will. We ask that God be glorified through this hard process.”

    The fact is, God is in control. None of this took God by surprise. West End is already in the process of trying to recover financially and we will heal. God knows the heart of every man; and, if wrong intent was a part of ML leaving, God knows it. If ill intent was meant, we pray that God will work in those folks heart and will be merciful to them (exactly what we ALL need). Please, just pray for us. (A West End member) (Rev. 2:5)

  35. Greg Says:

    Dear Journeyman:
    Not agreeing with Seeker Sensitive is far from pharasaical or even traditional. For one you are comparing apples and oranges. 2d, if you read up on this blog and Pastor in the Woods, you would see something very far from pharasism. Believe me, many PDC and Seeker Sensitive folks are very legalistic. They are very much into the how but not the why.
    Most folks are Seeker Sensitive, it just depends on what demographic they go after. I think what you would see in Bill and Dwight’s ideal would be substance over style, because they know that worship services aren’t evangelism, they are worship to God. This could be a praise band or a pipe organ (I have used both in the same service), but it had better include the elements of NT worship and spirit of called out people.
    Believe me, if you really study history and The Bible, you will soon realize that people do not change, times don’t change. TV and the internet haven’t changed that. Most importantly, God hasn’t changed what he demands of us.
    In Christ Alone,
    Greg

  36. Quinn Hooks Says:

    I have been to a worship service that used bag pipes. 🙂


  37. […] A member of West End Baptist Church in Rock Hill,S.C. requests prayer for the mess that Journey-driven, Rick Warren clone, Mike Lowery left the church in to start a Rick Warren church in Rock Hill. Here is the West End Baptist Member’s request: Here is what no one is talking about, is those of us left to pick up the pieces at West End, the mes… […]

  38. Greg Bailey Says:

    Hey Quinn:
    Me too. Love pipes…why won’t the rest of the American church see it isn’t really worship without drum, Irish whistle and BAGPIPES!!!:)

  39. BigB Says:

    Blogging is such a good thing, looks like everyone got their thoughts out on here. I attend the Connection and love the people and ministry. God is doing and will do great things at WestEnd Baptist. Many folks are coming back to WestEnd that had left, God is blessing us financially as well. Maybe we can all move on now.

  40. Babs Says:

    Wow, I just wanted to make sure I had Pastor Mike’s correct address to send him something from our church, and stumbled into this. I’ve been on staff at a large, multicultural church in Miami for close to 20 years and have been through so many changes. We have 5 locations throughout Miami now. Although we did investigate and put some of the Purpose Driven methods in place several years ago to make sure that our guests a very warm welcome, we found it was so crucial to adopt our own strategy for outreach. We have over 73 nationalities, and with a highly Catholic population, we have to do find more creative ways of getting people into the church, and ultimately into God’s Kingdom. (After all, that IS the goal, isn’t it?) Catholics and most people from other denominational backgrounds don’t typically seek out a Southern Baptist church, as you all know. One of our outreach methods is “Invest and Invite,” where we invest in the lives of those around us, and invite them to church to hear the message of Christ. Now, some of our methods may be a bit unconventional at times, but it works for us because our pastor has a passion for lost people (he was saved when 2 faithful men showed up at his door and gave him the plan of salvation). He preaches the Word, and tells people week after week that if they don’t have a relationship with Christ, they WILL go to hell. Period, the end. No watering down. Guess what. They keep coming back. I know that’s the key and what keeps us on track. To be sure, there’s a definite trend of preaching “feel good” sermons that make sure everybody gets a good pep talk each week. At our services, whatever bells and whistles are pulled out to bring them in, are put aside for the message, and the message is delivered with a crystal-clear, authoritive, straight-from-the Bible delivery. Visuals are used a lot in our services, but if a visual illustration is determined to be too distracting, and overshadows the message, it’s shelved. We are told in no uncertain words what our God expects of each of us, unsaved and believers, while also being taught of the incredible love he has for us. I’ve learned more about the magnificience and greatness of God in the last few years than I have in all my many years growing up in church.

    Getting back to outreach, we do “Reach Beyonds” and our ministerial staff has been able to get our people out of our seats, out of our comfort zones, and put us out into the community, serving. And serving people who are not easy to serve sometimes. Like giving out free cold water bottles (many times) at intersections and at downtown Miami and other area events; free computer, writing, English and math classes to migrant workers in the south farming area of the county; Christmas gift-wrapping at an area mall (all expenses paid by us – we don’t take any money, but we have our invite cards there and information about our Christmas services); serving dinner to firemen at a local fire station and having a luncheon for the teachers at a local public school; feeding around 300 homeless people, washing their dirty clothes and exchanging them for clean clothes and shoes, and then providing a worship service for them every week; launching a mid-week worship service for people working in Downtown Miami, providing them with free lunch for first-time guests and a small charge thereafter. We had 150 in attendance our very first service and it’s grown from that.

    These are just a few off the top of my head. There are many, since it’s ongoing, all year round, as our Small Groups are required to do a “reach beyond” at least once a quarter. They are always coming up with creative ideas for their group. And I can hear the gritting of teeth at the mere mention of “Small Groups” but they are exactly that. We have many classes meeting on Sunday, in fact we are bursting at the seams, but our Small Groups meet every night of the week at different homes and locations, thus, they are not called “Sunday School.” Except for our oldest members’ class, and we’re not going to mess with that!

    Many, many people have landed at our church because of this outreach strategy. We Invest in people’s lives and Invite them to church to hear the gospel, and it’s worked very well for us. We’ve had an explosion in our attendance and commitment in the last few years.

    My intention is not to blow our own horn. God forbid that we do that, and he will not bless us if we do. My point is, that we as a church, have been in the situation that we have sometimes come under critisism as not “doing the right thing” by some other churches. We’ve been told, “It’s not about the numbers.” My reply is, it IS about the numbers WHEN those numbers represent another soul snatched from the devil’s hold. We definitely want to be aware and warn of false teachers among us, but not to the extent that we forget our purpose and turn our energy into all-consuming bitterness. I’ve been smack in the middle of church splits before, so I fully understand how hurtful and joy and energy sapping they can be. Only when, by the grace of God, I was able to turn loose of that bitterness, could I move on and concentrate on the person God wanted me to be.

    I hope and pray that Pastor Lowery and his church are hammering their people with the gospel message. But, God’s plans are so much bigger than we are, and one man will not make or break a church. If that’s possible, the church is doomed anyway, because God isn’t the focus. I hope that West End can heal and move on to wonderful things, and that Pastor’s Mike’s church will reach a totally different breed of new Christians, as unconventional as they might be. Be careful not to rejoice in every perceived failure, as it may not be a failure at all. We stumbled, and still do sometimes because we’re mere mortals, but we keep pressing on and finding more ways to reach a very lost city for God. In the end, we all reap the blessings, and we’ll see them all in Heaven. 🙂

  41. Titi Says:

    I am a member of Impact Community Church now, I attended West End for about 7 years. Contrary to what I have been reading on this blog, at Impact Community Church we love God, Love People and Serve people. This is not one of those catchy phrases, we believe in it and we live it. We have no bitterness towards WEBC members they are our brothers and sisters in Christ. We have prayed together, dined together and spent time together, so nothing should separate us. I was in a members meeting at WEBC when some people said they didn’t want Pastor Lowery’s leadership. He left for the sake of peace, and I am surprised that some people are still bitter that he left WEBC.
    If you think some of us that decided to go to Impact Church are just following Pastor Lowery not GOD, then you are ABSOLUTELY WRONG. In the Bible RUTH followed Naomi to serve Naomi’s living God leaving her family “idols.” I went to Impact Church because I saw ML passion for God and the “unchurched”. He has never say anything bad about WEBC or it’s membership, instead he asked that we should always pray for all churches including WEBC.
    As a good christian, all we need to do is pray and we shall see the miracles of God in providing for both churches and their ministries. Rock Hill can still take one more church. Mike Lowery is just trying to fulfill the GREAT COMMISSION. It is this division in our churches that cause people to turn away from our churches thereby depriving them of the LOVE of GOD and ability to know whom Jesus Christ really is and what he stands for(He is LOVE & Savior of the WORLD). Jesus in not about division rather he came to save, Jesus came for the poor, the needy, prostitutes, the Samaritans and the slaves. He was also about change, he changed the old religious way to a more loving relational way of seeing and serving God. Stop all these nonsense and self righteousness and politics. We should avoid anything that we deprive people from seeing the beautiful Glory of GOD in both churches. There are lots of God fearing and serving people in WEBC and Impact Community Church. We can not deceive GOD, and ONLY His will, will be done in ROCK HILL, SC.

    • girly Says:

      What Mike did to West End was wrong.Period. Get over your arrogance and admit it. Then there can be true peace.


  42. Titi,
    For the next 40 days,I plan to say,
    “I love Impact Community(Rick Warren)Church.”
    bp


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