Jul 13, 2008

Consume or Be Consumed 2.0

It turns out that ample research would be a good thing before posting a blog.  Primary sources are probably better than secondary.  As I looked into this Willow Creek deal a little more today I decided to watch the videos featuring Bill Hybels and Greg Hawkins.  Their thoughts were not nearly as "180" as I had been lead to believe.  

Greg Hawkins is still using charts and marketing techniques to try to understand the kingdom of God.  He mentioned the word "Scripture" (the same mention I put in the quote yesterday) but didn't actually cite any Scripture in the 13 minutes I watched him try to explain how they would take their church to the "next level".

Bill Hybels had a very revealing interview about his thoughts on the buzz around what Willow Creek was actually saying with their research.  If you don't want to watch the whole thing I think I can sum it up in one question and answer:

Interviewer: Controversy and misinformation has been swirling all around this Reveal thing since last October, in fact there was a blog, from the Out of Ur blog (the blog I cited yesterday) that was titled "Willow Repents".  How'd you react to that?  Repent of what?

Hybels: Well, that's how I reacted to it.  (He laughs.)  I wondered, what horrible, immoral thing have I done?  (He laughs some more.)  I think it was a poor choice of words, actually, because we have made strategic adjustments on an annual (or) every other year to try to be more effective in building an Acts 2 church.  I don't think when you make a strategic adjustment it qualifies under the word "repent".  I think every evangelical knows that's kind of a loaded up term and I think someone wanted to get some action on a blog and I think it was very unfortunate and quite disingenuous to title the article that way.  But such as it is, I will be the first to say, we learn and grow at Willow.  We make no apologies for wanting to get better...

I don't think anyone is asking them to apologize for getting "better", do you?  And yeah, repentance is a huge term loaded with lots of connotations like admission and need and sin.  And yeah, you better believe I have a hell of a hard time doing it.  But if finding out that you, as a church, have not truly helped believers out of the milk drinking stage of their faith (and have held out your model as one that all churches should follow), is not reason for some serious repentance, then what is?  

That would be my question for Pastor Hybels: of what should one repent?

"Building an Acts 2 church," he says.  It's interesting in Acts 2 that the first thing Peter tells the church to practically, relevantly, immediately do (because that's all that matters right?) is to "repent."  Repent and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins...  

"Do"ing church.  That's the buzz word.  The phrase we use for building the kingdom.  "How we do church," you hear it all the time.  The disciples of Christ in Acts 2 don't really "do" church.  They live church.  They devote themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.  They sold all their crap and shared everything they had left.  They met in each others' homes.  Maybe the point is to stop "doing" church and start building the kingdom.  

Living the kingdom.

But first we, I, must repent.

1 comment:

Ken said...


As you say, I also need to do some further research on this, but like you I have been involved in ministry in a Willow-model church. I've also attended several of the Association seminars on how to do what they do.

One of primary great failures of the contemporary church is the failure to understand its mission: make disciples. That means baptism in the name of the three persons of the Trinity, and teaching them to follow all Jesus commanded. All too often, as the research on Willow Creek seems to show, we, like they, have stopped at the baptism part (if we ever even got to that point) and not done the rest.

The church needs to repent of its failure here just as much as any individual member of it. Fundamentally, to repent means to turn away from something, and we need to turn away from our current practice and toward the real mission given us by our Savior.

We need to be about making disciples...starting with ourselves. But that's another subject for another blog entry.