Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Willow Creek Moves from Programs to Practices

Something has happened at Willow Creek Community Church that will shake the Church world. Willow Creek has discovered after 3 years of research that programs do not develop fully devoted disciples of Jesus Christ.

Please Note -- I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP!!

Here is what they say:

…increasing levels of participation in these sets of activities [church programs] does NOT predict whether someone’s becoming more of a disciple of Christ.
It does NOT predict whether they love God more or they love people more.

Chuck Warnock at Confessions of a Small Church Pastor writes:

Here’s the backstory: Greg Hawkins, exec pastor at Willow Creek, surveyed Willow Creek members to determine the effectiveness of WC’s programs — small groups, worship, service groups, etc. Participants had four choices to describe their spiritual lives:

Exploring — not yet Christians, but interested.
Growing — new Christians and growing in faith.
Close to Christ.
Centered in Christ.

The survey results produced what Bill Hybels calls “the wake up call of my adult life” –
Survey Says: After a person left Stages 1 & 2, church programs did not help them love God or love people more. And, to make matters worse, people in Stages 3 & 4 said they wanted to “be fed.” Some even left Willow Creek altogether.

Conclusion: Church programs are helpful initially for new and growing Christians, but as people mature in their faith church programs are inadequate and ineffective. (Watch the videos and look at Willow Creek’s new REVEAL website for their next move.)

Watch the entire 13-minute segment with Greg Hawkins here, and Bill Hybels comments here.]

You have got to watch these videos.

BTW -- the key thing Willow Creek is implementing is personal spiritual plans that help each person identify a set of practices that move them forward in their spiritual lives. Hmm...



Matt Purmort said...

Oh common Peter, you know you really wanted to label this post "You See I Told You!!" or "Just to prove your pastor has not lost his mind." :)

Peter said...

Shh...don't give away my secret ;)

Brandon F said...

If what you mentioned about the 4 Practices at St. Pat's was put into a book and then sold in most of the Christian media outlets, think of the royalties that would flow...

Just kidding. =P

Am wishing that the local church I serve in would also realize this instead of keeping on with adding new programs to an already bloated programs list.

+ Pax

Bryan said...

Ha! Brandon, that made me laugh out loud!


Peter said... my mind is racing! Thanks for the great idea Brandon! ;-)

Alice C. Linsley said...

What more mature Chrsitians need is meat in the sermon and in adult education. All Christians need worship that is rich in symbolism (so that the unconscious has somthing to work with), and repetition of Scripture (so it sinks into long term memory). What American Christians don't need is showmanship, speeches and concerts passed off as worship.