Beyond the Box
Tags: Church Growth Movement, Bill Easum,
Dave Travis, John Wimber, Charles Spurgeon, Soul Winner
so, many of the church growth models that continue to spread around the church do far more
harm than good. As the Church Growth crowd advances a host of new and
enlightening methodologies to encourage churches to grow through relating to
the culture, much of what the church has been identified with throughout the centuries has
been lost in the process. As a result, the proponents of growth encourage pastors to throw
out their long-held traditions in favor of promoting the latest of everything from the
society around them that is considered to be cutting edge or hip. Dresses and ties are
Bill Easum and Dave Travis book Beyond the Box explains the intent here. These Church Growth sponsors admonished the body of Christ not to stop at simply climbing out of the box of their traditional thinking. The call was to go much farther than that by promoting the utopian church as that which travels where no one has gone before. Dont just get out of your box. Go beyond the box, the church growth advocate cries.
As one pastor who had taken this book verbatim to apply it with fervor in the church he ministered to explained, We need to go for it! To him that meant turning the whole church upside down replacing all the of old with everything new. In these peoples eyes everything goes as long as the church grows.
In a certain Palm Sunday service the planning committee of a church that had come under the influence of new Beyond the Box church growth philosophies attempted to meld with society in an interesting manner. At the end of the service they had planned to have someone call out to our Lord, Hey Jesus, where is the party going to now. This trite statement made for the sake of relating to the culture not only cheapened the work of Christ who died the next Friday in history but also ushered out of a complete misunderstanding of worship. These people consistently depicted celebrative praise as being likened to a drunken brawl and the band was known to play secular party music during Sunday morning services. Accordingly the Sunday service that was elevated by the church staff as being the greatest of all was when the band played Cool and the Gangs Celebrate Good Times while the congregation partied and jived to the beat. We Are Family was the next on the list. In the act of dumbing down their church services for the sake of the masses they fell further down the slippery slope.
focus of much of our church activity today has been diverted to surface-level activities
for the sake of growth rather than the dependence on old time religion that focuses on
evangelism. Yet Charles Spurgeon in his book Soul
Winner prescribed church growth in a much different tone than we are currently
hearing. He was the pastor of the Metropolitan Tabernacle in
host of leaders in our modern Church Growth Movement see it another way. They seek to
attract people from a more superficial worldly perspective. In so doing, they find
themselves appealing to church hoppers who are only looking for the latest and greatest
place to attend. Take for example John Wimbers efforts to promote of church growth
through signs and wonders. In reality this model of power evangelism revolving
around doing the stuff appeared to be a methodology of building up the early
Vineyard denomination by feeding off established churches. As in the example of southern
This is more of a manipulative sheep-steeling strategy than anything else. It concentrates on the external while emphasizing marketing rather than the dynamics of evangelism and ministering to the body. Therefore few are actually saved in a feel-good church environment that is run more by carnality than reliance on the truth.
And so a group of pastors, who thought of nothing other than church growth spent every moment of their day in that pursuit. They read every self-help church growth book that came on the market, hired a Church Growth consultant and even came up with church growth theories of their own. During a particular meeting one attendee encouraged them to become involved with evangelism as prescribed in the Bible. The pastors responded with nothing but blank stares as these words ushered from the advisors mouth. They had never thought of that. Neither did they take the hint. They just continued on with the contrivances that they had learned from their mentors. And the church never grew.
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