CRN had linked to a post at Extreme Theology on how to disciple people. The first requirement, according to Chris Rosebrough, is the following

A Tenacious Devotion to the Teaching of the Apostles (God’s Word Proclaimed in Song and Sermon) Under A Trained Pastor – 2 Tim 4:1-2, 2 Tim 2:2

So, this would mean that laymen cannot disciple people. Women cannot disciple people. And, only those who are pastors can lead people in worship music. A pretty interesting requirement for disciple-making. So, then I thought I would check out the scriptures he used to back this statement. They are as follows

1(A) I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus,(B) who is to judge the living and the dead, and by(C) his appearing and his kingdom: 2preach the word; be ready in season and out of season;(D) reprove, rebuke, and(E) exhort, with complete patience and teaching.

2and(A) what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses(B) entrust to faithful men(C) who will be able to teach others also.

Is there anything there that would suggest Trained Pastors are the only ones who can teach others the word of God, or lead in songs that proclaim God’s word? I couldn’t see anything. The only requirement was to have faithful men who would be able to teach others.

I spent the day with Leonard Sweet yesterday. He said that one of the greatest contributions that the reformation gave us was the priesthood of the believer. Unfortunately, many of those who often protect the solas, reformers and the reformation more tham the scriptures have forgotten this. That we are called to disciple one another. We are not called to have high and exalted holy men that do discipleship to us. WE are a royal priesthood, called to make disciples.

Also, I am tired of these watchdoggies only looking at some aspects of purpose-driven/seeker/emerging churches. You see, the traditional form of discipleship was to sit in a room, and have a man dump a bunch of information on you. We have seen over and over that this doesn’t work. I have tons of friends who can quote scripture, give you theology and speak the christian lingo, but would hardly be considered followers of Christ. Today, discipleship is done in relationship with people. It is done in conversations at Starbucks or walks in the parks. it is done in the informal small groups in homes, or after-work dinner meetings. It is not a program that can be scheduled… but is being done like it was in the New Testament. Discipleship really has little to do with how much you know about the scriptures (although they are incredibly key), but about the transformation that CHRIST is making in your life. Sometimes I think we replace the authentic work of Christ in people in relationship with us for well-educated bible studies and sermons. Not that the latter is bad, but we don’t believe the former can actually happen.

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63 Comments(+Add)

1   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
October 23rd, 2007 at 6:06 pm

Ultimately what has to be answered is why are watchdoggie approved churches failing? If they were producing seasoned disciples we’d expect to see something other than 4 person churches that will eventually fade away into oblivion.

2   Phil Miller    http://veritasfellowship.blogspot.com
October 23rd, 2007 at 9:35 pm

A quick way to prove that listening to a sermon is poor method is to ask the average Christian how many sermons they can remember. You’ll be lucky if there’s one. On the other hand if you asked them to name another Christian who impacted their life, they could probably name a few people pretty easily.

As far as I’m concerned the only requirements for discipleship is more mature Christian being willing to spend time with people and other Christians being open to learn from them.

3   Jimmy@RelevantChristian    http://www.relevantchristian.com
October 23rd, 2007 at 10:30 pm

Phil,

Well put!

Amen!

4   Nathanael    http://www.borrowedbreath.com/
October 24th, 2007 at 7:43 am

Amen, Nathan and Phil,
Great reminder.
Great post

Most of the people who have impacted my life the most have not been ordained men, but annointed Jesus-followers who devoted large chunks of time into my life.

I am trying to find a balance, however, of just being friends with co-workers and friends while showing the love of Christ and actually sitting them down and spelling out the gospel message. Rob Bell gave a great sermon a few months back entitled “We Already Are” where he answered the question, “When do I share Jesus with someone?” And he said we already are sharing Jesus just by how we live, how we interact, how we love (or how we don’t). He said our actions are sharing Jesus with those around us. The question is, what are we telling them about Jesus by our actions.

And I agree with that. But at some point, there must be a surrender to Him by the human soul, owning Him as Lord, as Savior, as Master, as Best Friend. There must be a converting from my own way to His Way. As I said, I’m struggling a bit with that balance.

Again, great post, brother.
Shalom

5   Rick Frueh    
October 24th, 2007 at 8:51 am

Nathanael – We must never allow a good life to substitute for sharing the gospel. Mormons are very kind and lead a moral life as do some other unbelievers, so that part of the Christian life can be imitated. Missionaries do not go overseas to lead a good and kind life, they go to preach the gospel and their lives substantiate their words.

No one can be save solely by admiring a person’s life no matter how kind. The Hindus were not saved because Mother Teresa was so sacrificially kind to them (and she was), but unless they believed on Christ and His finished work they died without redemption.

6   Nathanael    http://www.borrowedbreath.com/
October 24th, 2007 at 9:01 am

Good word, brother.
Thanks.

7   Phil Miller    http://veritasfellowship.blogspot.com
October 24th, 2007 at 9:23 am

Rick,
I understand what you are saying, but I think sometimes Christians have focused on the judicial model of atonement so much, that we have neglected some of the transformational and relational aspects of the Gospel. It has been my experience that the model of someone going up to an altar and making a decision has some merit, but in the long run it seems a lot of those decisions don’t “stick” in the long run. That in and of itself is an indictment of the Church’s insistance of making converts rather than disciples.

My wife works with a young woman who is from India, and she has had multiple conversation with her about Christianity. The one thing the Indian woman brought was that most of the Indians have little or no respect for Christian missionaries because of the perception that the aid they give is seen as sort of “blackmail” to get people to make a commitment to Christ. It always has strings attached. Of course someone who is desperately hungry or with some other physical need will say anything or agree to anything to get the aid they need.

I’m not saying we don’t need missionaries, but I think missions work really needs to be viewed as a long term commitment to a group of people and a culture.

Have you ever wondered why Jesus stayed in such a small geographic area when he was on earth? For the most part He poured His time into a relatively small group of people. They in turn, poured their lives into others.

8   nathan    http://www.nathanneighbour.com
October 24th, 2007 at 9:37 am

nathaniel,

That should ALWAYS come up in conversation (closing the deal, so to speak). However, the old school way of doing things is to allow the institution to convert people. Or better yet, people would convert people without doing the relational work.

All I am saying is that the new school (actually NT model) way of discipleship is to actually befriend people and allow them into your life. In that context, you begin the spiritual conversations. It’s not just handing someone the 4 spiritual laws or inviting them to your church. It’s you, them, life, and the hard questions in the context of relationship.

9   Rick Frueh    
October 24th, 2007 at 9:41 am

All he things you said need to be explained against the foundation of that “faith comes by hearing”. The shallow altar conversions only reveals the obvious flaws in that system, it does not diminish the supremacy of God’s Word mixed with faith in conversion.

Relationships are necessary, most ministry isn’t under a tent. But without sharing the gospel conversion is impossible. We should expect attitudes like your Indian friend, the gospel is sometimes an offense. But the attitudes of others do not dictate our methodology, God’s Word does.

We are all missionaries and our view of our neighbor must be in the context of Spirituality. How can we fellowship with the lost if we do not make that imperfect assessment? And our fellowship is not “blackmail”, it should be a genuine revelation of the Person of Christ in order to accentuate the message. Everything God’s does in in a view of redemption. Jesus’ miracles were not blackmail, they were extensions of His His heart fully realized on the cross.

10   Phil Miller    http://veritasfellowship.blogspot.com
October 24th, 2007 at 9:58 am

Rick,
What the young lady was saying is that missionaries will come in on a short-term basis, give some aid, have a crusade, and then leave. They give people some short-term aid, but in the long-run aren’t there to really help the people. Obviously, not all missionaries do this, and I think the trend now is more towards longer time commitments.

The question we have to ask is are we actually offending with the Gospel or with something else. The Indian woman isn’t offended by Jesus and she has been quite respectful to my wife and I. She has just seen some of the bad effects of misplaced zeal.

I guess what I wrestle with is this. It seems we like to boil the Gospel down to words. In reality, though, it is much more. It is introducing people to a relationship with Christ. That can take many forms. Just as how we enter into relationships with people can happen differently, I think the way people come to know Christ can happen differently. I can’t discount things like alter calls completely, because obviously there are Christians who came to know Christ in that manner. We just need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit.

I know that we both want the same thing, Rick, which is for God to truly move. In the midst of that, I think a lot of these discussions naturally fade away.

11   Rick Frueh    
October 24th, 2007 at 10:03 am

I agree and it is the one thing I agree with about some of the emergent conversation, that salvation is not just an equation. Our lives, creation, and many other things contribute to a person’s conversion, but the communication of the gospel message must always be the core of the salvation of souls.

12   jazzact13    http://jazzact13.blogspot.com/
October 24th, 2007 at 10:20 am

–A Tenacious Devotion to the Teaching of the Apostles (God’s Word Proclaimed in Song and Sermon) Under A Trained Pastor – 2 Tim 4:1-2, 2 Tim 2:2

So, this would mean that laymen cannot disciple people. Women cannot disciple people. And, only those who are pastors can lead people in worship music. A pretty interesting requirement for disciple-making.–

I’m not sure I understand what the complaint is here. The statement isn’t saying that only pastors can disciple, only that one part of discipling is that new Christians should be under a pastor who has some training in knowing what the Bible says.

A pastor, by definition, is the leader in the church. What the statement seems to be saying is that the new Christian being discipled needs to be part of a good church teaching biblical things. It’s not saying that non-pastors play no part in discipling.

13   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
October 24th, 2007 at 10:31 am

A pastor, by definition, is the leader in the church. What the statement seems to be saying is that the new Christian being discipled needs to be part of a good church teaching biblical things. It’s not saying that non-pastors play no part in discipling.

While that might be true in a generic protestant church, its not true in the LCMS in which the Pastor is an ordained position, that is conferred by the denominational authority.

14   Nathanael    http://www.borrowedbreath.com/
October 24th, 2007 at 10:41 am

jazzact13,
Did you check out the link at Extreme Theology?
It appears to me that Nathan’s interpretation of what is being said there is spot on.

15   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
October 24th, 2007 at 10:44 am

Jazz,
Consider this line which is contrasted with the “Trained Pastor”.

The Yeast From a Small Group Study Lead by Un-Trained Lay-People Who Pool Their Biblical Ignorance by Asking the Question, “What Does This Verse Mean to You?”

Its a real shame that the scriptures were ever leaked to the “Un-Trained Lay-People”, why imagine how great things would be if they’d have just been happy to sit in church and emptily mouth confessions, and accept assurances from the privileged elite about what is actually in the scriptures. /sarcasm.

16   Phil Miller    http://veritasfellowship.blogspot.com
October 24th, 2007 at 10:46 am

The term “trained pastor” makes me think of dog shows where they make the little dogs run up ramps and jump through hoops…

17   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
October 24th, 2007 at 10:53 am

The term “trained pastor” makes me think of dog shows where they make the little dogs run up ramps and jump through hoops…

That’s what suits and ties are for.

18   jazzact13    http://jazzact13.blogspot.com/
October 24th, 2007 at 12:37 pm

–While that might be true in a generic protestant church, its not true in the LCMS in which the Pastor is an ordained position, that is conferred by the denominational authority.–

Tim, I really don’t see how this contradicts what I wrote. And to display my ignorance, I’ve no idea what LCMS is.

–Jazz,
Consider this line which is contrasted with the “Trained Pastor”.

The Yeast From a Small Group Study Lead by Un-Trained Lay-People Who Pool Their Biblical Ignorance by Asking the Question, “What Does This Verse Mean to You?”

Its a real shame that the scriptures were ever leaked to the “Un-Trained Lay-People”, why imagine how great things would be if they’d have just been happy to sit in church and emptily mouth confessions, and accept assurances from the privileged elite about what is actually in the scriptures. /sarcasm.–

I’m not seeing how the comment about small-group leaders who have had little to no training is not an unfair criticism, and I do think that your contention that they are saying that scripture should not have been given to lay people is a bit overboard.

Let me put it another way–who would be more trustworthy, the person who has spent years studying the scriptures as deeply as possible in order to be able to understand it and pass that understand on to those he will pastor, or the person who does other kinds of work and studies scripture as he is able, but is simply not able to go as in-depth as he may want to?

And please understand what I wrote–more trustworthy, not completely trustworthy.

Or if I may put it another way–did Jesus train the disciples before they really started their ministry in Acts? Was it by accident or intent that it was Paul, who was very well trained in the scripture, would have been the apostle to the Gentiles?

We may be as sheep among wolves, as Jesus said, but we should not be a babes in the woods.

19   Rick Frueh    
October 24th, 2007 at 12:47 pm

I see the benefit of small groups as well as some of the dangers. I think that true discipleship comes from the heart of the believer, and with all the tools available most people are content to sit in a pew once a week and call it discipleship.

Learning and digesting and living out the Scriptures is a sacrificial journey that is far less convenient than just hearing a preacher or enjoying a small group, it is a personal thirst that desires to be quenched every day.

20   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
October 24th, 2007 at 12:48 pm

Jazz,
The LCMS is the Missouri Synod of the Lutheran Church. As I pointed out before, they reject the priesthood of all believers and instead appoint a denominationally approved priesthood that is by their definition “Trained Pastor”.

21   Chris Rosebrough    http://www.extremetheology.com
October 24th, 2007 at 3:29 pm

Tim & Nathan,

The LCMS does not reject the priesthood of all believers. If it did then I wouldn’t be teaching in an LCMS church. And I am NOT defending a position where trained pastors are the ONLY people in a church who disciple people.

Ya’ll are being silly.

Jimmy from Relevant Christian asked me to clarify my position and I was happy to do it. Here is what I told Jimmy on my site.

The word I used is “under”. I did not say that the Pastor does it all. Nor is that even what I am defending.

Fact is, I am not ordained and yet I teach the adult Sunday school class at my church. But, I do it UNDER our pastor. If I teach something wrong then he will correct it.

It is ultimately my Pastor’s responsibility to feed and protect that portion of the Lord’s flock that is under his care but in NO WAY does that mean that he is the ONLY one doing the work of discipleship at our church.

I find it sad that in the short 30 years that the mega-church movement has taken hold in this country that Christians have completely lost the concept of pastor as shepherd. They are used to the ideas of Pastor as CEO, Pastor as Cattle Rancher and Pastor as Life Coach. But the idea of Pastor as Shepherd is now very foreign.

If ya’ll are going to react to something I say, at least make sure that you’re correctly representing my position. (Ya’ll wouldn’t want to be accused of being just like those watchdoggies that you are watching)

22   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
October 24th, 2007 at 3:46 pm

You’re not really saying anything significant then since every small group I’ve ever heard of whether in a large or small church is “under” a trained pastor.

23   Chris Rosebrough    http://www.extremetheology.com
October 24th, 2007 at 4:04 pm

Tim,

Truly I am arguing for something VERY different. I used to attend those types mega-churches. When it comes to small groups they are hurting for leaders and will take just about anyone who volunteers. There is no training, no accountability, and no oversight by the pastor. As a result it becomes a spiritual free-for-all where Biblical ignorance is collectively pooled.

A little over a year ago I conducted a survey of Saddleback’s small group leaders. Nearly 60% of the small group leaders that I surveyed were Biblically illiterate. Yet they are LEADING small group studies.

24   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
October 24th, 2007 at 4:23 pm

You expect me to believe that Saddleback gave you open access to their lay leaders? that you had the information available to you create a random sampling that would result in anything approaching what comes with a “survey”?

Where is this study published? Where are the raw numbers, with the questions you asked, along with your methodology? How was the sampling generated? How large was it?

Because as far as I can tell from google its not published with your name on it. Well there’s this in which you admit its labeled as “informal”. Which if that’s the case you should stop pretending you’ve done anything close to a scientific survey.

25   Rick Frueh    
October 24th, 2007 at 4:59 pm

Whether Chris’ survey was accurate or not is unimportant to me, I’ve been part of small groups where the leader was sincere and a servant but was more of a conversation facilitator than a Bible teacher. And many times someone would say something about a verse that was from left field and it would go unchallenged or even gently corrected. And the conversation would usually distill into everyday things and rarely eternal things.

The general flavor of his post I agreed with, but he could have added that a willing and thirsty heart is a must for a person to study the Word. One of the scourges of today is that people are “discipled” by TV!?

26   Chris Rosebrough    http://www.extremetheology.com
October 24th, 2007 at 5:05 pm

Tim,

Getting access to Saddleback’s leaders was a piece of cake. Especially if you took the time to actually go there. (Which I Did). Heck it is only 15 minutes away from my house.

The survey I conducted was informal and the questions were multiple choice and were based on basic doctrinal information taken directly from Saddleback’s statement of belief and the verses that support it. http://www.saddleback.com/flash/believe2.html

The surveys were graded using an academic grading scale. Any leader who could not correctly answer 50% of the questions was considered to be “Biblically Illiterate”. Nearly 2 thirds of the leaders (64.3%) missed 50% of the questions. The average score for those who missed 50% of the questions was 38%. The average amount of time the leaders who failed the survey had been attending Saddleback was 1.7 years.

The survey was conducted over a two-month period (Sept to Oct 2006) and I was able to identify and survey 34 of Saddleback’s small group leaders. Surveys were conducted in person (at Saddleback) and over the phone.

I have also talked privately with members of Warren’s staff to share my findings. They have confirmed my findings and have told me that their own internal research yielded VERY similar findings and percentages. They were also very candid with me about the problems that they are facing regarding small groups.

These results should not surprise you Tim. Willow Creek’s latest research conclusively shows that the seeker-sensitive mega-church model (small groups is a CRITICAL component of this model) is NOT producing mature disciples of Christ.

The seeker-sensitive model is flawed and broken. My research shows it. Willow Creek’s comprehensive research shows it and Saddleback has privately admitted to me that their research shows it also.

So you go ahead and try to deny these facts. But, you sound like the guy on the Titanic who said, “This ship can’t sink! Titanic is unsinkable.”

27   Rick Frueh    
October 24th, 2007 at 5:10 pm

Chris – I’m impressed.

28   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
October 24th, 2007 at 6:43 pm

It would be impressive, except for this:

The survey I conducted was informal

That makes it worthless as a benchmark for anything.

Which means:

these facts

Aren’t.

I have also talked privately with members of Warren’s staff to share my findings. They have confirmed my findings and have told me that their own internal research yielded VERY similar findings and percentages. They were also very candid with me about the problems that they are facing regarding small groups.

Either cough up some names and numbers or don’t bring it up at all. Honestly, once you start breaking out words like “survey” and “study” without qualifying it as “this is not an actual survey or study done by any sort of accepted standards or methodology” I have very little willingness to trust you.

Because so far all I’m seeing from you is “I had a bad experience so that means all mega churches ever are terrible”, I’ve had the exact opposite experience, with corresponding “informal survey” results. On the other hand I’ve had absolutely terrible experiences with small churches. Both in terms of maturity and relationally. The difference between us is, I’m not screaming that small churches are inherently flawed and need to be done away with. You, on the other hand, seem to think that your experience is the only thing that matters, its the very height of solipsism.

BTW, I’m just curious. If I were to present a study on a single small church that showed that it wasn’t producing disciples along the same lines of the Willow Creek study would you take that as evidence that you shouldn’t be surprised when criticisms towards any small church are leveled? If not, why do you do the same with large churches?

29   nathan    http://www.nathanneighbour.com
October 24th, 2007 at 6:58 pm

Chris,

I appreciate that you did your research on this. Two things trouble me though.

“I used to attend those types mega-churches. When it comes to small groups they are hurting for leaders and will take just about anyone who volunteers.”

how many mega-churches have you attened? Or are you broad brushing all mega-churches as the same? Would MacArthur’s church be one of these mega-churches?

Also, how much research have you done with mid-sized to small churches? I think this might be the situation across the board (not just mega-churches). I know that saddleback brings on a staff member with each increment of growth (every 300 people). So, that would suggest that pastor-to-member ratio does not affect small group leader quality.

30   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
October 24th, 2007 at 7:30 pm

I’m also not sure how much you actually read of Willow Creek’s findings. What they found was that there was no correlation in the amount of activities attended and spiritual growth.

Also if you had dug a little deeper than the headlines you’d have seen that the same survey was done on six other churches all with differing characteristics, including size. And even the small churches were shown to be in a similar situation.

Since then a study of 25 other churches has begun, and the results aren’t in yet, but if you’re really putting as much stock in this study as you seem to, you’ll at least acknowledge this probably isn’t just a megachurch issue and we’ll know a little more when the new studies are in.

31   Chris Rosebrough    http://www.extremetheology.com
October 24th, 2007 at 7:39 pm

Tim,

I have always maintained my survey was informal and have never tried to portray as anything else. Despite the fact that it was informal my results were validated by two members of Saddleback’s staff. Both of them met with me privately and requested that I keep their names in confidence. That is the primary reason I have not been jumping up and down and letting everyone in the world know about the survey.

I still keep in contact with both of these men and they appear to be sincere Christian brothers who acknowledge the very real challenges and sort-comings of Saddleback and are working within the Church to improve their outcomes.

The Mega churches I have attended include. Pasadena Nazarene, Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa (Chuck Smith) and Mariners Church.

I also used to work for Focus on the Family.

My experiences in these churches were not very bad at all. When I ultimately left these types of churches it wasn’t because I was burned by them but because my theology changed and I could no longer stay in those types of churches.

Yes my experiences helped me in working on my research, and still does. I understand the culture of these churches BECAUSE I used to be a member of that culture.

You don’t have to like or agree with my research. It is informal. But it would be unwise of you to disagree with Willow Creek’s research.

Regarding small churches. I’ve talked with many people who have had bad experiences at small churches. Their intimacy is both their greatest strength and their greatest weakness.

Again, going back to Willow Creek’s research. Their data shows that their approach to doing church, which was only invented within the last 30 or so years, isn’t producing mature disciples.

This makes perfect sense. You can’t expect people’s maturity levels to exceed that which is modeled for them by the head pastor.

Fact is: A steady diet of entertainment, self-help, pop-psych and Biblically shallow small group studies has absolutely no chance of producing a mature disciple of Jesus Christ and the evidence PROVES it.

Read the results for yourself. http://revealnow.com/

32   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
October 24th, 2007 at 7:47 pm

Chris R,
Perhaps you didn’t read what I wrote:
I’ve had absolutely terrible experiences with small churches. Both in terms of maturity and relationally.

In other words these churches failed to produce disciples of any kind.

You also didn’t bother to address that the small churches in WC’s study found the exact same results.

I have always maintained my survey was informal

Then why did I have to google it before it was mentioned in this thread? You said:

A little over a year ago I conducted a survey of Saddleback’s small group leaders

Is that what you mean when you say “I have always maintained my survey was informal”?

33   Chris Rosebrough    http://www.extremetheology.com
October 24th, 2007 at 7:52 pm

Tim,

Grab a glass of wine and read the Willow Creek data.

Their “new” model for church doesn’t work. That is the bottom line. Deal with it.

34   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
October 24th, 2007 at 7:56 pm

A Tenacious Devotion to the Teaching of the Apostles (God’s Word Proclaimed in Song and Sermon) Under A Trained Pastor – 2 Tim 4:1-2, 2 Tim 2:2

no where does the bible state in these verses that the faithful men are “trained pastors”… that is adding to the scirpture… it is also putting up the barrier between the layman and clergy which was removed at the Cross.

So right off the premise is faulty at best, according to the bible.

Be Blessed,
iggy

35   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
October 24th, 2007 at 7:58 pm

BTW, the point was this to Chris R… you added to the scirpture you own teaching instead of taking away the teaching of the scirpture. But, instead of dealing with that you attack Tim and put down his church.

pretty sad apologetics to me… especially from you.

be blessed,
iggy

36   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
October 24th, 2007 at 8:00 pm

Chris R,

A Tenacious Devotion to the Teaching of the Apostles (God’s Word Proclaimed in Song and Sermon) Under A Trained Pastor – 2 Tim 4:1-2, 2 Tim 2:2

i missed the first comment you made but still this is what you wrote, so now you are retracting it?

Just wondering.
iggy

37   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
October 24th, 2007 at 8:00 pm

Let’s face it, shallowness is a liability with many big churches and coldness and self centeredness comes many times with some small churches. Chris R’s survey seems accurate with many large churches but of course not all.

Do you contend that his observations are way off base?

38   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
October 24th, 2007 at 8:07 pm

Grab a glass of wine and read the Willow Creek data.

Their “new” model for church doesn’t work. That is the bottom line. Deal with it.

I’ve read it. You haven’t, and your refusal to wrestle with the actual results is at least disappointing, but hardly surprising.

39   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
October 24th, 2007 at 8:13 pm

Rick,

I am not sure you are addressing me, yet, from my experience from both large and small churches… they both tend to have people in them that have issues… LOL!

I think the point is how much do I as one involved put into the group. I have been very open in some groups an very closed in others… I have worshipped in large churches that were very wonderful one week and not the next. I have been in some small churches that the people were great, but the teaching boring and the music just was awful… and visa versa.

If I was to take a poll… I think it is more the person who is observings heart, than that of the particular church. There were times i was frustrated with my small church and also with the large church.

Again, it is not the size of the church it is whether those who attend are there for themselves or for others.

If it just for themselves, it will be a selfish church that usually never grows and stays at the same number.

The other oriented church will grow, both spiritually and physically.. though they may stay the same size it is because people are going out to minister as they are coming and attending.

But that is my 20+ years of observations of all sorts of denominations and sized of churches…

Be blessed,
iggy

40   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
October 24th, 2007 at 8:14 pm

Let’s face it, shallowness is a liability with many big churches and coldness and self centeredness comes many times with some small churches.

While that’s the perception my experience has been that mega churches are capable of producing disciples, and small churches have pretty much sucked all the way around. Actually, the smallest church I’ve had a good experience with was at 300 people or so (excluding my current church in which I’m not in the position to observe).

41   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
October 24th, 2007 at 8:46 pm

BTW – I will have to stay in the hospital for at least ten more days. The infection in my ankle will have to have a plug taken from my thigh. Please pray that it will be a success, the loss of my foot is not out of the question.

I will continue to interject spurious wisdom from my laptop!

42   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
October 24th, 2007 at 8:49 pm

What does that mean? The medical stuff I mean. It doesn’t sound fun. Praying.

43   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
October 24th, 2007 at 8:54 pm

Rick,

I will be in prayer for you… man what an ordeal!

Blessings,
ig

44   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
October 24th, 2007 at 9:16 pm

In July I had the bones in my ankle fused and much hardware implanted into my ankle. My ankle had deteriorated because of arthritus. After three months on absolutely no weight on my foot they removed the cast and found an infected hole on the outside of my ankle that went to the bone.

So I went into the hospital to have it surgically cleaned and intervenous antibiotics. On Monday they will remove a cylinder shaped piece of skin and muscle from underneath my thight and implant it in my ankle. They will stitch the veins together and then stitch the skin on top. That will be critical since the blood flow is essential to keeping the implantation alive.

I am a diabetic which complicates everything. Yes pain, yes frustration, yes inconvenience, yes stress, but -

YES JESUS!! That trumps it all! I have His joy in the midst of it all and a great family to help with everything. All my kids live near me and my wife is a helpmeet cubed!!

Thanks for your prayers, it is my desire to keep my foot but I bow to His will.

“…so now also Christ may be magnified in my body, whether it be by life or by death”

I love all you guys and one day I’ll get you all straightened out!!!

45   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
October 24th, 2007 at 9:18 pm

Rick,

I knew we had a kinship… I am diabetic also…

Still in prayer for you!

blessings
iggy

46   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
October 25th, 2007 at 5:58 am

Again, going back to Willow Creek’s research. Their data shows that their approach to doing church, which was only invented within the last 30 or so years, isn’t producing mature disciples.

This makes perfect sense. You can’t expect people’s maturity levels to exceed that which is modeled for them by the head pastor.

Maybe you’re just over-generalizing here – but the data from site you’ve linked to doesn’t support your thesis…

47   jazzact13    http://jazzact13.blogspot.com/
October 25th, 2007 at 7:14 am

Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t some people like Warren now saying that how their doing things is not really helping their people mature in Christ?

For all of the criticisms of such thing, which may be deserved or not, I do want to give some balance on it.

As a ‘for example’, was it Paul’s fault that the Corinthian church feel into serious worldliness? Or that the Galatian church started accept a false gospel? After all, even if it happened while he was gone from those cities, it could be assumed that he had some say in who took over the leadership of those churches when he was preparing to leave. Ironically, the only one I can think of that he didn’t do that for may have been Philippi, where he and Silas left after their stay in prison, and that is one church to whom he wrote without criticism.

I say all that to say this–the willingness of the people to learn and grow must be taken into account. Perhaps the reality it, not many people really want to grow, they are content being babes and drinking milk. Perhaps as well there are leaders who are strong in some areas but not in others, so that one who is strong in emphasizing outreach and evangelism may have a weakness in helping people really grow.

Those are theories, and nothing more, but I don’t think I’ve plucked them from nothingness, either.

48   Nathanael    http://www.borrowedbreath.com/
October 25th, 2007 at 8:05 am

Rick,
Praying for you, brother.

Nathanael

49   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
October 25th, 2007 at 10:19 am

Jazz,
I brought up that possiblity last night. Its a difficult problem.

50   Matt    http://matbathome.blogspot.com/
October 25th, 2007 at 10:29 am

I feel highly offended by Chris R’s assertion that mega churches have crappy small group leaders. I am a life community leader and I know I could go toe to toe in doctrine and scriptural knowledge with any of the watch dawgies.

51   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
October 25th, 2007 at 10:31 am

I feel highly offended by Chris R’s assertion that mega churches have crappy small group leaders. I am a life community leader and I know I could go toe to toe in doctrine and scriptural knowledge with any of the watch dawgies.

Don’t take it personally, he’s got an axe to grind, regardless of reality.

52   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
October 25th, 2007 at 10:43 am

One of the poblems that hasn’t been addressed here about discipleship is that most of the time the word refers to learning creeds and doctrines, which are important. But a large part of discipleship is leading a believer into a life of devotion and worship.

I have known doctrinally sound people who are smug and are as dry as last year’s bird’s nest when it comes to a contrite heart of devotion to our Savior. And I have met people who are a little less doctrinally sound who have a tangible heart of worship and humble devotion toward the Savior. Honestly, I prefer the latter and I believe God does also.

So let us not ascribe just doctrinal teaching as discipleship, we must mentor by words and deeds a life and heart that falls before the Lord in unashamed worship and in so doing we lead others to His presence.

Without His presence everything else is an algebra test.

53   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
October 25th, 2007 at 10:45 am

Rick,
You’re correct. There’s also the question of how quantify the life of worship you describe if we’re going to rely on surveys.

54   chris    http://agendalesslove.wordpress.com
October 25th, 2007 at 10:46 am

Has anybody seen/heard from Julie in awhile?

55   nathan    http://www.nathanneighbour.com
October 25th, 2007 at 12:18 pm

Rick,

beautiful words. The man who discipled me in high school would quickly be defeated in a theological battle. Oh, he read his bible and knew the scriptures, but he wasn’t a guy who could easily synthesize ideas. He didn’t know creeds or the work of the reformation.

He just loved God deeply and lived by the word. He taught me how to worship with my life, be devoted to him, and love others.

Discipleship IS NOT passing on facts and figures. It is nurturing the work of God in the people around you.

56   jazzact13    http://jazzact13.blogspot.com/
October 25th, 2007 at 1:18 pm

–I have known doctrinally sound people who are smug and are as dry as last year’s bird’s nest when it comes to a contrite heart of devotion to our Savior. And I have met people who are a little less doctrinally sound who have a tangible heart of worship and humble devotion toward the Savior. Honestly, I prefer the latter and I believe God does also.–

The problem I would have with what you say is that you give a negative for one side and a positive for the other. It would be more fair to say that there are examples of those who know less doctrine who may have enthusiasm but keeping falling for all kinds of unscriptural teachings. I think such movements as the Word of Faith are examples of enthusiasm trumping biblical doctrine and causing harm.

It’s not really an either/or. We are to be sound doctrinally, and live with some kind of godly passion.

57   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
October 25th, 2007 at 1:46 pm

Jazz – sure, and I agree. My point was that in experience we many times seem to exalt the jot and tittle and relegate the worshipful heart to a lesser degree. I certaintly have seen both, but I have seen what I described as well.

58   jazzact13    http://jazzact13.blogspot.com/
October 25th, 2007 at 3:02 pm

Maybe my experiences have been different, Rick, but at times much the opposite has been what I have seen–an emphasis on emotionalism and enthusiasm at the expense of thought and discernment. The emphasis was on what they considered worship–singing, movement, music–while there was an almost uncritical acceptance of whatever was fed to them by whoever spoke. Often enough, even the speaking was a blatant appeal to emotions.

I’ve spent much time around charismatics, though, so maybe that has something to do with it. But I don’t want to make it sound as if every such church I went to was like that; for example, I can think of at least one church, a Vineyard, where they did have the singing and such but the preacher also did his homework for his sermons.

59   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
October 25th, 2007 at 3:13 pm

What is it that’s said about knowledge? Knowledge puffs up. That sounds familiar. Seems we’ve got some puffy watchdoggies. I’d even go so far as to say there’s no such thing as an unpuffy watchdoggie.

60   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
October 25th, 2007 at 3:35 pm

I am not a charismtc although I am not dispensational concerning the gifts either. I think charismatic worship combined with a Jewish flavor is the extravagent worship that substantiates the fact that the Creator Redeemer God is in our midst.
Singing with your face plastered in the hymn book and singing to each other doesn’t really resmble heaven. I am in avor of much emotion, dancing, shouting, weeping, praying, clapping, and generally worshiping vertically and in the Spirit. The ultimate gathering for me is a substantive Bible sermon preached with passion and conviction and a lively and reckless worship service with no time retsraints. And omewhere in the midst of the service we onserve the Lord’s supper every single time we meet.

Everybody come on down in March and we’ll have one of those. I don’t drink, smoke, go to theatres, but I DO DANCE!!!

Look out, a charismatic fundamentalist is in the house!

61   Shua    
October 25th, 2007 at 4:16 pm

Rick,

Praying for you, man. Gotta keep the other Irish supporters around.

Also, thanks for being a voice of reason here. Not that I always agree with you, but you are always gracious in your responses even to those you disagree with.

Now, on point with the thread – is it really impossible for us all to agree that big churches have problems, small churches have problems, and some big churches and small churches have the same problem and some have different problems. The problems in churches are that they are made up of fallen people – redeemed, yes, but not perfect.

62   jazzact13    http://jazzact13.blogspot.com/
October 26th, 2007 at 6:59 am

The Bible says much good about knowledge, Tim. How many times in Proverbs are we told to get wisdom, knowledge, and understanding? I know that what you quote is also said in the Bible, and must be taken into account, but to isolate it as some kind of ultimate and final word on knowledge at least to me does not seem wise.

Rick, having never been to Heaven, I can’t say for certain what worship will be like there, but I can’t in good conscience say that I do not think that hymn-singers will not have their part in the worship. Speaking of people “with (their) faces plastered in a hymn book” comes too close to disparaging people who may be faithful believers and find much in the hymns for comfort and reflection.

63   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
October 26th, 2007 at 7:41 am

How many times in Proverbs are we told to get wisdom, knowledge, and understanding? I know that what you quote is also said in the Bible, and must be taken into account, but to isolate it as some kind of ultimate and final word on knowledge at least to me does not seem wise.

Sure, but the reference Paul makes is the pursuit and upholding of knowledge above everything else. Which is exactly what watchdoggies do. When they evaluate the deepness of faith they’re really evaluating knowledge. Many of their complaints about individuals or groups are based on knowledge. Their pride is in the knowledge they have. They put knowledge above love, grace, and pretty much everything.