OK, I openly admit that I have not been a huge fan of Rick Warren.  A few years ago, I participated in a 40 Days of Purpose Bible Study, and at many times, I was underwhelmed.  It wasn’t that I thought that things were outright wrong as much I just thought it was very surface-level stuff.  That being said, one thing that does stick out in m memory is Warren’s assertion on the very first page of The Purpose Driven Life that “life isn’t about you”.  Apparently, that assertion flies over some people’s heads.

When I see an article like this, complaining about the video here, it honestly saddens me.  When I read this statement:

Can you imagine calling on this individual at 3am when your loved one is dying or seriously ill? Can you imagine Mr. T-shirt holding the hand of an elderly saint as she passes into eternity?

a few things come to mind.  First, I wonder how often it is really necessary to call someone at 3am.  I’m not saying it should never happen, but this makes it sound like a reoccurring event.  Secondly, I wouldn’t really care what someone was wearing when they came to visit me.  But, hey, that’s just me…

Now there’s nothing about either of those things that’s inherently bad, but in a large church is it really realistic to expect the lead pastor to perform these functions?  To me, the thing that’s amazing is that these aren’t just expected, but they’re demanded.  It’s the attitude that says the pastor is there is serve me, and I expect him to meet all of my expectations.  It’s ironic that the piece is referring to Perry Noble as a “hireling”, because, in reality, the kind of pastor Ingrid is describing seems more like a hireling – a person hired by the church members to meet their needs.

Now, I don’t deny that a big part of being a pastor involves caring for people and being involved in their lives.  But I will also say that as a church body, we are to minister to one another’s needs and there are many things that can be done by the average church member to help the pastor.  Have the critics volunteered their time to visit the sick and help other members?  Have they spent time and energy to be a blessing to their pastor?  If not, then they really have no room to complain.  Coming from a pastor’s family, perhaps I am more sensitive to these complaints, because I know that there are some people who will take and take but never give anything.  And these people most of the time simply need to grow up.  I think these are the type people the author of Hebrews had in mind when he wrote:

We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.

So perhaps, the fact that Warren’s book starts with the basic premise, “it’s not about me” is a good thing.  It seems that some of us need reminded of that fact.

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44 Comments(+Add)

1   Neil    
January 22nd, 2009 at 4:13 pm

Oh the irony. Was it not SOL that posted a quote arguing that the American Evangelical church judges God by American cultural standards? Then SOL judges that a person fails as a pastor based on what? – biblical standards? NO! They use American cultural standards.

What hypocrisy.

If ya don’t dress like I think you should, you are unfit to be a pastor.

What ethnocentric tripe. What an unbiblical attitude. What a shallow spirituality,

2   Neil    
January 22nd, 2009 at 4:20 pm

In that short rant at SOL I found three cases of the author judging this pastor/church using their American cultural as the standard – not the Bible.

In posting this:

Dr. Al Mohler has written a strong article about how American evangelicals judge God by American cultural ideals. If the truth of the Bible doesn’t measure up to our cultural beliefs, it’s time to jettison the Bible. That is exactly what is happening.

They judge themselves.

3   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 22nd, 2009 at 4:33 pm

His attitude was careless. Instead of exhorting people to patience concerning these issues, as well as lovingly explaining the limitations of today’s large church pastors, he let’s them know he doesn’t care. That seems more like self righteous aloofness rather than being an instrument of understanding. And in speaking with such recklessness, he inadvertantly draws people to himself and his attitude rather than representing the compassion, grace, and overall character of the Jesus he says everyone should get to know.

The Great Shepherd cares for His sheep, even the most rebellious and unpleasant ones. It also represent a confident sentiment of a pastor who has sheep to spare, and usually not the embrionic stage of building a local church. Power changes people, including pastors.

4   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
January 22nd, 2009 at 4:37 pm

Quite a stark difference between this display and the image of the One who leaves the 99 to ensure that the one is safe.

I can understand his challenge being pastor of a large church. I remember the apostles choosing the 7 overseers to assist with the distributing to people’s needs, but I can’t see Peter standing on a stage declaring “I just don’t give a damn! I have a wife and daughter.”

Bit of a disconnect.

5   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
January 22nd, 2009 at 4:39 pm

And as an aside, I find it interesting to see some of these churches cancelling service because of the Superbowl.

At first I thought that they did this because they just want to free up time to watch the game.

But on second thought, I wonder if it’s because they know that they simply can’t compete with the game (ie: their flock just wouldn’t show up).

Sad either way in my view – not so much that a service is cancelled, but the reason for it.

6   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 22nd, 2009 at 4:40 pm

Whom the Lord loves, He corrects.

7   Neil    
January 22nd, 2009 at 4:41 pm

Rick,

I tend to agree… though not completely.

Yet, you have critiqued him using a much more biblical standard than the callous, self-righteous, culturally ethnocentric standard of the SOL author.

8   Neil    
January 22nd, 2009 at 4:44 pm

Superbowl – what this thread will probably end up being about. Those who go to worship instead will be deemed superior Christians, while those opting to watch the game will be lesser Christians – if Christians at all…

9   nc    
January 22nd, 2009 at 4:46 pm

#8

Then serve notice that any posts on this thread to that effect will be deleted.

Don’t let it go there.

10   Neil    
January 22nd, 2009 at 4:50 pm

We delete comments very very sparingly. I guess I’d rather just say – let’s not go there until we’ve discussed the issue at hand…

11   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
January 22nd, 2009 at 4:55 pm

We only have Sunday evening services once a month, so the Super Bowl thing isn’t even an issue for me.

I knew some people would think that this pastor was being too careless, but I think he’s got a good point. I’ve known too many pastors’ families who are very strained because the father can never leave the church. Heck, I remember having to cut a vacation short so my dad could do a funeral.

Now I know to some extent, it goes with the job, but I think part of the problem is that being a pastor is turned into a job by people forcing these expectations on pastors. Ingrid doesn’t want a hireling, but that’s what she’s asking for. She doesn’t want a priesthood of all believers. She wants a special class of people who get paid to do the dirty work.

At least Perry Noble is being honest, and at least he has the freedom to be honest. The fact is that pastors have a huge burnout rate. People take advantage of their service, and eventually even the most kindhearted person gets burnt out.

It’s not that pastors don’t want to go after the one lost sheep. It’s that there like ten or twenty “found” sheep sitting in the church trying to make them cater to their every whim.

12   Neil    
January 22nd, 2009 at 5:14 pm

She wants a special class of people who get paid to do the dirty work.

While wearing clothes deemed appropriate by her cultural standards.

13   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 22nd, 2009 at 5:18 pm

“At least Perry Noble is being honest, and at least he has the freedom to be honest. The fact is that pastors have a huge burnout rate. People take advantage of their service, and eventually even the most kindhearted person gets burnt out.”

That is not the issue, it’s his attitude. Honesty isn’t always Christian, and pastor should be an example to the flock. Teaching and explaining about the burdens of large church pastors should have been his mode, not a “I could care less” rant. That attitude sometimes comes with the power of a large church, it must be guarded against and lovingly revealed to him by the other elders.

Hardly any pastors “cater to every whim”, however some brag about it and some pray for stubborn sheep.

14   Neil    
January 22nd, 2009 at 5:22 pm

That attitude sometimes comes with the power of a large church, it must be guarded against and lovingly revealed to him by the other elders.

Or frustration at something that had happened… not that that makes it right.

15   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
January 22nd, 2009 at 5:27 pm

That is not the issue, it’s his attitude. Honesty isn’t always Christian, and pastor should be an example to the flock. Teaching and explaining about the burdens of large church pastors should have been his mode, not a “I could care less” rant. That attitude sometimes comes with the power of a large church, it must be guarded against and lovingly revealed to him by the other elders.

I guess the thing is that it’s such a short clip and we aren’t really given enough context to make that call. Perhaps there is a group of people in the church specifically causing trouble and this is an attempt to address it. The main thing is we don’t know, and we aren’t the elders, so it’s not our call.

Personally, being around a lot of pastors, I can say that I’ve heard about every one of them say something like Rev. Noble is saying at some time or another.

In these types of issues, I tend to err on the side of the pastor. I will admit my bias. Many times, sheep bite and they leave scars.

16   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 22nd, 2009 at 5:37 pm

Hmmm… Chris R has lost it… completely…

Can you imagine calling on this individual at 3am when your loved one is dying or seriously ill? Can you imagine Mr. T-shirt holding the hand of an elderly saint as she passes into eternity?

Then when I have done this dressed in a similar way… I guess it did not count…

It is not the clothes but the love that matters to many. I have had people call me in the middle of the night…

I find it strange that here Perry Nobel states knowing him will not get one to heaven… He states knowing Jesus is more important than knowing him!

In fact the whole thing is how the church is not about him!

So Chris R gives a double minded message… it is not about us… and this pastor tells others to not place so much on him and that they need to place more on Jesus and he is wrong.

So again, which is it… the me-based pastor focus church? or the Christ centered church Perry is exhorting his flock to be?

iggy

17   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 22nd, 2009 at 5:51 pm

And as an aside, I find it interesting to see some of these churches cancelling service because of the Superbowl.

Or, more charitably, it is seen as a larger community event, where a lot of small groups will get together to fellowship & watch it. I know that’s what we’ve done on many occasions…

18   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
January 22nd, 2009 at 5:54 pm

Then when I have done this dressed in a similar way… I guess it did not count…

It is not the clothes but the love that matters to many. I have had people call me in the middle of the night…

That is a good point. I wonder if Ingrid expects that pastor to come to the hospital in a suit at 3am?

19   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
January 22nd, 2009 at 5:55 pm

Perhaps so Chris.

As an aside, I just listened to a service he preaches in – he makes some strong demands! Demands on discipleship and of carrying one’s cross.

One point to consider: in the same lesson he preaches in, he mentions he gets TONS of hate mail. Long story short, he loves that and doesn’t shy away because of it.

Why not take the same approach? It seems like the main people you defend – Rick Warren, et al – just let it go.

20   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 22nd, 2009 at 5:59 pm

This is so stupid… did Chris R really understand what this series is about?

http://www.perrynoble.com/2009/01/22/eight-questions-i-believe-pastors-should-wrestle-with-part-three/

Talk about twisting things… Chris R misrepresent this pastor’s entire series which is about NOT being “pastor centered”…

So here again, we have an ODM preaching “it is not all about me” and then pointing to a pastor that they claim is teaching “self-centeredness” and in reality that pastor is teaching against being pastor centered and being Christ centered.

Just to harm that pastor, his church, ministry and family.

iggy

I bet though PB will defend Chris to the end…

21   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
January 22nd, 2009 at 6:01 pm

I bet though PB will defend Chris to the end…

Iggy – have you ever heard of OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder)? Seriously, you cannot bring yourself to leave a comment with implicating your arch-nemesis.

22   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 22nd, 2009 at 6:03 pm

PC,

No, I am just a prophet… LOL!

and watch he will!

And please do not call PB my arch-nemesis… he is my brother in Christ as confused as he is. I do not see him as an enemy…

iggy

23   Joe    http://www.joemartino.name
January 22nd, 2009 at 6:05 pm

I honestly forget that people still get fired up over the Sunday evening service…a relatively new phenomenon in the church history.
It’s silly really.
Our church doesn’t have an Sunday night service, ever. In fact, one of the things that my wife and I decided is that we won’t go to a church that has a Sunday evening service.

24   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
January 22nd, 2009 at 6:09 pm

Neither do we have a Sun evening service. Just wondering about the messaging

25   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 22nd, 2009 at 6:10 pm

Paul C,

My motive is that PB will see the hypocrisy and see that what he supports most often misrepresents those he gleefully defends in their attack. When I bring him in, it is to goad him on to take time to think about his actions toward others and who he has befriended in their dishonest attacks against others in the Body of Christ.

I hope that you and others can understand this… PB is not my enemy no matter what lies he states about me. In fact I wonder more if he is sick and needs help and I pray for him often.

So, please, do not assign motive to me as it being hating an enemy… truly I found that most offensive.

iggy

26   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 22nd, 2009 at 6:27 pm

As to Neil’s point, Ingrid can never make a Biblical point with adding her brand of name calling and demeaning invectives. The two from this post were – drum roll-

Mr. T-shirt

and

Buffoon

So let me get this straight, when I teach the Sunday School of 7-8 th graders I can tell them when they don’t like somebody or disagree with them, think of some names to call them. That is what Jesus would do. We spend a lifetime raising our children to be respectful but we fail to tell them that like cigarettes, when they get a certain age, they can speak as direspectfully as their literary prowess can carry them.

It’s funny how Christianity changes with adulthood, or maybe it’s not Christianity at all.

27   chris    http://agendalesslove.wordpress.com
January 22nd, 2009 at 6:37 pm

So let me get this straight, when I teach the Sunday School of 7-8 th graders I can tell them when they don’t like somebody or disagree with them, think of some names to call them.

As a youth pastor I often get asked why “My kid is so…xyz” to which I always want to respond “Because he/she learned it from you” but I never do. Why? Cause I’ve learned my lessons. Which sucks. :(

28   nc    
January 22nd, 2009 at 6:42 pm

RE: Mr. T-Shirt.

Yes, she’s dead on.

I mean, that elderly saint would feel so much better if the person holding her hand looked liked a soul-less lawyer from middle management.

If the guy wore clericals or a cassock, I’m sure one of the imams (*cough*template/chris p*cough*) would say they were evil papists.

There’s no winning with these people. The only way they can calm down is if you lay down and submit to their personal preferences as if they were moral absolutes.

ick.

29   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 22nd, 2009 at 7:13 pm

Here is a series that disproves all that Ingrid and Chris R states.

http://66.216.186.71/225499.ihtml?id=225499

30   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 22nd, 2009 at 8:28 pm

Are there any mathmeticians out there? I have a question:

If you fire a rifle at a target 1 mile away and hit it dead on, if then you move the rifle only 1 degree to the right, how far off will the bullet be in 1 mile?

31   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
January 22nd, 2009 at 8:50 pm

If you fire a rifle at a target 1 mile away and hit it dead on, if then you move the rifle only 1 degree to the right, how far off will the bullet be in 1 mile?

atan(1 deg)*5280 = 29.33 ft

32   Joe    http://www.joemartino.name
January 22nd, 2009 at 8:53 pm

Rick,
#30 More information is needed. Weight of bullet, grain, muzzle velocity etc.

33   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 22nd, 2009 at 8:55 pm

Thank you, Phil. My point is this, when you begin spiritually with a serious misunderstanding of Christ and His mission, you wander off the Jesus target with an expanding distance between where He is and where you think He is.

34   john b    
January 23rd, 2009 at 1:23 am

If the pastor and the staff do all the work of the church they are robbing the Church of doing the work of the Church.

Each believer should be doing ministry. Of course we all know that……even if we don’t go to ODM-approved churches. Hmmm, imagine that.

35   Kevin I    http://ominousknife.com
January 23rd, 2009 at 11:42 am

Unfortunately/Fortunately that pastor riding in through the night at your side for every little thing is just not a sustainable way to minister anymore. A minister’s job responsibilities have increased to the point that it’s just not something you can do if you have a congregation over a certain size.

Well you can if you sacrifice your family and your own relationship with Christ.

I guess the church will actually have to pick up the slack and be the church to one another.

What I always find funny is the same people who expect the pastor to be at their beck and call and at every single life event are usually the same people that expect the pastor to keep regular office hours, to have a well prepared sermon and chair every committee.

The church I serve in has the healthiest view on this I’ve seen in a while, the pastor almost works more as a coordinator for who is with you at 3 am or at your side in the hospital if he can’t be there himself. I think that is kind of the happy medium of what everyone here is talking about, it moves away from a pastor-centered faith, gets the church off it’s butt to actually be the church, and someone is there for you when you need it, whether it be a pastor, elder, deacon, sunday school teacher, music director, youth worker, greeter or janitor, someone will be there for you and it doesn’t create that sickness where you want a superhuman to be the one to do it.

36   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 23rd, 2009 at 11:46 am

The elders in Acts refused to help feed widows. Can you imagine? The most uneremphasized part of a church and the elders is prayer. We’ve yet to see what God can do when sought with all our hearts.

Some of the points that Pastor Noble made were legitimate, his attitude was unhelpful.

37   Kevin I    http://ominousknife.com
January 23rd, 2009 at 11:47 am

Also on the t-shirt thing, I prefer the people in ministry in my life and my families life to dress as the actually dress.

The last thing I want is someone who shows up in some sort of uniform because it’s “ministry time” or someone who shows up looking like a faker.

If it’s a suit person I hope they show up in a suit, if it’s a t-shirt person I sure hope they show up in a t-shirt.

This took a long time for me as I was really caught up in my own bias for people in t-shirts and jeans, I used to talk about how I automatically distrusted clean shaven people in suits, but I realized I was being just as sinful in my favoritism (see James) as the people who had rejected me in churches because of the way I dressed.

38   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 23rd, 2009 at 12:16 pm

Rick,

The elders in Acts refused to help feed widows. Can you imagine? The most uneremphasized part of a church and the elders is prayer. We’ve yet to see what God can do when sought with all our hearts.

Some of the points that Pastor Noble made were legitimate, his attitude was unhelpful.

I am not sure that they “refused” rather they saw the work as needed done yet time consuming. So they appointed others to do it. That is not refusing to do it as it is getting done.

I actually understand Noble’s attitude. It is not bad at all… in fact more people need to know they should not sit in their chair and just watch church happen, they are the church and need to get out and be it and do the work of Jesus as part of it.

It should annoy us that some complain about the worship music or that the pastor is not available at their beckoned call.

One of my best friends is the pastor where I attend church… in fact we used to go out for coffee all the time. Now that the church has had some good growth, I can’t remember when the last time we went out. I do not see that as a slight, rather that he has his family first and then who God needs him to be with. I guarantee that many would see him as not a good friend or that since he is not available whenever they feel like they need him… they would leave the church.

The idea at our church is that we still get together for leadership meetings, yet understand that each of the leaders will have a circle they revolve in and minister to… sometimes the circles intersect and sometimes not… yet if not, then we do not feel like the other does not care for us…

iggy

39   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
January 23rd, 2009 at 12:21 pm

“I am not sure that they “refused” rather they saw the work as needed done yet time consuming. So they appointed others to do it. That is not refusing to do it as it is getting done.”

They said “it is NOT RIGHT” to serve tables. Iggy, you and I sometimes understand on a different page. The pastor’s high brow attitude is unchristian even though he was making good points.

Makin a good point is not a license to speak anyway you want to, I believe that has been addressed on this blog at some length, so it seems you are more charitable to someone with whom you agree.

40   Bo Diaz    
January 23rd, 2009 at 12:22 pm

The really amazing thing about all this is that normally the ADM line about big churches is that its a cult of personality that is attracted to the preacher.

Now, one of those megachurch pastors says explicitly knowing me doesn’t have anything to do with your salvation, and they go into conniption fits over it.

I would note the past history of ADMs in general, and this one in particular makes the use of a two minute clip in a sermon particularly suspect.

41   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 1st, 2009 at 8:22 am

Apparently Perry Noble is also a gift that keeps on giving. SoL just posted the same video again. I understand, sometimes it is difficult to keep all the negativity and attacks straight without overlapping.

Anyway, it’s worth a second look, especially if it’s a dull nes day for moral failure.

42   Neil    
February 1st, 2009 at 8:32 am

Pointing out moral failure is bad enough, but this is even worse. But this video is shameful and unChristlike. The running mockery has no place in the Kingdom… nor does their presumptive arrogance in deciding that Nobie and his whole church are non-Christians going to Hell.

Shameful!

43   Rick Frueh    http://http?//followingjudahslion.com
February 1st, 2009 at 8:54 am

Neil – The same video is posted on CRN with the moniker “Seeker-Driven hireling goat herders”. It appears that you can get to the point where you know when entire churches are lost.

44   nc    
February 1st, 2009 at 10:36 am

42.

Talk about adding to the Gospel…Talk about teaching “another Gospel”.

I’m actually thankful for these videos because it only serves to confirm the truth of Scripture with regard to….the ODM’s.

“The measure with which you measure will be measured to you.” When you start becoming the self-appointed keepers of the jihad, guess what happens?

You inevitably realize you’re guilty of the very thing you obsess over.

Iggy is right. These people, for all their fear of “another Gospel” end up teaching “another Gospel”.

Their rabid anti-Catholicism makes the irony only sweeter.