So according to Nieuwhof and purpose driven teaching, as a church grows the more distant the shepherd is supposed to be from the sheep? Beloved there is a reason why Jesus gave us this analogy of shepherding. There is not a sane shepherd in all of history that would distance himself from his sheep if he got more sheep to be responsible for. He cannot even fathom being there for 2000 people! He thinks you would die if you tried! That is what happens when you are relying on yourself and carnal means instead of the Creator of the Universe. God runs the church! If you think that you cannot shepherd 2000 people then it is time to raise up a leader to plant another church so that all sheep can be tended to. Therein lies the fundamental disconnect that Carey and purpose driven leadership gurus suffer from. The role of the church is to tend to the sheep -- not constantly be looking for new sheep. As we pointed out already, God decides who is added to the number. Tend to the sheep and preach the Gospel so that any unsaved people hearing it might be drawn by the Spirit. Romans teaches us that only the Gospel has the power of eternal life to save someone. Not our little cults of personality, marketing schemes, and slick packaging.
"As my friend Reggie Joiner says, the problem with needs-based ministry is there's no end to human need. Your church will struggle with the pastor being less available as it grows. But it will struggle even more if you don't restructure to grow bigger. To reach more people, you need to be available to fewer people." -- Carey Nieuwhof
What twisted and carnal reasoning is this! In order to reach more people you must ignore more? Or delegate them to other people who have not been called to shepherd the sheep? Absolute unbiblical nonsense. It is sadly ironic that he believes that there being no end to human need is a problem when it is the reason pastors exist! But again, his eyes are not on the sheep beloved. They are on the next batch of goats he can convince to say the magic three sentence prayer and show up each week. Does the Bible teach us that pastors need to be available to fewer and fewer sheep? Hardly:
So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly;not domineering over those -- 1Peter 5: 1-3 (ESV)
"2. The leader not doing everything - A companion of being less available as a church grows is the reality that a pastor can't do everything. Many pastors of small churches start out as jacks of all trades: preacher, pastor, chaplain, wedding officiant, funeral officiant, bible study leader, team leader, curriculum designer and even friend who drops by. As our church has grown, my role has become narrower and narrower. At 200 Pastoral care became a groups and congregational responsibility. So did bible study (which became small groups instead). At 400, I let go of graphics and design entirely (thankfully). I also got out of direct involvement in student and children's ministry as we hired people (I still share the vision, but no longer own the responsibility). At 800, I stepped back from leading and attending most meetings and almost everything else to focus on preaching, teaching, vision casting and senior leadership. If you want to grow, you have to let go. And, of course, as Andy Stanley says, by doing less you'll accomplish more." -- Carey Nieuwhof
The wildly heretical Andy Stanley is on record as saying that we ought to not use the term shepherd anymore because it is not culturally relevant. How absurd that Stanley thinks he knows better than God. How telling that Nieuwhof quotes him! The truth is that Stanley is not a shepherd and is uncomfortable with the notion of such because he is a hireling. That is what the purpose driven models create. When you view officiating the wedding of one of your sheep as a task, then you are a hireling. The key verses spell it out very clearly for us. The hireling does not own the sheep. Thus when the congregation grows to just 200 people the notion of pastoral care has to be outsourced! You know, taking care of widows and orphans or visiting people who are sick. A hireling has no time for that! Teaching your sheep to study the Bible? No time for that either. No point in trying to make sure the sheep are growing in the Lord and becoming healthy spiritually. I am staggered at the belief that pastoral care must become a "congregational" responsibility! Think about that for a second. The shepherd called by God to tend to the sheep thinks that it is the responsibility of the sheep to tend themselves! This is at just 200 people! This is the mind of a hireling beloved. The list of duties Nieuwhof lists however could be taken right from the Purpose Driven Church. Preaching (teaching) vision casting, and senior leadership. That's it. You need counseling, make an appointment to see the counseling pastor. Your life is falling apart, see our triage pastor. You want someone to visit you in the hospital; I will send one of the congregants. You are confused by a false teaching you heard recently, hey I am just a hireling. Let the wolves devour you all day long because I have vision to cast. We now come to the final point Nieuwhof wants to make about what pastors must deal with as their church grows:
"7. Dealing with critics - So once you start growing, all the critics will disappear, correct? Sorry to break the news"but just the opposite. They'll line up. You'll have internal critics who want things to be the way they used to be. After all, the people heading for the Promised Land always want to go back to Egypt." -- Carey Nieuwhof
I was wondering when Nieuwhof would get around to butchering Scripture. Yes, the people who dare to criticize the purpose driven vision are just like those stubborn Israelites whining about wanting to go back to Egypt. How ridiculous. Realize beloved that in this analogy, the purpose driven mega-church run by hirelings is "the Promised Land" and those demanding biblical accountability want to go back to Egypt. That is another frightening disconnect for people like Nieuwhof and the purpose driven leadership gurus. Everyone who disagrees is marginalized into the "critic" bucket so they can be neatly discarded. The Purpose Driven Church refers to this practice as "blessed subtraction"; where any dissenters are essentially thrown out of the sheepfold. This is actually taught to up and coming pastors! If you think it is a good idea for sheep to wander away from your sheep fold then you are a hireling and as the key verses teach us you care nothing for the sheep!