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The Road to Hell Is Paved with Purpose Driven Relevance

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Always either begin a sermon series on Easter or the next week -- and make sure it's a series that meets the felt needs of an unchurched person. Yes, they need the Gospel and a relationship with Christ. You and I both know that's their foundational need, but most people will come to your church because they have a need for friendship, want a better marriage, want to be a better parent, want to feel they're living a life of significance or there may be some other need. When you do a series like that, let Easter visitors know in your letter. It'll give them a reason to come back to your church." -- Rick Warren 2014

The purpose driven church model of growth, espoused by Rick Warren in the 1990s has become the blueprint for ambitious pastors who see the cult of personality TV pastors and desire the same. Sure they can convince themselves it is all for Jesus but the truth is they see John Gray give his wife a $200,000 Lamborghini and they want to be able to do the same. They see the fleet of planes owned by Kenneth Copeland or the sold out stadiums of Joel Osteen and the lust for power and money start tugging on their heartstrings as they would any carnally thinking man. This is the culture we live in beloved and it is time we stop pretending that the pastors we follow are any different.

One of the biggest lies of the purpose driven doctrine is that of relevance. Because they flip the Gospel on its head, they think the role of the church is to reach the lost. It is not. The role of the church is to build the church through discipleship. Do we want the lost to come to church? Of course as it is the only likely place they will hear the Gospel, which is the only thing with the power of God unto the salvation of man. The mistake made by Warren and his followers is in assuming the Gospel is not enough. Take a look at the quotes above. The Driscoll quote was from before he fell from grace and embodies the typical Warren adherent. In defending why he had the Easter bunny as part of his Resurrection Sunday festivities we see a glimpse into the depraved and carnal mind of a purpose driven pastor. The sadly ironic thing is when the church seeks relevance to the world it renders itself irrelevant by default. We are supposed to be weird. We are supposed to be that peculiar people. The quote from Warren himself is even more damming as he was giving advice to pastors on how to ensure their Easter visitors returned the following week. That advice was simple -- don't preach the Gospel and while Rick is teaching them how to have a better marriage their life is required of them. These are not games beloved. These are not things that we need to figure out. The bible makes it very plain. Preach the Gospel and get out of God's way. As the key verses teach us the world is supposed to hate us! Not find us relevant or hip. The church is not supposed to be trendy. The Gospel is meant to divide! Yet the purpose driven church marches on in its quest for relevance to people who think the things of God are utter foolishness. Entire industries have arisen to provide all of the carnal leadership schemes to church leaders and at the top of that list of schemers is Carey Nieuwhof. The above linked article has Carey outlining six characteristics of an irrelevant church leader. Let us reason once more and see if this purpose driven slop can even approach the verity of Scripture.

"So how relevant are you as a leader? Any idea how you'd answer that accurately? You can debate how important relevance is all day long (and many do), but the truth is irrelevant leaders eventually make less impact on the team around them, and eventually almost no impact on the next generation, except for perhaps an example of what not to be like. Why is that? Relevance matters for one simple reason: relevance gives you permission to speak into the culture around you. Relevance determines whether people pay attention to you or whether they ignore you. Irrelevant people eventually lose the ability to communicate meaningfully with the people they care about and to contribute to the causes they're passionate about." -- Carey Nieuwhof

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Anthony Wade

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Submitted on Thursday, Dec 27, 2018 at 8:49:44 PM

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I'm not sure I'm able to open up yet about my experience, but I wanted to let you know I'm listening and I share a lot of the same concerns that you speak of here regarding the church today.

Submitted on Saturday, Dec 29, 2018 at 5:04:48 PM

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