Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves. -- Matthew 23: 15 (ESV)
The link above is to a new article from church-growth and purpose driven guru, Carey Nieuwhof. I do not challenge Carey's heart. I know the Bible says it is wickedly deceitful among all things, just like mine. I especially cannot blame him since he has obviously been taught so poorly in his faith that he believes all of the purpose driven leadership schemes that he learned growing up and is now merely selling them to make a buck while convincing himself that it is all for Jesus. We have made the argument over and over again about the nearly irreparable damage wrought by the Purpose Driven Church, published first in the mid-1990s. A generation of pastors have now been raised on Warren-ology and seen firsthand the enormous carnal success of people who have followed his teachings and schemes. Sometimes writing about these in the abstract can be disconnecting for some so it is always welcome when a purpose driven leadership expert, such as Mr. Nieuwhof, puts his schemes on paper and fully reveals how detached he is from the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Let us reason together beloved as we review this article and gain another glimpse into the mind of someone working so clearly against the Gospel.
"So you want your church to reach people who don't go to church. That's wonderful because that's basically the mission of the church: to share the love of Christ with the world in the hopes everyone will come into a relationship with Jesus." -- Carey Nieuwhof
This is one of the foundational pillars of purpose driven teaching. It is also completely unbiblical. The purpose of the church is not to reach those who do not go to church. You can make the argument that the purpose of evangelism is to reach those who are unsaved but not the purpose of the church. Now, I know this flies in the face of a lot of the lies that have been taught over the past 20 years but read Acts Chapter Two and you will see the purpose of the church is for the people in the church. They are considered sheep who need to be led and fed. Not discarded while the shepherd looks to find more sheep. The Bible agrees:
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherdsand teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. -- Ephesians 4: 11-14 (ESV)
Note here the usage of shepherd is where we get the modern word for pastor. All of church leadership is for the perfecting of the saints. So that they may no longer be blown around by every wind of false doctrine and grow in the unity of the faith to accomplish the work of the ministry. Nieuwhof continues:
"The challenge is that unchurched people aren't exactly flocking to most churches, and many Christians seem stumped as to why that is. There are many reasons, but a surprising number center around one thing: Christians who treat the church as if it's their private club. You will focus almost exclusively on your needs and wants unless you decide not to. And that's exactly what far too many churches do: focus exclusively on the needs and wants of their members." -- Carey Nieuwhof
I am unsure what statistic Mr. Nieuwhof is reading but every non church-goer I ever see interviewed says that the main reason they do not go to church is that they view Christians correctly as hypocrites. Jesus constantly warned against hypocrisy for a reason. The notion that people stay away because those already there treat the church as a members only club is patently absurd. It is however a major plank of the purpose driven platform that goes well with the first point already discussed. What Carey is basically saying here is a church leader or pastor has to intentionally ignore the needs of the sheep that has been entrusted to him to focus on luring unsuspecting goats. Back to the article: