PDF Willow Creek Seeker Services: Evaluating a New Way of Doing Church

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Evangelical church-growth leaders are adamant that the marketing approach can be applied—and they have employed it—without compromising the gospel. First of all, the gospel and, more significantly, the person of Jesus Christ do not fit into any marketing strategy. Any attempt to do so compromises to some degree the truth of who Christ is and what He has done for us. See All Secondly, if you want to attract the lost on the basis of what might interest them, for the most part you will be appealing to and accommodating their flesh.

Wittingly or unwittingly, that seems to be the standard operating procedure of seeker-friendly churches. Those concerns may be lost on increasing numbers of evangelical pastors but, ironically, not on some secular observers. Behind this shift is the search for an experiential faith, a religion of the heart, not the head. From where, then, do those mega-churches, which have outfitted themselves to accommodate the unchurched, get their members?

Inside the Mind of User Friendly Evangelism

And what of the supposed horde of unchurched Harrys and Marys who have been assembled? They constitute a very small part of mega-church congregations. During his year of researching Willow Creek, G. Pritchard, in his book Willow Creek Seeker Services Baker Book House, , estimated that the targeted unchurched made up only between 10 and 15 percent of the 16, or so who attended weekend services!

If this percentage is typical among seeker-friendly churches, which likely is the case, a rather disturbing situation has developed. Thousands of churches here and abroad have completely restructured themselves as outreach centers for the unchurched. This, by the way, is not biblical. The church is for the maturing and equipping of the saints, who then go out to reach the lost.

Nevertheless, seeker-sensitive churches have turned to entertainment and conveniences in order to attract Harry and Mary and make them feel comfortable in their new church environment. In order to keep them coming back, they have avoided the thorough teaching of Scripture in favor of positive, uplifting messages designed to make them feel good about themselves.

As unchurched Harry and Mary continue to attend, they get only a vague hint of biblical truth that might bring conviction of sin and true repentance.

Evaluating a New Way of Doing Church

Worse yet, they get a psychologized view of themselves that undermines that truth. The vast majority of those who attend seeker-friendly fellowships profess to be believers. Yet most were drawn to those churches by the same worldly allurements that were meant to entice the unchurched, and they continue to attend, being fed the same biblically anemic diet created for the wooing of unbelievers. Certainly a church can grow numerically on that basis, but not spiritually.

Reward Yourself

Furthermore, there is no opportunity for believers to mature in the faith in such an environment. In defense of seeker-sensitive churches, some have argued that mid-week services are set apart for discipleship and getting into the meat of Scriptures. Consequently, week after week, the entire congregation is subjected to a diluted and leavened message.

Then, on Wednesday evening, when a fellowship is usually reduced to quarter or a third of its normal size, would it be reasonable to assume that this remnant is served a nourishing meal featuring the meat of the Word, expositional teaching, and an emphasis on sound doctrine and discipleship? Perhaps the most insidious aspect of the seeker-friendly approach to doing church is an attempt to impress the unchurched by looking to and quoting those regarded as the experts in solving all their mental, emotional, and behavioral problems: psychiatrists and psychologists.

King David had an identity crisis, the apostle Paul encouraged Timothy to do self-analysis, and Peter had a problem with boundary issues. Schwarz, C. Warren, R. Guder, D. Foundational knowledge and understanding equates to AQF Level 5 and refers to knowledge and understanding of the Christian story, message and practice using basic sources and scholarship sufficient for professional Christian work under supervision and for further learning. Developing knowledge and understanding equates to AQF Level 6 and refers to a wider range of knowledge and understanding of, and a more analytical perspective on, the Christian story, message and practice than for Level 5 using key sources and scholarship sufficient for professional Christian work under supervision and for further learning.

Functional knowledge and understanding equates to AQF Level 7 and refers to a broad and coherent knowledge and understanding of, and a critical perspective on, the Christian story, message and application, using standard sources and scholarship sufficient for autonomous professional practice in Christian ministry and for further learning.

Advanced knowledge and understanding equates to AQF Level 8 and refers to up-to-date and critical knowledge and understanding of the concepts, principles, sources and scholarship that inform the maintenance and practice of the Christian story and message in the contemporary world for enhanced professional practice and for further research-based learning. Specialised knowledge and understanding equates to AQF Level 9 and refers to advanced, research-based knowledge and understanding of the concepts, principles, sources and scholarship that inform the development and practice of the Christian story and message in the contemporary world for enhanced professional practice and for further research-based learning.

Exegete means to explain a text on the basis of close analysis and evaluation with a view to drawing out and clarifying meaning and relevance. Analysis and evaluation of the text is a multi-faceted operation which includes: ascertaining the text, consideration of grammar and syntax, drawing out the bearing of authorship, date, occasion, audience, historical and cultural background, literary genre and rhetorical conventions. The aim is to discover more about it as a basis for learning and reflection with a view to developing and improving practice.

Reflective practice is the process by which professional people deliberately and systematically review their role-performance and experience with a view to sustaining continuous learning and improvement in the way they work. By disclosing assumptions and values, revealing strengths and weaknesses, and identifying needs for particular learning and training, reflective practice is a basis of life-long learning, one of the ideals of theological education in the ACT. At every level perspectives must be evidence-based. It entails an understanding of the theoretical framework and methodology in the field of learning represented in a unit.

It entails use of the theoretical framework and methodology in the field of learning represented in a unit.

Seeker Friendly Pastor Bill Hybel's Resigns Willow Creek In Scandal

Outline means to provide a general account of a matter showing the essential features without going into close detail. Reflect means to think intentionally, carefully and systematically with a view to deepening understanding and improving practice, and to identifying areas for further learning and training.

Define means to state what something is or may become with particular reference to its boundaries and special features.


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Trace means to give an account of the essential features of a matter with particular reference to its sources and development. Account for means to give a satisfactory record of and the reasons for something. It involves both describing and explaining. Analyse means to break a matter into its component parts and to look at those parts using evidence and arguments for and against for their meaning and legitimacy and to identify the connections between them. Analysing is required at AQF level 6 and above.

Compare and contrast means to find similarities and differences between two or more elements with a view to making meaningful comment about the subject s. Critically refers to a habit of mind characterised by comprehensive exploration of evidence, texts, language, ideas, issues, perspectives and practices with reference to context, assumptions and presuppositions, usage and layers of meaning before accepting or formulating an opinion or position.

Discuss means to talk or write about a matter, identifying its various aspects and considering the issues it raises.

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Willow Creek Seeker Services (by G. A. Pritchard) - Book Review

Explain means to make clear and understandable what is meant by a word, text, concept, event, etc. Explore means to inquire or look into a matter in detail with a view to making and reporting discoveries. Evaluate means to determine the worth or fitness of perspectives and practices on the basis of criteria, evidence and analysis taking into account relevant scholarship and learning. Examine means to survey comprehensively and probe deeply with a view to determining character, quality, viability and legitimacy.

Interpret means to expound the meaning of a matter and clarify its significance. It requires rising above discrete facts and evidence to form integrated and synthetic perspectives. Review means formally to survey and assess something with a view to judging its worth, achievement, shortcomings and possible changes for improvement. Critique means to formulate an informed and considered judgment on the basis of detailed critical analysis and assessment of evidence and scholarly perspectives as an expression of advanced knowledge and understanding AQF Level 8.

Investigate means to plan and conduct a systematic inquiry into a matter with a view to identifying and sifting the relevant evidence, ascertaining and examining the facts, defining and addressing the issues, and formulating judgments and making recommendations.


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A method for achieving advanced knowledge and understanding AQF Level 8 , it represents an advance on lower AQF levels by the depth of degree and scrutiny expected and the higher levels of autonomy and responsibility involved. Integrate means to bring together unconnected elements to form a more coherent and effective whole. EM - Church Dynamics and Growth.