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1 “They are of the world. There- fore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of.

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Presentation on theme: "1 “They are of the world. There- fore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 “They are of the world. There- fore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error” (1 John 4:5-6). The Church Growth Movement

2 2 Obedience To The Truth Makes Men Free--Not Something Less Than The Truth. “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth … having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever” (1 Peter 1:22-23) "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:32) “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth … having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever” (1 Peter 1:22-23) "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:32)

3 3 The Message of Repentance & Purity of Life Has Been Left Out of Modern Pulpits. John preached, “Repent For The Kingdom Of Heaven Is At Hand” (Matt. 3:2) Jesus preached, “Repent For The Kingdom Of Heaven Is At Hand” (Matt. 4:17) Peter Preached, “Repent & Be Baptized For The Remission Of Sins” (Acts 2:38) Paul Preached, "Truly, These Times Of Ignorance God Overlooked, But Now Commands All Men Everywhere To Repent” (Acts 17:30) John preached, “Repent For The Kingdom Of Heaven Is At Hand” (Matt. 3:2) Jesus preached, “Repent For The Kingdom Of Heaven Is At Hand” (Matt. 4:17) Peter Preached, “Repent & Be Baptized For The Remission Of Sins” (Acts 2:38) Paul Preached, "Truly, These Times Of Ignorance God Overlooked, But Now Commands All Men Everywhere To Repent” (Acts 17:30) This Is Not A Popular Message & Will Not Attract Large Crowds Matt. 11:20-24; Jn. 6:66

4 4 The Mega-Churches Have Sprung Up In Almost Every Area of the Country & Many Are Growing Exceedingly Fast. Factors Which Have Led To Their Formation & Growth –Members & Leaders Are Baby-Boomers Who Were Influenced By The Radicals Of The Sixties –Decline In Membership Among Traditional Mainstream Denominations “At Last! A new church for those who’ve given up on traditional church services” (Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Church, p. 41). Factors Which Have Led To Their Formation & Growth –Members & Leaders Are Baby-Boomers Who Were Influenced By The Radicals Of The Sixties –Decline In Membership Among Traditional Mainstream Denominations “At Last! A new church for those who’ve given up on traditional church services” (Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Church, p. 41).

5 5 Factors Which Have Led To Their Formation & Growth (cont.) –The Downward Moral Spiral Of Mainstream Denominational Churches One suggestion made by a committee of the Presbyterian Church was to “re-evaluate its definition of sin to reflect the changing mores of society.” They also went on to say that the church should sound “a call for widening the circle of the faithful—not with children, but with non-reproductive gays, lesbians, and heterosexual singles who practice ‘safe sex.’ We feel that marriage is not what legitimates sexual gratification” (“Roll Over John Calvin,” Time Magazine, May 6, 1991, p. 59). Factors Which Have Led To Their Formation & Growth (cont.) –The Downward Moral Spiral Of Mainstream Denominational Churches One suggestion made by a committee of the Presbyterian Church was to “re-evaluate its definition of sin to reflect the changing mores of society.” They also went on to say that the church should sound “a call for widening the circle of the faithful—not with children, but with non-reproductive gays, lesbians, and heterosexual singles who practice ‘safe sex.’ We feel that marriage is not what legitimates sexual gratification” (“Roll Over John Calvin,” Time Magazine, May 6, 1991, p. 59). Methodist Condone—Abortion, Gambling, Homosexuality, Adultery, Drinking Catholics Promote—Gambling & Drinking at their Church Bazaars Episcopalians Ordain Practicing Homosexual Priests

6 6 Characteristics Of A Mega-Church A Strong Dynamic Leader Adopt A Neutral, Non- Denominational Name “Attraction Evangelism” –Rick Warren referred to Luke 14 “where Jesus compared the kingdom of God to a great banquet, the Master’s servants are to go out and invite the hungry to come in and eat, ‘so that my house may be full’” (The Purpose Driven Church, p. 235). A Strong Dynamic Leader Adopt A Neutral, Non- Denominational Name “Attraction Evangelism” –Rick Warren referred to Luke 14 “where Jesus compared the kingdom of God to a great banquet, the Master’s servants are to go out and invite the hungry to come in and eat, ‘so that my house may be full’” (The Purpose Driven Church, p. 235). Protestant Denominations Martin Luther Lutheran Church John Calvin Presbyterian Church Charles Wesley Methodist Church Joseph Smith Mormon Church Charles T. Russell Jehovah Witnesses Mary Baker Eddy Church Of Christ Scientists Mega-Churches Rick Warren Saddleback Church Bill Hybels Willow Creek Church Bob Russell Southeast Christian

7 7 Characteristics of A Mega-Church “Seeker Sensitive” Services –They emphasize “large outreach events…contemporary Christian concerts, creative presentations that utilize drama, multimedia, and the arts…men’s breakfasts, women’s luncheons, leader’s dinners” and so on to introduce the church to unbelievers (Bill Hybels, Becoming A Contagious Christian, pp ). “Seeker Sensitive” Services –They emphasize “large outreach events…contemporary Christian concerts, creative presentations that utilize drama, multimedia, and the arts…men’s breakfasts, women’s luncheons, leader’s dinners” and so on to introduce the church to unbelievers (Bill Hybels, Becoming A Contagious Christian, pp ).

8 8 Services Are As Non-Threatening As Possible For The Unchurched –“Don’t hit them over the head with everything they’re doing wrong. A lot of their sins will be dealt with after they come to Christ” (Rick Warren, A Purpose Driven Church, p. 216). Services Are As Non-Threatening As Possible For The Unchurched –“Don’t hit them over the head with everything they’re doing wrong. A lot of their sins will be dealt with after they come to Christ” (Rick Warren, A Purpose Driven Church, p. 216). Characteristics of A Mega-Church

9 9 Non- Guilt Evangelism – “Amnesty” –“No matter what you’ve done or why you left, you can come back, no questions asked” (Bill Hybels, Becoming A Contagious Christian, p. 49). –“Christians favor love over law-keeping, truth over trivialities, and faith over frenetic religious activity” (Bill Hybels, Becoming A Contagious Christian, p. 168). Non- Guilt Evangelism – “Amnesty” –“No matter what you’ve done or why you left, you can come back, no questions asked” (Bill Hybels, Becoming A Contagious Christian, p. 49). –“Christians favor love over law-keeping, truth over trivialities, and faith over frenetic religious activity” (Bill Hybels, Becoming A Contagious Christian, p. 168). Characteristics of A Mega-Church

10 10 No Point Of Doctrine Worth Contending For –Some churches have “no real vision for reaching the lost... because they are too busy debating internal policies and dealing with all kinds of in-house strife” (Bill Hybels, Becoming A Contagious Christian, p. 200). –Rick Warren warns about legalists that “erect theological walls to defend personal preferences.” (Purpose Driven Church, p. 236) No Point Of Doctrine Worth Contending For –Some churches have “no real vision for reaching the lost... because they are too busy debating internal policies and dealing with all kinds of in-house strife” (Bill Hybels, Becoming A Contagious Christian, p. 200). –Rick Warren warns about legalists that “erect theological walls to defend personal preferences.” (Purpose Driven Church, p. 236) Characteristics of A Mega-Church

11 11 “When it comes to using felt needs as an open door for evangelism, the possibilities are limitless. Saddleback has over seventy targeted ministries to the crowd and community, each built around a specific need” (Rick Warren, A Purpose Driven Church, p. 222) Myriad Of Ministries –Ministries For Any & Everything Myriad Of Ministries –Ministries For Any & Everything Characteristics of A Mega-Church High Touch Ministry Potty Training Hula Dance Ministry Life Lines (Troubled Teens) Empty Arms Ministry Peacemakers (Cops)

12 12 Worship Takes A Backseat To Entertainment –“Even going to church and worshiping God—important as these are—sometimes leave us feeling that something is missing. After all, we’ll worship God for eternity in heaven; we don’t have to be here to do that.” (Bill Hybels, Becoming A Contagious Christian, p. 23). Worship Takes A Backseat To Entertainment –“Even going to church and worshiping God—important as these are—sometimes leave us feeling that something is missing. After all, we’ll worship God for eternity in heaven; we don’t have to be here to do that.” (Bill Hybels, Becoming A Contagious Christian, p. 23). Characteristics of A Mega-Church

13 13 Characteristics of A Mega-Church Storytelling Over Bible Instruction – Criticizes “pastors” who say “We are not here to entertain.” (Rick Warren, A Purpose Driven Church, P. 232). –“I believe it is a sin to bore people with the Bible.” (Rick Warren, A Purpose Driven Church, P. 231).

14 14 Storytelling Over Bible Instruction –“Stories stir our emotions. They impact us in ways that precepts and propositions never do. If you want to change lives, you must craft your message for impact, not information” (Rick Warren, A Purpose Driven Church, p. 232). Storytelling Over Bible Instruction –“Stories stir our emotions. They impact us in ways that precepts and propositions never do. If you want to change lives, you must craft your message for impact, not information” (Rick Warren, A Purpose Driven Church, p. 232). Characteristics of A Mega-Church

15 15 Characteristics of Mega-Churches Dynamic Leader New Neutral Name Attraction Evangelism Seeker-Sensitive Services –Non-Threatening Services –Non-Guilt Evangelism No Contending For The Faith Many Ministries For Felt Needs Entertainment Over Worship Storytelling Over Bible Instruction

16 16 How Do Mega-Churches Affect Us? Vacation Bible schools geared toward fun instead of Bible instruction: –Secular activities planned after every VBS service—zoo trips, outings to the park, trips to pizza parlors, etc. –Emphasis placed on fun during the educational portion of the school. –Plays worked on and acted out for audiences. –Limbo in the auditorium. –Tents and basketball goals in the parking lot. Vacation Bible schools geared toward fun instead of Bible instruction: –Secular activities planned after every VBS service—zoo trips, outings to the park, trips to pizza parlors, etc. –Emphasis placed on fun during the educational portion of the school. –Plays worked on and acted out for audiences. –Limbo in the auditorium. –Tents and basketball goals in the parking lot.

17 17 Changes in preaching: –Non-controversial message: don’t call names; don’t offend. –Not make hearers feel guilty. –Positive Projection from the Pulpit: cover controversial and negative issues in classes. –Less Scripture and almost no application. –Over-emphasis on personal stories, humor. –No plan of salvation given when offering the invitation. –Seminars with no prayers, no Bible allowed, no reference to God by name. – More emphasis on presentation than content; feelings than truth. Changes in preaching: –Non-controversial message: don’t call names; don’t offend. –Not make hearers feel guilty. –Positive Projection from the Pulpit: cover controversial and negative issues in classes. –Less Scripture and almost no application. –Over-emphasis on personal stories, humor. –No plan of salvation given when offering the invitation. –Seminars with no prayers, no Bible allowed, no reference to God by name. – More emphasis on presentation than content; feelings than truth. How Do Mega-Churches Affect Us?

18 18 Drama videos played during youth lectures. Youth lecture advertisements that advertise the secular with spiritual. Churches changing their name to non- offending names. Change services to accommodate secular activities—Super Bowl, basketball games, & high school events, etc. Willingness to fellowship false teachers, especially if they are popular and attract a crowd. Refusal to publicly discuss current issues and questions among us. Drama videos played during youth lectures. Youth lecture advertisements that advertise the secular with spiritual. Churches changing their name to non- offending names. Change services to accommodate secular activities—Super Bowl, basketball games, & high school events, etc. Willingness to fellowship false teachers, especially if they are popular and attract a crowd. Refusal to publicly discuss current issues and questions among us. How Do Mega-Churches Affect Us?

19 19 What Saith The Scriptures? The Bible Is A Complete Guide – 2 Tim. 3:16-17; Psa. 119:105 Man Has Always Rejected The Perfect For The Imperfect – 2 Sam. 8:5; 1 Kgs. 12:8-14 The Light Is In God’s Word – Isa. 8:20 The Bible Is A Complete Guide – 2 Tim. 3:16-17; Psa. 119:105 Man Has Always Rejected The Perfect For The Imperfect – 2 Sam. 8:5; 1 Kgs. 12:8-14 The Light Is In God’s Word – Isa. 8:20

20 20 There Is Always A Demand For Soft Preaching & Preachers Who Will Satisfy the Demand That this is a rebellious people, Lying children, Children who will not hear the law of the LORD; Who say to the seers, "Do not see," And to the prophets, "Do not prophesy to us right things; Speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits. (Isaiah 30:9-10) "An astonishing and horrible thing Has been committed in the land: The prophets prophesy falsely, And the priests rule by their own power; And My people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end? (Jeremiah 5:30-31) That this is a rebellious people, Lying children, Children who will not hear the law of the LORD; Who say to the seers, "Do not see," And to the prophets, "Do not prophesy to us right things; Speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits. (Isaiah 30:9-10) "An astonishing and horrible thing Has been committed in the land: The prophets prophesy falsely, And the priests rule by their own power; And My people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end? (Jeremiah 5:30-31) Jeremiah 6:13-16

21 21 Preach the Word (2 Tim. 4:2) Preach To Please God (1 Thess. 2:4) Preach The Whole Counsel (Acts 20:27) Preach The Truth In Love (Eph. 4:15) Preach the Word (2 Tim. 4:2) Preach To Please God (1 Thess. 2:4) Preach The Whole Counsel (Acts 20:27) Preach The Truth In Love (Eph. 4:15) Preacher’s Responsibility “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (Romans 1:16).

22 22 Obedience To The Truth Believe Gospel – Mk. 16:16Believe Gospel – Mk. 16:16 Confess Faith – Acts 8:37Confess Faith – Acts 8:37 Repent of Sins – Acts 17:30Repent of Sins – Acts 17:30 Be Baptized – Acts 2:38Be Baptized – Acts 2:38


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