Monday, October 15, 2007

More Research from Reveal

The Willow Creek Church and its Association has led us through many changes and challenges over the years and it appears that we are at the watershed of another "Tipping Point". In the book, Reveal, Willow opens their research results even though some nay sayers about the "Seeker Centered Movement" would say, "We tried to tell you this for many years".

The Seeker Center Model seems to be predicated on the assumptions that "If you build it they will come" and "If they come they will encounter Christ" and "If they encounter Christ and keep coming they will grow in love, hope and charity". As indicated in an earlier chart I posted, they have discovered that "Attendance, giving and serving are not enough to always promote spiritual growth".

In fact, the surveys of a lot of people from several different churches found that after a strong first beginning, many of the people tended to "STALL". A high percentage of the growing Believers "Hit the Wall" and dropped out or became disillusioned.

They also discovered that a fairly high percentage of the "Walled and Stalled" encountered some powerful spiritual, emotional, relational problems without support to get through. These ranged from marriage and family struggles, compulsive or addictive issues, financial struggles and so on. Many were in small groups and served the poor yet they were unable to break through the "wall" themselves.

It does not appear that the Willow leaders know what to do to remedy the situation. I have some ideas but they will have to wait until a later post.

(Point of personal privilege: This same kind of issue has arisen in many other churches and groups. The people who invited me to train their Cell Group leaders in Asia had seen the same things happen. Even though they were very charismatic and promoted a great deal of healing prayer, worship and personal ministry, a high percentage of their recent converts hit walls of spiritual and emotional crises. I trained the Cell Leaders and Pastors how to minister in the cell Groups with Care and Counsel for ten years. Placing people in groups without specific care and counsel training can be a disaster.)

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