Monday, November 5, 2007

The Willow Creek Model of Church

There is a fascinating book out that analyzes the effectiveness of the Willow Creek/mega-church model of Christianity that has so captivated the American Evangelical scene in the last few decades. The book is the result of an in depth study, three-year study done by WCA on whether or not the corporate, program-driven approach to ministry is effective in terms of producing mature disciples of Christ. Essentially Hybels and company admit that it has not been effective in that area. Participation in "programs" does not automatically make one into a mature believer. Hybels is to be lauded for his honest and frank assessment. I would encourage everyone to check out the links above.

As Anglicans we sometimes get discouraged because our congregations are rather small, and we take that as a sign that we are not being effective, or that something is wrong with us or our tradition. But clearly that view is not accurate. Sure, many of our congregations could use a shot in the arm in various ways, and many of us could be less lethargic in terms of outreach and evangelism. But there will always be a place in our society for the small church. In fact, I think that as the world becomes more diverse and "corporate" people will start to look for small parishes where they can get some one-on-one attention from their pastor and be connected to the church of the apostolic age. There are people that only a small congregation can reach. Further, any church that does not have apostolic faith and order is lacking a major element of the Christian religion.

I believe that our day is yet to come. Although Anglicanism is going through a rough time lately in history, I believe that God will use us in a vital way in furthering His kingdom.

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