Home > Brian's Blogs, Discipleship > Willow Creek’s Reveal: Further Thoughts

Willow Creek’s Reveal: Further Thoughts

Just a week ago I knew nothing about Willow Creek’s recent survey and the results published on Reveal. This week I can’t seem to get away from it (especially on blogs). Although I remain interested in Willow’s upcoming survey, I’ve been challenged by a few things that I have read.

Perhaps the most interesting to me has been Mark Galli’s post for Christianity Today. Galli makes three interesting points. First, Galli is concerned about the fundamental approach to the survey: “the survey assumes that people know what helps them most and what they need the most from the church.” He concludes, “in addition to our own experiences, don’t we need the wise leadership of pastors, teachers, and especially spiritual directors to help us figure out what we really need from the church?” I agree wholeheartedly with Galli that we need the external community to truly understand ourselves and our deficiencies (Triangular Christianity!). The one thing that postmodernity has taught us is the difficulty of being completely objective on our own. So this is a good point.

Galli’s second point is that we are encouraging “spiritual narcissism by helping people become self-feeders.” He says, “the more mature we become in Jesus, the less we try to measure or chart or describe “my spiritual growth.”” This is another good point. We are so consumed with “climbing the ladder” either corporately or spiritually, that we are always positioning ourselves on a growth chart. This may not be ultimately helpful.

Galli’s final point is that a mature follower of Jesus Christ will not complain about being fed by the church, because they do not attend church to be fed: “what better place to learn to serve selflessly than in a place from which one doesn’t receive much at all!” Again, this is wonderful!

All of Galli’s points made me realize something I missed the first time I watched Reveal: what is wrong with a Christian being dependent upon the church? Willow seems concerned that they have made Christians too dependent upon the church and need to create self-feeders (see especially the Hybels video). But doesn’t God’s Word teach us that we are dependent upon the church? Doesn’t Ephesians 4 tell us that we need one another to become mature in Christ? Perhaps the difference is on the definition of church (a place versus a people). I agree that we don’t want people to be dependent upon church programs. But I think biblical Christianity insists that Christians are dependent upon the church as the people of God. Without Christian community it is impossible to become a mature follower of Jesus Christ.

I still look forward to Willow’s upcoming survey and report. I really look forward to seeing how Willow will respond. But I pray that the result is not a new Christian individualism (just me and my Bible!). I pray that the results are a new emphasis on Christian community as the means by which God works. We’ll see…

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  1. November 27, 2007 at 7:51 am

    Hello, just stopping by. Interesting on the situation. Actually, aren’t we all dependent on the Head, which is Christ? (Col 1:18).

    Joseph

  2. November 27, 2007 at 7:51 am

    Opps, I meant “Interesting *take* on the situation”

  1. July 3, 2008 at 4:35 pm

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