I am not trying take this time to bash Willowcreek but I am tipping my hat to them for admitting their errors and continuing to seek God regarding how they are supposed to do things. It is easy when you are one of the most ‘successful’ churches in the country to just put it into cruise and maintain but they are not doing that, so kudos to them. And secondly for admitting their mistake to a global audience and doing their best to correct what their influence may have caused.
For those of you who haven’t had a chance to read it yet, I suggest you start with this article. And if you have time watch the video’s the one with Greg Hawkins almost had me jumping out of my chair and screaming “YES, thank you!!!” but I was at work.
Basically, Willowcreek has discovered that the popular model of church which says “participation in church activities produces disciples” just ain’t so, that simply being part of churchianity doesn’t make you any more of a disciple (defined by WC as one who is characterized by their love of God and love of people). They have done surveys of 31 congregations including their own and have found 5 segments of the church population — Exploring, growing, close, centered and stalled. Their discover it that the church is really only doing well meeting the needs of the ‘early’ explorers and growers but as people grow enough in their relation ship to ‘centered’ on Christ they are more dissatisfied with church and they either leave or ‘stall’. Oddly enough they also discovered that those people who have their lives centered on Christ are the most likely to be dissatisfied with church and looking to leave.
I couldn’t help but screaming “Duh!” it is the way I have felt about the local church for quite some time, but perhaps when one of the worlds most influential churches says it someone will listen. This probably has been one of the best things I have read in quite some time, and it may very well change the face of many local churches.
Please make time to watch the videos linked in the article or here because I believe this may be world changing.
Greg Hawkins short version (3 minutes)
Greg Hawkins Long version (13 mintes)
Key finding of WillowCreek Study — If you can’t watch the videos.