The thesis of The Purpose Driven Church is that when churches think first about their health, growth is sure to follow. "If your church is healthy," writes Rick Warren, "growth will occur naturally. Healthy, consistent growth is the result of balancing the five biblical purposes of the church." These five purposes are to "Love the Lord with all your heart," "Love your neighbor as yourself," "Go and make disciples," "[Baptize] them," and "[Teach] them to obey." And those purposes can only be accomplished, argues Warren, when church leaders stop thinking about church-building programs and shift their focus to a "people-building process" involving fellowship, discipleship, worship, and evangelism. Warren, the founder of the fastest-growing Baptist church in American history, has taught seminars to thousands of pastors from all over the world, many of whom have successfully implemented his techniques.
"Every church is driven by something. Tradition, finances, programs, personalities, events, seekers, and even buildings can each be the controlling force in a church. But Rick Warren believers that in order for a church to be healthy it must become a purpose-driven church by Jesus. Now the founding pastor of Saddleback Church shares a proven five-part strategy that will enable your church to grow. . .- Warmer through fellowship - Deeper through discipleship - Stronger through worship - Broader through ministry - Larger through evangelism. Discover the same practical insights and principles for growing a healthy church that Rick has taught in seminars to over 22,000 pastors and church leaders from sixty denominations and forty-two countries. The Purpose-Driven Church- shifts the focus away from church building programs to emphasizing a people-building process. Warren says, "If you will concentrate on building people, God will build the church."
quite satisfied The book I ordered was delivered to me very rapidly and in excelent condition. I am quite satisfied ...more info
Good Study Guide The Purpose-Driven Church: Growth Without Compromising Your Message & Mission by Rick Warren is like a outline on how to grow a happy, healthy church. According to the author a healthy church is a growing church. Warren outlines five biblical purposes of the church. The first two is as Jesus said "Love the Lord with all your heart and all your soul," "Love your neighbor as yourself," than "Go and make disciples," after which "Baptize them' and finally "Teach them to obey".
After you read this book it may be a good time to consider reading my book entitled "The Enlightenment, What God Told Me After One Million Prayers, a Message for Everyone" (See Profile Above)
The Best Book Ever Written on Church Growth This is easily the best book ever written on Church Growth. Rick Waren does a great job of dispelling the myths about "Mega Churches" and explaining the biblical principles that drive the growth of large churches....more info
Prompt and efficent service The book arrived above my expectations on time and in good shape, very rarely am I ever dissapointed in the sellers, I will continue to order from this seller...more info
Scripture-twisting at its worst The Purpose Driven Life misused Scripture by taking it out of context and twisting it to mean things it was never intended to. The Purpose Driven Church is even worse. I bought this to see if I could figure out what was happening to my church and I did. While the book is subtitled "Growth Without Compromise", Warren's whole focus seems to be "growth at any cost." Any method that draws a crowd is considered successful. The Bible says that the world will hate you if you truly follow Christ. Warren is loved by the world and rightly so. He sings the world's song of giving people what they want and trying to make them feel "comfortable". The Bible shows a true encounter with God to be anything but "comfortable" as any number of passages show (Isaiah 6:1-5 for example) He tries to use the verse that says "sing to the Lord a new song" to show that we should no longer sing older hymns and uses Psalm 40:3 to "prove" that music is necessary for evangelism, totally ignoring the fact that this verse doesn't say that, as a cursory reading of verses 1&2 will quickly show. If you want to grow a church fast, this is the book for you. If you want to grow a church that is deeply rooted in the Word of God and founded on uncompromising truth, steer clear of the methods in this book. As someone once said, "God takes 200 years to grow an oak tree. He can grow a mushroom overnight. What kind of Christian do you want to be?" By his standards, the most God-honoring "churches" would be pro football teams and NASCAR -- they draw a larger crowd on Sundays than any church I know....more info
The Purpose is to make people feel good and join. The Purpose Driven, or seeker friendly movement makes the gospel secondary to a friendly, enjoyable church experience. the tragedy is that people will think they are saved when they are not. This is fool's gold. It's the latest church deception which thousands of pastors are buying into. ...more info
It's beginning to Scare Me At first, I was enamored by the "Purpose Driven Church." But, to my shame I didn't look deeper into the poor Bible translations used. I was caught uo in the hype. Qouting Robert Schuller as an example of successful ministry is bordering on heresy! Charging $4.00 a sermon on his (Rick Warren's)website is fleecing the flock. If you are a millionaire due to the success of the "Purpose Driven" books, why keep on raking in the bucks? Something doesn't sound right. Most churches are buying into the hype, line, hook, and sinker. It's all starting to scare me. Remember,the serpent in the garden mixed some truth into his lies. Is all this part of the great apostacy? We need to fast and pray for God to bring revival and church growth, the way the apostles and the great men of prayer (Mueller, Luther, Spurgeon, etc.) did! Look up! Your redemption is drawing near! ...more info
This Is The Bomb Praise God!! I started read this book and I could not put it down Rick really broke things down so that you can understand it I know that if the church I go to puts these things into action then we will be blessed GOD BLESS RICK WARREN AND KEEP ON DOING GODS WORK!!...more info
A great book for all Christian leaders If your church is interested in winning the lost to Christ, everyone in leadership should read this book and then decide together what they should do to build on the great ideas here. Warren has many critics who claim his methods aren't biblical. It's clear they haven't read this book. This is the most biblical book about how to "do church" that I have read. Full of good ideas, many of which I hope our church will implement or at least consider....more info
Poor Ecclessiology Demonstrated As I began this read, I was immediately aware that his choice of Scripture quotations would constantly be switching English translations, usually using the poorest of them, i.e. The Living Bible, TEB. Therefore, I immediately started jotting down next to Warren's a solid translation, e.g. NASB, and found considerable doubt being shed on Warren's whole premises for "the purpose driven church" as he postulates it.
The church is not purpose driven to recruit more people for the pews, it is for the purpose of saving souls, of justification. This Warren, many would argue, is exactly what he writes about, but the truth be known, it is anything but this. Forgiveness of sins through faith in Christ's gospel must be at the core and center, and it must have prominence and dominance over everything else. Warren permits and promotes other needs to circumvent and override this.
Then as the kicker, he even relates that copying what Saddleback has done is not to be followed, that it won't work in every other setting. What is going on here? Where is the assurance that if we preach and teach the truth of God's Word purely that He will bless? This is shame and shamble of this whole movement to consumerism and leadership by sayings and principles that are not Biblical. Check them out in a good English translation, such as New American Standard. Better yet, find yourself a pastor who can work in the original languages (Hebrew and Greek) and he'll tell you that NASB is head and shoulders superior to the ones Warren puts all his case upon.
The church of Jesus Christ needs only turn to its Lord and continue to faithfully proclaim His desire: that repentance for forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all the peoples (Luke 24:47). That and only that message clearly and purely proclaimed in all the church will and can grow the church and God's kingdom....more info
Saddleback Sam: Soul or Customer? As the book which launched the celebrity of a California "mega-church" Baptist preacher, this includes all the elements needed to get an instant readership in our paradoxically technocratic but fanatical times-a simply stated, pop-culture-anecdote-laden, "can't miss" manual that promises "sure-fire" results-very much a management-theory treatise in religious garb. But in fact, Warren is merely distilling and condensing much of the ink spilled from the 1970s onward in both mainline and evangelical Protestant circles (chiefly the former) when declining worship participation and actual membership set off alarms, thereby prompting the creation of a sort of cottage industry within theological seminaries and denominational bureaucracies-the "church growth" phenomenon. So Warren is not so much a pioneer as he is a popularizer. Whether the popularity of the book indicates a growing concern on the part of the average church member about the subject or, rather, the growing power of aggressive personalities in many pulpits who intimidate their parishioners into dealing with the subject can likely never be proved. And it becomes sadly apparent that his lifestyle-oriented evangelistic tactics cannot really be dissociated from his conservative evangelical theology and ideology. One signpost of this is the final sentence in the second paragraph in chapter 9, "Who Is Your Target?": "Bringing people to Christ is too important a task for us to have such a casual attitude toward it." As most people well know, the demand to "win souls for Christ" usually crowds out other legitimate concerns in evangelical settings. And what is more, the burden is placed upon human effort in persuading people to accept the Gospel and/or join the church, with little or no reference to the role of the Holy Spirit. In other words, we have a classic statement of Pelagianism, works righteousness. Continuing with the premise that "there is not a local church anywhere that can reach everybody. Because human beings are so different, no single church can possibly reach everyone," we have the first in a set of commonplaces, ideas which are so much accepted at face value that no one bothers to examine their validity. The reason Warren espouses those particular views is that his heritage is sectarian; that is to say, he conceives of a particular congregation being self-sufficient and complete in itself, not necessarily needing the guidance or fellowship of other churches, even those identical in practice and outlook. His seeming embrace of "diversity" is in fact a mask for a more basic homogeneity, as it is all but certain that he does not approve of widespread theological dissent within a congregation. All is pragmatic, in other words. Then, the analogy of radio stations makes clear his views about much of American life as matters of preference. One gets the notion that Warren regards demographics as sacred, as something that cannot be questioned. His five categories on page 163 (age, marital status, income, education, occupation) are followed by an emphatic, unequivocal declaration: "Each of these factors will influence how you minister to people and how you communicate the Good News." For an evangelical, Warren astonishingly does not bother to subject the criteria to "biblical" proof-texting. What that means is that he can proceed with formulating his methods, his "how", without a truly constant and frequent reminder of the "why". Should "Saddleback Sam" (pages 169-172) really strike anyone as very different from a "Joe Six-Pack" or other fantasy-ideational constructs that corporate managers populate their very lives with daily? Did it ever occur to Warren that Sam might in fact not be among God's elect? Could not one imagine that Sam is none other than the rich young ruler who rejected Jesus' demand that he sell his possessions (Matthew 19:16-22) or even the wealthy man who left Lazarus outside his gate to die? (Luke 16:19-30) The fact that Warren does not broach the matter indicates one thing to this writer: Sam is a customer, not the "lost soul" that revivalists of an earlier day would have perceived. Further, the remaining chapters of the third part of the book are predicated upon locating as many Saddleback Sams in a church's neighborhood as can be found and essentially resorting to a marketing strategy indistinguishable from, say, promoting a new nightclub. Just add a little pious language and much "seeker-friendly" language and it becomes quite appetizing. But is it nutritious? Does it really strengthen one for taking up the cross and foregoing the convenient, the pleasing, even the safe? (Mark 8:34-36) All in all, Warren and the moguls of the mega-church movement basically betray their collaboration with the dominant culture: winning is everything, the ends justify the means ("law" is acceptable, but not a disciplined ethics), the church must prove God's majesty by gaining influence among the "principalities and powers" (hence the rise of not only the Religious Right as a partner in the coalition that presently governs the U.S., but the pathetic and feeble attempts to emulate their success by white liberals and African-American preachers). America's true religion is not Christianity, really; it is the mythology of "success". And much of what passes as "Bible-believing" these days is mainly a projection of the values of our late-capitalist (it must be stressed that we are not talking about the ethos described by Max Weber), consumerist ideology upon the institutions and myth-structures of historical Protestant churches. If the historic churches offer any resistance, then new ones may be built without any guilt. In summary, the few valuable insights Warren affords about method, which mainly concern targeting and promotion are not original; they mainly serve to justify natural tendencies of an institution to perpetuate itself-why does one need to spend money on a book just to have a sounding-board for things one plans to do anyway? Likely the answer is "everybody's doing it."...more info
I'm Sure It's Meant To Help, But I see alot of churches popping up based off this book and I have even attended. But I've noticed that many are trying to be "pop" churches, some to the effect of making the church seem cheap. And they are all looking more to this book than the actual Bible, which should be the real insperation for church building....more info
Not very good.. I could only read an hour of this. I really liked, 'Purpose Driven Life' but this is hardly as good....more info
Adopting North American Culture Both Good and Bad There has been a movement among missionaries and mission boards to encourage indigenous churches rather than merely exporting our culture to the rest of the world. The argument runs that the Gospel must always be enfleshed or embodied in a people and its culture. We cannot deny that the Good News of Jesus Christ must be spoken in particular human languages. Forcing Africans to worship like Scotsmen, does a disservice to African culture and the Gospel.
As I read Rick Warren's book, the Purpose Driven Church, I thought about this current trend in mission. Whether we like it or not, Rick Warren's Saddleback Church is a church indigenous to Southern California at the end of the twentieth century. Warren has attempted to translate the Gospel into the language of young, suburban professionals. As Paul quoted Stoic poets on Mars Hill, Rick Warren can comfortably quote Peter Drucker and utilize the marketing techniques of Starbucks. Anyone interested doing ministry in this culture can learn something from this book, especially if we take Rick Warren at his word--"Read this book like you'd eat fish: Pick out the meat and throw away the bones" (pg 71).
That being said, there is a danger. As the Gospel is expressed in culture, it must also critique the culture. Our sinfulness is pervasive, and the Gospel should expose the evils of our culture for what they are. Rick Warren subtitles his book, "Growth Without Compromising Your Message and Mission," but on several instances he compromises the Good News to the culture.
For example, we live in a self-segregated society. We routinely segregate white from black, rich from poor, and young from old. The Purpose Drive Church perpetuates these separation by slavishly focusing on target audiences. A church filled with only Saddleback Sams and Samanthas are a betrayal to Pentecost where "your sons and your daughters will prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams" (Acts 1:17-21). Rick Warren may suggest that Saddleback is only part of the greater Church. Others may be called to evangelize other target audiences. He states, "I feel right at home with entrepreneurial businessmen, managers, and professions. In fact, I've noticed that they are attracted to my ministry. It's nothing I planned, it's just the way God wired me" (pg 176). Perhaps that is true, but it reminds me of an observation that a friend made in seminary, "Isn't amazing that God calls so many people to pastor affluent, white suburban churches?"
We also live in a competitive culture which is inherently results-oriented. On occasion Rick Warren seems to replace the grace of God with a works-righteousness preached by the culture. In the beginning of the book, the author writes, "Only God makes the church grow" (pg 14). Later however, he uses the Bible's teaching on fruitfulness as a guilt trip. He states, "God expects both faithfulness and fruitfulness" (pg 62). Although he quotes from John 15, nothing is made of Jesus' admonition: "He who abides in me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from me you can do nothing." Fruitfulness grows out of faithfulness. Moreover, Rick Warren exclusively defines fruitfulness as conversions: "The fruit of a believer is another believer" (pg 63). There is no mention of the fruit of the Spirit. Rick Warren seems to imply that churches which are not growing, must not be bearing any fruit.
Rick Warren does have some important things to say. I appreciate his desire to move Christians beyond membership and into ministry and mission. Three cheers for his statement: "I believe that you measure the health or strength of a church by its sending capacity rather than its seating capacity" (pg 32). Nonetheless, while reaching out to the culture, the Purpose Driven Church should beware becoming too much like the culture....more info
PRACTICAL I've been in the ministry for 12 years and most of that time felt lost in terms of allowing God to grow His church. I would pray and seek His face, but it just seemed that when things would happen, it would kinda happen haphazardly.
Purpose Driven church gave me the tools to think through and be intentional about the purposes of the church. It provided an important model for me to be proactive in helping the church do what it is called to do. Thanks Rick!
For church builders... in other words YOU not just Pastors It's sad that a lot of people will read Warren's Purpose-Driven Life book (and they should) and get so much out of it, and then they might even pick this one up but then... they may put it back thinking it's for a Deacon board but not for the average Christian.
Yes, this entire book is about building a church. yes, a Pastor will richly receive incredibly useful, hands-on advice on the best way to grow a congregation, but what often is overlooked here is that the congregational members should ALSO understand how to grow the church! The church IS the congregation!!!
I assure you that if you are a church member and hold no position of authority in that church, and if you are the ONLY one who reads this book, you STILL will be able to grow your church in many ways. Wouldn't it be nice to know that you helped to increase the congregation, NOT to add to numbers but to add to God's Kingdom?...more info
I thought we weren't supposed to conform to the world??? I wish I could give this book a minus star because its set a terrible example and is causing many sheep to starve. Rick Warren encourages pastors to run their church like a corporation using statistics and surveys to determine what message to preach and what music to play, etc.. This is so sad and is an example of the state of the church(in the USA) right now. The whole seeker friendly movement is causing much damage to the Body of Christ.
PASTORS, if you want your church to grow then start praying, fasting and seeking God's face again!! Don't run to Egypt! Stop robbing the people, Pastors. If you want to be a CEO resign from your church and go secular. Otherwise come back to preaching the Cross! Preach Christ and Him crucified!!...more info
The Razor's Edge My recent reading infuriates me. The book is "The Purpose Driven Church" by Rick Warren. At times, my heart breaks as I consider the misleading, misquoting and misrepresentation of Christ and His Word. At other times, I am furious and amazed that a preacher with a doctorate (albeit from Fuller) can handle God's Word so cavalier. How daring to quote Christ out of context! How brazen to emphasize words that aren't even in the text! How bold to pick and choose particular translations to prove your point! All this is from a revered pastor of the largest church in America. I suppose I am at most times simply aghast.
But at the same time, other portions of the book are touching and sincere. There is a palpable desire to reach the lost. This is why I believe this current pragmatic church movement - "reach the lost at any cost" coupled with "never criticize what God's is [sic] blessing" - is the razor's edge of Christianity. It is a watershed, but that doesn't make it novel. This episode reminds me of Sir Thomas Moore in A Man for All Seasons who realized that if you concede your beliefs, you lose your being. It reminds as well of Charles Spurgeon's battle with his United Baptists or Francis Shaeffer's battle with his heretofore-conservative Presbyterians. This is our defining moment. Yet at this moment, with the exception of John McArthur, most acquiesce while others remain mute - perhaps confused, perhaps uncertain. To be sure, there is a shrill wing that cries foul when Warren uses any translation but King James with shrieks of "Heretic!" I want nothing to do with them. And it may be too late anyhow. The pragmatic movement has formed deep roots - as textual criticisms and intellectualism did a century ago. The impact has already radiated through Christianity although the full affect on the Church is yet to be calculated. I fear it will be many millions.
You may recall a gent named Charles Darwin, a little periodical called The Origin of Species and the ensuing shockwaves delivered and still felt to this day. For the pragmatists, their Darwin is Peter Drucker, expert business evangelist and marketeer. I don't recall the pivotal figure that drank in Origin and transformed Hyde-like into this hideous beast of Christio-modernism. But the hand and draught of pragmatism today is George Barna and Rick Warren.
Barna is particularly astonishing. His own surveys reveal "just 38% of the adult public have confessed their sins and accepted Christ as their savior, [yet] 99% claim they will not go to Hell after they die. In fact, a majority of Americans do not believe that Satan exists and most adults are leery about the existence of Hell." Still, he has promoted a seriously watered down (if not devoid) Gospel that caters to unbeliever's "felt needs". Warren, who's book prompted me, genuinely desires to reach the lost. But he too has turned off the path, also "targeting" the "felt needs" of unbelievers all under the guise of a successful ministry. Would that Warren remember God's admonishment to Joshua: "Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful." (Joshua 1:8)
Would that he imitate Paul: "For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel - not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.... For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified." (1 Co 1:17,2:2)
Warren on one page claims to be drawing a line of which he will not cross - never compromising the Word - and pages later crosses the line and encourages you to come along for the ride. The subtitle of the book is subtly revealing: "Growth without Compromising Your Message & Mission." Notice it is your message and mission that is not compromised, not God's. And your message is left decidedly up to you. Warren's message is intentionally compacted into five "purposes" which he draws from a few passages in Scripture. No biblically based Christian would on the surface disagree with them - they are attractive, satisfying, and ring true. But they are intentionally weakly defined. So it should be no surprise that "hundreds of churches" from "dozens" of denominations have adopted this method and (presumably) purposes. It is easy, inoffensive, and energizing. It is pragmatic in the fullest sense of the word.
It is pragmatic and successful. The book has sold over a million copies, his Saddleback church is packed with well over 15,000 "Saddleback Sam's and Samatha's" in attendance each week. He has launched a web site to "encourage pastors, ministers, and church leaders with tools and resources for growing healthy churches." Apparently everything Warren does has a purpose - and pastor.com charges for it. One wonders how honestly Warren wishes to help others when he charges $4 a sermon (and $4 extra for the accompanying PowerPoint slides). Even "Purpose Driven" is now a registered trademark. Pragmatic to the end, eh?...more info
Finally, A Balanced Approach Maybe I found this book to be a gift from God because it met my needs. I carefully read this book 3 times cover to cover before attending Rick Warren's seminar in Va. Oct.'03. Two things stood out: 1) The book is great but one should follow up with seminar to get the most out of it. There are gaps in the book that the seminar takes care of. 2) Do NOT attend a seminar till you have first the book or you will be lost. I have read many church growth books over 30 years and can say that this is finally a balanced approach to the subject. A balance between God's Word; man's methods and the Holy Spirit leading....more info
The Book Lives Up To Its Claims! One of the first things presented in this book is that the principles that work at the Saddleback Church, may not work everywhere. The name Rick Warren gets tossed around by those who praise him and by those who blame him. But he declares right away that these are not universal principles.
That said, this is a well written book that reads smoothly and provides a fresh approach to evangelism. This is a book for church leaders. My fear is that church members will decide their pastor is not doing his job because he doesn't practice the Purpose Driven Church principles.
If a person wants their pastor to consider the things presented in this book, buy the book for him, but don't read the book yourself and then try to implement the practices described inside.
Church's that begin as Purpose Driven Churches will be much more effective in applying these principles than a church that is already established.
Read this book with caution and don't change churches because you think this sounds exciting....more info
Dangerously Unbiblical The Purpose-Driven Church is based on the (unbiblical) concept that we should aim to make sinners feel comfortable at church. This concept ignores the fact that the church meeting is not for the sinner (although sinners should be welcomed if they do attend), but for the church, and we should be focusing in those meetings on building up the church.
Dr. Warren SAYS that the gospel should not be compromised, but contradicts himself by compromising it consistently. He speaks of preaching only "positive" messages, despite the fact that there can be no good news without the bad news that we're all sinners and headed for hell. He believes in avoiding the Greek and Hebrew entirely in favor of building "confidence in the English versions". The English versions he uses, however, are usually paraphrases and the poorest of translations, as he uses whatever is most convenient for making his immediate point. In the main text of this book he quotes "Scripture" 194 times. One quote is from the Jerusalem Bible, a Roman Catholic translation. Sixty are from miscellaneous paraphrases, such as the Message, the Contemporary English Version, Phillips, the New Living Translation, etc. One hundred twenty of those are unspecified, which supposedly (according to the title page) makes them from the NIV (the least accurate version which can be called a translation), although the one I looked up was not; it was paraphrased, too. Only thirteen of those quotes were from accurate translations (NASB-8, KJV-3, and NRSV-2). Often his point is dependent upon a word or phrase which only exists in one particular paraphrase. Many other points are dependent on twisting the meaning of Scripture.
If you can get around the awful exegesis and bad doctrine, there are some good things to be gleaned. The idea of writing out your fellowship's vision and keeping members mindful of it is wise. Also, chapters 17-19, about membership, discipleship, and ministry, contain information about commitment which most churches could benefit from reading.
My overall recommendation, though, is don't buy your own copy; borrow one and read it with a grain of salt. (Oh, and look up all those paraphrased quotes in a real Bible.)...more info
McDonald's theology!!! So now we're reduced to mega-church marketing strategies, and spiffy songs with not much meaning, and "big is better" ideas. What have we come to? Oh, sure, Mr. Warren is in big demand, and maybe he has a great vision, but does his methodology work in other countries, or just in this vast consumer ocean called the United States?
Maybe we ought to really look at what he is asking for, and really ask the question about whether his methods are really biblical or business oriented. Madison Avenue doesn't run the church nor does "feel good" theology stand the test of time. There is a Scripture verse which states to beware when men think highly of you. Maybe Rick should heed this....more info
The right way to think on growing a church Many of the negative critiques I've read of this book show that the author of the critique didn't read it very well. Rick's first statement is that the Gospel cannot be comprimised. Everything else is fair game. For those who don't believe this, I assume then that your church services are preached in hebrew, aramic and ancient greek as it was written? Cultures change and the method for spreading the word must as well. The purpose driven church is a road map for your church to execute powerfully the great commision.
Rick's book gives a powerful, refreshing insight into how to build a healthy, loving church and fulfill the great commision and execute the two greatest commandments....more info
Good intentions, lacking methodology Warren no doubt has a passion for bringing the "unchurched" into the church. That certainly is not where I would critique Warren's thinking. Nor would I offer a critique on the fine points of Warren's method. What I would ask readers to take into account is the overarching system of thought that is foundational to Warren's method. Understanding that the Church in North America exists in a consumer society, Warren suggests a marketing plan that, in his view, will most effectively spread the Gospel message. The most troublesome notion here is that the Gospel is reduced to something that the Church is out to market, instead of the Gospel being the driving force behind the life, practice and theology of the Church. Instead of the Gospel itself informing the practices of the Church, a marketing plan, inherent to Warren's five purposes, shapes the vitality of the Church. While Warren's passion to spread the message of Jesus is most admirable, a note of caution to readers should be sounded. The Church may very well be a body of believers who should see the Gospel as a way to live, letting the message of Jesus shape life among the believers and thus being a witness to those on the outside, instead of making the Gospel something to market to the outside, losing sight of the method that is found within the Gospel itself....more info
I hate big churches Why is everyone rushing to start big churches with thousands of members? How can you possibly have fellowship with thousands of people? I can only know a handful of people. I hate big churches with big crowds and loud, unmemorable music. There is no room for silence or getting to know anyone....more info
Welcome to the mall - I mean church If Rick Warren and other mega-church advocates had their way every church would consist of insipid contemporary christian pop jingles for music, a message totally void of any discussion of law or judgment or why Jesus had to die on the cross, congregations would all be full of yuppies with cell phones going off during the service, denominational differences would no longer exist, theology would be reduced to a condensed and lite version, etc. Warren has ripped off the marketing bums (the same ones who profile you according to your wealth as determined by your zip code and fill your mailbox with direct marketing) and taken these annoying techniques of salesmen to hypnotize the church into abandoning anything that doesn't build up numbers and tithes. It is a disgusting and typically american approach. Problems about feminism, sexuality, theology, are all brushed aside. Sermons become dumbed down feel good talks. Services become multi media side shows reminiscent of dance clubs. Tasteless and annoying. If this is the future of the church forgive me if I throw up....more info
UNBELIEVABLE!!!! The following were quotes from above reviewers:
Sin, redemption, repentance are not mentioned. The whole Gospel is not preached.
Warren's ideal is a come-casual, dress-down, informal service that's not much different from hanging out at the local mall (no shirt, no shoes, no problem).
Warren leaves the impression that Christ is not the all in all from whom we have life, but a sidekick as we execute the plans that He has apparently given us in scripture.
Rick Warren has managed to create a craze that is based on man's own desires rather than God's will. He encourages the watering-down of the gospel to appeal to his "Saddleback Sam" model of mankind. He encourages getting rid of church members who get in the way of "progress".
Now, my take on the book and a few reviewers.
I find it extremely difficult to fathom how God fearing/loving individuals could be so narrow minded towards their approach of worship and the church. Believers in Islam and other various cults are identical in their interpretation and thought processes regarding worship. The idea that God has some how outlined and mandated a form of worship and evangelism based on hairstyles, clothing, and musical instruments is flat out false. Rich Warren's approach in his Church and faith building principles do not violate or contradict the standards laid down by God. Those whom disagree with Rich make verbal attacks and speak negatively (all against God's commandments) utilizing sleek cliches and anecdotes thereby justifying their beliefs. Contrary to the above reviewers the Holy Spirit is alive and well within a "live" church regardless of style provided God and Jesus are the main focus. If God was against a particular style it would be quoted or stated as such, plus the Holy Spirit would NOT be alive and well within these churches. Instead of a fire and brimstone approach to theology (all which drives the nonbelievers and some believers away from God) Rich's approach has foundation in love and acceptance but with sound discipline. It's saddening and disheartening to realize that individuals whom call themselves Christians and followers of Christ and God's word wish to live sheltered....more info
This Church Leadership Book is a Must I am at a total loss at some of the negative and nasty reviews some people have written. I found this book very well thought out, intelligent, well written and chock full of applicaple idea that any church could use and needs to use. Whether you wans to find out how to enlarge your congregation or bring the one you are part of to life, this book will have some very importatn ideas for you to use. It inspires and is loaded with sould ideas. See my book, Reading Thomas Merton: His Life and Work,...more info
a must read You don't have to accept everything he proposed in this book but I do like the fact that he is straight to the point and is very helpful. Personally I didn't accept it all, but this book is very very very helpful, and I will use many of the things that I learned from this book... I recommend this book to the leaders of the church. for me the book worth more than 20 dollars it costs....more info
The carnal mind... I have to agree with the negative critiques previously submitted. It is indeed an expression of the Laodicean Age's religiosity and teeters on heresy. Too strong? I don't expect nonChristians to understand Christian terminology, concepts, precepts, etc., any more than someone studying accounting for the first time understands accounting terminology. The true accounting however will come from the expressed expectations given to the Church to teach new believers proper dogma and appropriate spiritual behaviors. No wonder the Church in the Laodicean Age has become so pathetically weak and ineffective unless applying business principles of sales, marketing, and management techniques. Nothing new under the sun. I've heard this nonsense before. And the consequences follow the victims forever......more info
Book Review - The Purpose Driven Church There is little doubt that many modern churches are failing to grow and flourish. New churches are planted only to wither and die while established churches are stagnant, growing only from within. Rick Warren, pastor and founder of one of America's largest churches, Saddleback Valley Community Church, wrote The Purpose Driven Church to address the failures of today's churches. The book outlines the principles he used to establish his church and seeks to apply these principles to all churches, whether they are established or newly planted. Since it's publication in 1995, this book has served as a manual to thousands of other churches and Warren's model has been used across the globe to start a whole new breed of church. Terms you may hear in association with this model are "Purpose Driven" and "church growth movement."
Warren's approach centers on something that is startling in its simplicity. Every church needs to be defined by a purpose. Warren states, "Until you know what your church exists for, you have no foundation, no motivation, and no direction for ministry." (p. 81) Without a clear purpose statement a church is just drifting. This statement of purpose is something the church must devote time and attention to as they seek to find a direction that will steer them. The purpose statement should always be made to fulfill The Great Commission and should be concise and result-oriented. Once formulated, this purpose statement will be the guide to future decisions about the church. When faced with a tough decision, perhaps about a new program or a new ministry, the church leaders need only look to the purpose statement. If the new program or ministry will fulfill one of the purposes, "...do it. If it doesn't, don't do it." (p. 88) Anything in the church that goes against one of those purposes is to be immediately removed. Essentially, the church is like a business. The church has to be molded to appeal to and be relevant to the consumer (the unbeliever).
Once a church has a defined purpose it is time to reach the lost. To do this it is crucial that the church remain relevant to society. This is done by meeting the felt needs of the culture and community. Purpose Driven churches are well known for studying demographics and performing surveys. By understanding their potential audience and knowing the needs of these people, the church can create programs and ministries that will address the specific needs around them. Warren states that it is his "deep conviction that anybody can be won to Christ if you discover the key to his or her heart." (p. 219) After you discover the key to a person's heart he or she will be drawn to your church. Once that person is attending, it is the pastor's job to preach to his or her felt needs. This is based on "the theological fact that God chooses to reveal himself to man according to our needs! Both the Old and New Testaments are filled with examples of this." (p. 295).
A large portion of the book is devoted to the process of moving people from the community (unbelievers) to the crowd (church attenders) and to the congregation (believers) and ultimately to the core of the church where they are leading or participating in one of the church's ministries. The author lays out many principles that will lead and mentor new believers and help them grow in the their faith and commitment.
Overall, I found this book both inspiring and disappointing. Warren has many, many things to say that are of great value. I have spent many years in churches that had no purpose and no direction. Certainly a purpose has to be of great value. The view that preaching should be relevant and apply to our lives is critical. In the end, though, I believe the book to be predicated on some false and potentially dangerous ideas.
Many of Warren's ideas are imported directly from the business world. Time and again he refers to concepts found in the marketing and business world. His view is that the church needs to be run like a business. There is a danger here, though, in that in the world of business and marketing the customer is always right. Whatever the customer desires or demands is what we have to give him. In Christianity the exact opposite is true. It is God, not the consumer (unbeliever) who is sovereign. We need, then, to be careful how far we go in shaping our church, as God's commands have to come before the demands of unbelievers.
Warren is a pragmatist. As such he believes and teaches that the result is more important than the method. Probably the most startling statement in the entire book is "never criticize what God is blessing." (p. 62) He makes several such statements in The Purpose Driven Church but fails to provide a system to properly discern what God is blessing, other than the results. To place ultimate importance in the results is a grievous error. Numbers are not necessarily indicative of God's blessing. We need to refer everything to God's Word. Only by using the Scripture as the ultimate test can we have complete confidence in God's will.
Finally, the author continuously states that the Bible gives many examples of Jesus and the apostles relating to our felt needs. I see little evidence of this. It seems to me that anytime Jesus preached towards a felt need it was that one great need; namely, the need for us to believe in Him for our salvation. In preaching a gospel based on our needs we need to be careful that we don't turn the gospel around and make it about us when in reality the gospel is about God whom we have all rejected.
In the final analysis I would recommend this book to any discerning Christian. For a believer who is able to read it with discernment and see beyond the dangerous and false presuppositions there is much to learn. Just do not blindly accept Warren's formula for a successful church....more info
The Purpose Driven Church In The Purpose Driven Church, Rick Warren gives church pastors and leaders suggestions for making their church the church God intends it to be. Unfortunately, his suggestions require effort by those church leaders which they may not be willing to give. Instead of endless brainstorming to involve those in the church who never do more than attend worship services, Warren suggests going out into the community to find the unchurched and invite them to the church. He suggests being open to new ideas and having vision.
The book is easy to read, well-organized and provides many other suggestions and examples for making churches more dynamic, inviting, mission-oriented, and more aligned with God's purposes for it. If you feel that your church could be more than it is, you might want to read this book.
completely satisfied This was my first experiance with Amazon and I was completely satisfied .The book was just like new ,I don't think it had ever been read .It was sent fast and packaged good .I would buy again .
Thanks for a good first time experiance ....more info
What can you say I have read this book many, many times. The only things about it that I don't like are all the references to growth it contains. The dustcover has so many references to growth it sickens me, but Warren probably didn't write that and the publishers know who will be reading.
The book is great at helping a church ask questions that need to be asked and helping a church to find a paradigm that would be pleasing to God. Regardless of what type of church you are in this book will be of some benefit to you. If you've got a problem with the paradigm of being purpose driven then you've got a problem with scripture....more info
Sudy Book I purchased these for my Graceful Ladies Bible Study group, at their request. We haven't begun, yet, but we are anxious to get started....more info
Good book I enjoyed this book better than the Purpose Driven Life. Good sound strategies or a seeker service style program....more info
The Bible of Church Management This is an excellent text for any phase of church management. I kept trying to find areas to disagree with and I found none!...more info
Church Changing I read this book over a decade ago. It literally changed how I, a pastor, now "do church." The church I serve has been transformed and now is a joyful, healthy place to be. We are impacting our community for Christ and seeing lives changed. Warren's concepts are simple yet profound....more info
Church Health This is the standard text of church growth in our day. Like it or not, churches that are growing and changing lives use some form of the ideas in this book as their template. The ideas are not new, they are biblical and taught with Warren's great talent to make the difficult into something we all can understand.
Anyone that cares at all about fulfilling the Great Commission of Christ and changing the world in which we live should read this. The first time I read it I agreed with many of the other reviewers here; a few years later when I reread the book I was shocked at how much of it had become a part of my ministry. After 15 years, this is the single most important read (next to the Bible of course) in my ministry. I couldn't have done what I have done without it. ...more info
You will get some good things from this book! If you are the pastor or leader in your church, there is no way to read this book and not get some good ideas from the reading. There is also no way to read the book and put into practice everything that Rick Warren puts into practice. You will not agree with him all the time, I certainly did not, but a review should be to let people know if the book is worth the read and this one is definately worth reading. I agree with some of the reviews and some of the criticisms, even if some of them are nit picking, but if you are in a rut or need a fresh vision or to rehone in on what your church is suppose to be doing then read this book. My criticism of the book is that I believe the church should be presence driven and not simply purpose driven, but Warren does not downplay the presence or leadership of God ever. In fact, he says "Successful ministry is 'building the church on the purposes of God in the power of the Holy Spirit and expecting the results from God." This book will help anyone think through the pertinent questions of their Church. Even if someone disagrees with Warren, then at least that person would have to think through why he disagrees and correct it and that is still a benefit to reading the book. If you are struggling with vision, purpose, mission or are just getting started as a pastor then you need to read this book. It will help your church....more info
The entrepreneurial evangelical Yearbooks of American and Canadian Churches reveal stagnation and decline in mainline church memberships over the period 1991 - 2003: Catholics 0.0%, Southern Baptists -6%, Lutherans -17%, Methodists -18%, Episcopals -18%, and Presbyterians -25%. In fact the decline started in 1960, almost a half-century ago.
Rick Warren was either unaware of these facts or was just unfazed, when he started Saddleback Church, now the largest church in the United States. Not a few pastors would like to know his secrets of success.
This book reveals that Warren is a strategic thinker with exceptional intelligence, high aspirations, and remarkable organizational skill. This book is a well-written handbook for the pastor of a Southern Baptist church and probably for pastors of many other denominations as well. His success has undoubtedly earned him the admiration and jealousy of other pastors.
He is much more focused or "purpose driven", if you will, than most of the several corporate CEO's I have known; they could learn from him.
Post-Katrina This is an excellent book for any church--whatever size and whatever stage in development. The local church is a living organism and as such it's health is manifest in growth. A church that is not growing is either sick or dying. Church health (and balance) is emphazised in this text and not numbers. I belong to a once large church in eastern New Orleans that was devastated by Katrina. Rick Warren's book gives many truths and pointers on how our church can rebuild and be better than ever. The illustration in the first chapter about the movements of God being manifest in waves and us being the "surfers" is timely. Katrina was/is a blessing in being a rather large WAVE in this part of the country that many are recognizing and riding with joy and new purpose....more info
Seeking out a vision for your church community As pastor of a small Protestant church community in a European country which is truly becoming 'secular city' it is important to find material in order to try to formulate a vision - a new way of doing church in our postmodern times. I found Rick Warren's book truly valuable - the Church Council are using it now to evaluate the way forward - because a Church without a vision or mission is hopelessly lost! I would highly recommend the book to other pastors.
Aalst, Belgium...more info
Pragmatism in Full Bloom What Charles Finney popularized in the 19th century Rick Warren has taken to a new level in an era of mass communication. At the core PDC is rooted in semipelagianism, a teaching labled heresy by the church in 529 AD. Semipelagianism laid dormant for centuries and was given new life by Jacabus Arminius. Today the heresy is known as arminianism. In short the doctrine cuts at the core of biblical revelation, denying God's sovereinty in salvation. The result is a pragmatic approach to ministry where results are measured and the question as to their biblical justification is ignored. PDC , therefore, employes woldly business and marketing techniques to "grow" the church, reducing and often eliminating the need for God to build His church. PDC will lead a pastor and church down a path of doctrinal error. The visible church (unregenerate crowd) may grow, but the invisible church (the redeemed) will languish. The focus will shift from the mandate to feed the flock to entertaining the goats. Skip this book and practice ministry as outlined in THE book--the Bible. God has not called pastors to be "successful", but to be faithful to His Word and Gospel. Adherants of the PDC philosophy ultimately sacrifice both in their quest for "success." ...more info
Madison Avenue-style marketing as applied to church growth The problem I have with everything about the Purpose-Driven Church ("PDC") model is that it is predicated on one fact to justify why it is "better" or "more effective" than any other model--NUMBERS.
Having gone to a PDC, I find it disturbing that everything is reduced down to something is watered-down and stupefied for the masses. Even things such as accepting Christ into your heart end up being something that you end up checking off on an impersonal card. Everything has a different term that is watered-down enough to make it palatable to the masses. The PDC produces a generation of "believers" who don't know what they believe, because their Biblical knowledge is supplanted by other Christian self-help books.
The idea that the Sunday service is the focal point and that having a multimedia spectacle somehow will draw more believers is crazy. In the end, I think that you could apply everything you read in the PDC here to any part of your life. It's just purely incidental that they are using Jesus as the subject matter here....more info
Purpose Driven Church This is an excellent, must have handbook for all Pastors, Church Staff Members, and Leaders. This book sites the laws and directions of Christ and his apostles in the formation and purpose of His Church. The Church exists for Christ's purpose not our own. It is each church's responsibility to seek the purpose Christ has for them and then it is their job to set about to do it. Warren backs up everything in his book. It was fun to read and it was exciting to see the potential of each church if they just seek Christ for their purpose....more info
Interesting This book is a good read to those in search of new evangelistic ideas. I must say that Rick Warren is one of the first group of pastors to bring church's into a new age...more info
This book does not need ANOTHER review but... Forget all the hub bub, take the book at face value, and you'll find this is a great book with a lot of practical ideas for churches.
Unfortunately, any time anything "Christian" gets extremely popular, people starting crawling out of the woodwork to warn us that it's satanic, decieving, or unbiblical, and I don't buy into that logic. Neither should you.
Does "purpose-driven" sound very much like a business idea? Sure it does! Does that mean it's automatically unbiblical? Absolutely not. Think about it... we heard the same thing about contemporary Christian music. People worked hard to spread the alarm that it was satanic because it sounded like regular popular music on the radio. So what? Popularity does not equal satanic. Most of the critical reviews I've read on this website are a little ridiculous. For example, one reviewer criticizes Warren for stating that a healthy church should be growing. In the reviewer's opinion, the Bible clearly states that Jesus' teaching drove some people away. I would agree. However, the Bible also says that HUGE CROWDS showed up to hear Him preach. I'm no historian, but I'm willing to bet that a gathering of 5000 people back in Jesus' day was about the equivalent of a million-man march today. I'm also quite sure that besides the 22,000 attendees at Warren's church in Southern California, there are THOUSANDS more that aren't coming to hear God's word. My point is that the logic of many of these critics of the book just doesn't work.
The bottom line for me is that Rick Warren loves Jesus and he has a passion for leading unchurched people to meet his Savior. You can see that in every paragraph of every chapter of this book. God has gifted him and blessed his ministry. Warren is a theologian who has a broad appeal because he doesn't sound like one; he sounds like a normal guy who loves Jesus. I like that.
I didn't find anything unbiblical in this book. It is encouraging and full of great ideas to help churches understand their mission and reach unbelievers. If you don't want to do that, don't read this book....more info
A Good Aid to Help Your Church Grow Whatever you believe about Pastor Warren, in my humble opinion, he has written an excellent book on how to help your church grow. Whether or not you agree with Warren's conservative theology, there is no doubt that what he has practiced at Saddleback Community Church has been very successful in reaching unbelievers for Jesus Christ.
Among the important points covered include:
1. Prayer should be the first step in any endeavor.
2. 8 myths of growing churches and 5 transferable concepts from the Saddleback Community Church model.
3. The difference between being efficient and being effective.
4. What an effective purpose statement consists of.
5. Our responsibilities as believers.
6. The 5 kinds of churches and why churches need to be balanced in their purpose.
7. How Jesus Christ attracted crowds.
8. 6 myths of spiritual maturity and how to get people to commit to spiritual maturity.
9. The advantages of having God's perspective in our situation.
10. Why having convictions are important.
Why some folks may have problems with Warren's beliefs and theology, I can't help but think that others do not like what he has to say because of cultural differences. For example, I live in the conservative South and usually wear a suit or blazer and tie to church. In California where Saddleback Community Church is, the folks (including Warren himself) wear casual clothes. While casual dress is not my preference for going to church, I'd rather have people wear casual clothes than to not go at all!
Much better than I expected Rick Warren is founding pastor of Saddleback Community Church, the fastest-growing Baptist church in American history. This book not only tells their story, but offers a paradigm for how to claim (or reclaim) a purpose for your church. I approached this book very skeptically, expecting to have significant issues with this book because I do have significant issues with Warren's theology. (I am not a fan of Warren's other book, The Purpose-Driven Life.) I was pleasantly surprised to discover a depth to this book that I was not expecting to find.
In The Purpose-Driven Church, Warren challenged some of my assumptions and pushed me to explore my own biases and prejudices. He writes with much passion, and often asks thought-provoking questions that challenged me at a number of levels. I think differently now about a number of issues because of this book. My basic theological orientation has not changed. But some assumptions I once had about "how things should be in church" have definitely been challenged.
For folks like me who are troubled by Warren's theology, it would be easy enough to skip this book. But if you think that there might be some wisdom in at least listening to what other people are saying, even if you have some pretty strong disagreements with them, then you have the potential to learn something from a book like this. If you're willing to let yourself become a little vulnerable, dive right in. You may be surprised to discover some gems in here that you will want to take away with you....more info
Reaching the Unchurched Rick Warren's book, The Purpose Driven Church, provides valuable ideas for church planters and those who take on leadership positions within the church. Many people are wary about the claims that Warren makes because he seems to leave behind traditional and sometimes biblical ideas of how a church should be run. These claims arise from his methods of developing his church services around the felt needs of the community, his separation of seeker and believer services, and his strict policies of obedience to membership covenants. While these issues are controversial, a careful reading of Warren's book shows that he deals delicately with each of these issues and has aimed to separate cultural tradition from biblical instruction to make church relevant to people of this day and age.
Warren's primary goal in developing Saddleback Community Church was to attract the unchurched from the surrounding area. His methods of beginning with researching the community and asking its members why they do not attend church is biblically sound. Jesus knew the needs of those he met before they even told him. Since people now do not have that ability, they must ask before they can begin to fill the needs people have. Warren presents a helpful strategy for creating a church that answers to the needs of the community. He also recognizes that each community will have different needs so the method of discovering and meeting needs will take different forms in each case.
Once people from the community enter the church family through membership they are encouraged to grow through several programs. The explanation of the process of leading people to greater spiritual maturity is a strength of this book. Too many churches allow people to become stagnant in their faith once they have committed their lives to Christ. Warren shows that even a big church can be personal enough to ensure that each member is growing.
While The Purpose Driven Church presents many helpful church strategies it is important not to read it as more than the lessons and wisdom of one man. Warren has been successful in leading thousands of people to Christ and developing them into maturing Christians. He has learned from his journey and those lessons are valuable to other people. However, as Warren even notes, no two journeys will ever look the same. Furthermore, there are some valid areas of concern in Warren's suggestions, such as his separation of seekers from believers, the way he caters to the needs of the unchurched, and his seeming lack of concern for those who leave the church. Therefore, as with any book, it should be read with a discerning mind and prayerful openness to discover what is useful and what should be considered more carefully. I would recommend that it be read by anyone wanting to plant a church or in some cases those who are looking to revitalize a pre-existing church.
Church Growth: Traditional vs. Upstart I found this book to be quite useful and in depth in the field of church growth. This book however is not for everyone. This book should only really be considered for those who are willing to take risks in their own, already established, churches and those who are looking to start a church of their own. This book is not for those who feel that a change in their church would destroy the whole infrastructure and cause a split in their church. Rick Warren does stress the fact that one should only challenge the traditions of the church if they really feel they are being called by God to do so. For those who are about to start a church themselves, this book contains many useful ideas. Those who are not restrained by tradition and history of a church can look at this book for guidance. It contains great ideas for a church and many great ideas of how to help your church grow. If you are looking for a practical outlook on how to start a church then this is the book for you.
I did have several problems with the book however. Warren seems to not give the Holy Spirit enough credit. Warren tells those who read this book that they must reach out to those who are most like them. He makes it sound as if you can not reach out to those who are different, not relying on the Holy Spirit to work through you. He also relies a whole lot on you changing and fitting your church for the needs of others rather than relying on the Holy Spirit to move them. This brings me to another problem I have with the book. Nowhere in the Bible do you find a church having separate church services for non-believers. When Paul speaks of church in his Epistles he speaks of it as believers and non-believers communing together. The whole point of church for him is to edify and build up the believers and through that non-believers themselves would be edified. Warren relies strictly on separating his believers from non-believers. Warren's relaxed attitude toward believers also worries me. It seems at times that does not worry about whether he keeps or loses his members but is only focused on gaining more.
Once again this book works fine for those who are just starting a church. It gives great ideas for how one can go about this. I would not recommend it for churches already well established however for Warren does not give much attention to current members and to edifying them. There is definitely a leaning toward churches that are just starting because that is what Warren knows. ...more info
A complete lack of faith in the Holy Spirit I was curious about this book because I heard of his prior book. When I got to the part about "pick your targets" i.e. niche marketing I became very turned off. Pick your target people to save by income, age, etc. REALLY??? This is so unscriptural it's unbelievable. Jesus mixed with tax collectors, prostitutes, rich people and poor people, sick people to show us that his saving grace is available to all -- not just a select demographic few. This book is taking business tactics and trying to apply them to saving souls. If Jesus were physically with us at this time we would once again see him with his whips chasing the "money changers" out from the church entrance. This book and the tactics it promotes demonstrates a complete lack of faith in the Holy Spirit's ministry on earth. One pastor I know gave a sermon about this and refused to comply with this approach and had the most growth in his church over the others. This is because it is God and not men and their strategies and tactics who saves souls. Jesus warned us "beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits... every good tree bears good fruit, but every bad tree bears bad fruit. Matthew 7:15-16 ...more info
This is a concerning book I read this book to try to understand Purpose Driven Life. Warren's use of Psychological methods, software watching, and even contracts. Where is this in scripture? This is concerning.
Warren heavily uses the Living Bible. I can understand some Paraphrasically type translations in Life. But, Church is written to Elders and Pastors.
Warren as in Life misuses scriptures. He treats transfer members differently than new converts. Where is that biblical. Maybe the people had a good and scriptural reason to leave. He works them harder. Since God is not a respector of persons we are supposed to be?
The final and most disturbing thought. Is the Kool-Aide mentality of don't question or make waves. In fact tells the pastors to either marginalize or publically humiliate the discenters regardless of if they are right or not. This is dangerous and unscriptural. We must be faithful Bereans and check for ourselves.
Warren is after the money plain and simple. This is the new Prayer of Jabez etc... It will come and go. I just hope not doing too much damage as churches have split over these books. All I can say is Woe to the shephard who doesn't care for the sheep....more info
If you want to read a history of Saddleback.... There may be some valid, useful points in this book, however, to find them you have to wade through the history of Saddleback. While Saddleback may be a very good example of a growing church, and a very good example of successful redemption of non-believers, there are very few, if any, examples given of things that didn't work and why they didn't work. Reading this book it makes it look like Saddleback has never had any failures, that the way that Saddleback has been organized and is operated is the best way to operate a church today. There are few examples of options of doing things other than the way Saddleback has developed. If you would like to have yet another Saddleback clone, read this book and follow the programming suggestions. If you would like to grow your own church, take the information given in the book, adapt it to your purposes and create your own programming....more info