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September 17, 2010

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josh g.

I think it's worth looking closer at the roots of where the program-focused mentality comes from. I see at least a couple of roots beneath that are kind of scary.

Root #1: Follow the sequence of statements and decide for yourself where the lies (or problems) begin.

- A man is successful if he provides for his family.

- A man provides for his family by earning a stable income.

- A pastor earns his income through offerings given by the church-goers.

- The only influence that a pastor has on the income of a church is through increasing the number of church-goers who attend. ("growth")

- Church growth depends on every person finding something for them that makes it worth attending.

- The best way to make sure everyone finds a reason to stay attending is for every major demographic attending your church to find a targeted program that gives them a place they feel comfortable, welcomed and supported.

Programs-focused churches (and pastors) do not come out of thin air. Our economic system, our capitalist culture, and our social gender roles are all pushing some serious buttons. (Just to be really clear, I used male language on purpose up there, and not because I think all pastors should be men.)

Root #2:
The 'saving more souls' mentality. I don't even know how to say it more clearly than that.

Brad Jersak

Joe, something about this reminds me of the parable of the Good Samaritan. What if Jesus is the Good Samaritan and the Church is the Inn. Jesus delivers the broken and beaten ones to the Inn and says, 'I will give you whatever you need to take care of this person. Take care of him/her and when I return, if you invested more than I left for you I'll pay that back in full as well.

And of course, this got me thinking of Dylan's 'Shelter in the Storm' as well, which I would appreciate you commenting on.

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