Church Growth / WCA long-term impact on a church.

Below is a comment that came in regarding the WCA article on the BJS site that we felt was worthy of  posting on the homepage. The author has been verified by us and we know who it is, but obviously because of the situation he does not want the congregation or himself identified.

This shows the situation in a congregation that years ago bought into the Church Growth movement and became a member of the Willow Creek Association. The writer of this note is a Pastor who came into this situation and is attempting to deal with the aftermath. I think he points out very well what we look forward to in churches that have started down this path.

I know I’m a little late to this discussion, and I don’t know if anyone is still reading it, but I have a very recent perspective.

I am an orthodox, confessional Lutheran pastor, serving as the interim pastor at one of these LCMS WCA congregations. They have been fractured and badly wounded by the last several years of imbibement of very poor theology… despite their halcion days of “growth” and their recent hemorraging of members. They now have elders and leaders who are uncatechized in the Lutheran witness to the Faith, and are looking for the next batch of snake oil from WC to save them from the consequences of the last batch they downed.

For several months, I have been giving them a steady diet of Law and Gospel, exegetical preaching from the lectionary texts (most of the staff didn’t even remember what the lectionary was.) I have found two fascinating things– first, that the wounded people in the pews have been hungrily receiving Christ centered, cross focussed sermons like withered souls who were starving to death… and second, that the leadership is now decidedly torn by what seems to be healing and a return of ostracized members, against their desire to follow their previous models from WC.

I keep this confidential, because there is great pain and suffering that is going on out there in the Body of Christ. The LCMS will soon– and maybe already– need to be prepared to pastorally tend all the wounded sheep of Christ who have been abused by this errant theology run amok. The mega-church model of shallow evangelicalism was already dying before the LCMS belatedly bought their expiring goods… now we’ll belatedly be dealing with the fallout.


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