In this regular feature, Dave and Tom respond to questions from listeners and readers of The Berean Call.Here’s this week’s question:Dear Mr. Hunt and Mr. McMahon:I recently read an interview with mega church pastor Andy Stanley, who pastors a mega church near Atlanta, Georgia.He is the son of TV evangelist Charles Stanley.Here are some quotes:I grew up in the culture where everything was overly spiritualized, Andy said.I don’t want to be a cynic, but raking out all the spiritual verses non spiritual, I think, is healthy.One of the criticisms I get is, your church is so corporate, and I say, Okay, you’re right, now why is that a bad model?A principle is a principle, and God created all the principles, he summarized.Churches should quit saying, O, that’s what business does, Andy said.That whole attitude is so wrong, and it hurts the church.In term of the shifting culture, I say, thanks, to guys like Bill Hybels and others who have been unafraid to say, we have a corporate side to ministry.It’s going to be the best corporate institution it can possible be, and we are not going to try to merge first century with the twenty-first.Certainly, he is successful in the way the world thinks and acts, but is his approach biblical?
Dave, I think Andy Stanley here is, at least, laying something out that’s prevalent in the church, not just mega churches, but every church now wants to set themselves up as a business organization, they want to take care of---you know, Rick Warren promotes this, not only Bill Hybels, and so on, but I thought the church is an organism, not really an organization, is it?
Well, it’s called the body of Christ, Jesus Christ is the head.Jesus said, in Matthew 16, I will build my church.Okay.If you want to find the early pattern of the early church, you know, the writer is asking, Is this biblical?Well, obviously it’s not biblical because it’s not in the Bible, okay.Well, is that being too narrow-minded and dogmatic?Well, I guess Jesus could not perfect his church, the church couldn’t be effective, it couldn’t really do what he wanted it to do, and it couldn’t be what he wanted it to be because we didn’t have modern techniques---we didn’t have psychology, and all of that.So then we are going to have to say the Bible is insufficient, it doesn’t contain everything that we need.Talk about modern times, I think the human heart is the same.It doesn’t matter how modern we are.I used to be in the business world, and my office was at the corner of Wilshire and Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills back in those days. I would go to lunch at the Beverly Hills Club or LA Country Club, you know, the golf course out there.
Dave, I can’t see you doing that.Did you take a brown bag, did you brown bag it?Come on!
Well, in those days that was the way it was, Tom, but I can tell you, they knew what I believed, they knew who I was.Even as a young man, I was about 30 years old at that time, and some of these tough Beverly Hills lawyers, if a swear word ever slipped out in my presence in a business meeting they apologized to me.Okay, I had their respect.So, I rubbed shoulders with actors and actresses and successful business men, and so forth. The most unhappy people in the world, aspiring to something that they would never achieve because they will not find the fulfillment in this life.One of my dear friends, I will never forget, the last time I saw him.Tom, he was so wealthy, he had one gas well, or it was in oil, I can’t remember, but one well of some kind, that well alone produced $50,000 a month for him, and that’s in the days when $50,000 was $50,000.And my last visit to him in his mansion in Beverly Hills, he had had a stroke, he was helpless.All of that money meant nothing to him.He would have given all of it just to bring himself back.So, this idea, you know, that today’s success is going to do the job---
If you would have that man that you just referred to, let’s make him an elder, Dave, let’s bring him---because you know pastors now are being encouraged to be CEO’s, is this biblical?Come on!
So, what we’re trying to do---well, Tom, I don’t want to bad mouth what these people are trying to do, what they are trying to build, but all I can say is this, it’s not biblical, because they are not following the biblical pattern, they are following modern management techniques, okay.So, that’s not biblical.Now you say, yeah, but we live in a different day, and it’s not going to work.
Well, Jesus thought it would work.He said, I will build my church, and it seems to me when you read what went on in the early church, it grew and grew and grew.I’ve read of revivals all over the world.You can read about Jonathan Goforth, the revivals in China,it wasn’t based on modern techniques, management techniques, had nothing to do with it.It was the power of the gospel and the Holy Spirit, and people living holy lives so they could be used of God.That is what we need.Now the problem is, you have to do a lot of compromising, because you want to be popular, then you’re going to have unsaved people sitting in the audience in the church.Bill Hybels ask them, What would you like in the church?And then you pattern that to bring in people from the neighborhood.Well, it sounds like a good ambition, but it’s not.
It will draw a crowd, but will it draw people who have a heart for truth and want to know the Lord truly?
Well, the early church---what was the church about?This is the body of Christ.They meet together to worship the Lord, to be edified, to teach one another, then they go out and they win souls to Christ.And then when these are believers, then they join the believers.Read the Book of Acts, Chapter 5, it says of the rest, No man dare to join himself unto them.There was a fear of God, and this church was exploding, okay.So, we do not need modern management principles to grow the church.It’s very simple, but the problem is, well yeah, but I’ve tried this other biblical stuff and it doesn’t work.Okay, Jesus’ disciples asked him, Are there many who will be saved?Jesus said, Very few, strive to enter into strait gates.Strait is the gate, narrow is the way that leads to life, few there be that find it---broad is the road that leads to destruction, many there be that go in there at.And we’re trying to make the broad road lead into the church, and all of these people will be kind of welcomed into the flock.Tom, I’m not criticizing the heart of a Rick Warren or a Bill Hybels.These men may have a heart for God, they are trying to do what’s right.All I can say is, Get back to the Bible, and leave this modern management stuff, and the Lord is going to guide, and he will bless.