Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Purpose-Driven Parties & Lifestyle Worldviews

Apparently the word "worldview" also means "lifestyle" in purpose-driven circles. Think you've heard of everything? How about a Tupperware-style purpose-driven party! How about purpose-driven lifestyle coaches?

"Cocktail napkins . . . coffee, soda and flavored tea close by . . . and copies of a slim, poetry-size book placed invitingly around the room, like a party favor. Looks like a party.

"But the small talk? Fasten your seat belts.

"'If I ask you - "Who are you?" - what would you say?' Linda Graber threw the challenge to the half-dozen women seated around the table. The stories that came back were threaded with good and bad: tales of miscarriages and missed chances, as well as long, good marriages and a new yearning to bring fresh purpose and passion to life.

"Graber is co-host, along with Terri Baxter, of the first Purpose Party held in Colorado - for that matter, among the first held anywhere. . . .

"If Purpose Parties sound familiar, it's because they are one degree of separation from Rick Warren's The Purpose-Driven Life, . . . "

This idea for parties originated from Warren's research assistant, Katie Brazelton. She wrote a book, Pathway to Purpose, specifically tailored for women. According to the same article, "Torkelson: Purpose parties help point way" (March 13, 2006), Brazelton has supplemented the book with:

"'Life Purpose Coaching' - a Christian take on the 'life coach' idea in which a trained professional helps with everything from career to home organization. In this case, individual coaching runs between $50 and $125 an hour. In group settings they're called Purpose Parties. [emphasis added]

"'They're like hosting a Tupperware party,' Graber says. "'We're sharing a process.'" [ http://tinyurl.com/m2nkl]

The article notes that Brazelton "developed a certification program for life coaches and was networking for new members." It reports that there are already "60 Life Purpose coaches."

Katie Brazelton's official website says that she is currently employed at Saddleback:

"Katie Brazelton currently serves as Director of Women's Bible Studies at Saddleback Church (where Rick Warren is pastor), as Director of Saddleback Church Seminary and as an administrative faculty member for Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary." [http://tinyurl.com/rqu9s]

She appears to have taken this purpose-driven lifestyle to heart:

"Katie now coaches other women who are searching for meaning in life as a Certified Christian LifePlanning Consultant with an international client base. Her passion for helping people discover life purpose has led her to Calcutta to talk to Mother Teresa about joy; to Belfast as a guest of Ireland's Nobel Peace Laureate to discuss inner peace; and to the tiny island of Malta to study St. Paul's time of shipwreck." [emphasis added]

Using the coaching/mentoring model -- as well as the facilitation style of training -- for women, Katie is quoted as saying:

"I encourage women to enter this journey with a Purpose Partner at their side, another woman who is committed to God’s kingdom work. . . .

"Several years ago I facilitated a two-day ‘Life Plan’ for my friend Kay, who is also my pastor’s wife [Kay Warren, ed.]. It was my joy to walk alongside her as she sorted out her spiritual gifts and clarified her unique contribution to God’s kingdom. I’ve done the same life coaching with many women, and it is my pleasure to watch as they come to see their gifts, passions and pain as elements in a grand purpose. . . .

"Conversations on Purpose for Women is built around ten weekly 'appointments' with a Purpose Partner. Great power is unleashed when Christian women sit down to prayerfully focus on one single concept!" [ http://tinyurl.com/q356g ]

The Truth:

At her official website Ms. Brazelton is quoted as saying that she "enjoys leading groups on short-term mission projects around the world."

Friday's Herescope post (3/10/06) cited Rick Warren's new partnership with Chuck Colson on a "worldview" curriculum. Warren's "Pastors.com" announced that they intend to "collaborate on materials to help communicate a biblical worldview to Christians around the world." [http://tinyurl.com/hyhnu]

Perhaps they'll come up with a "Worldview in a Box" for the short-term mission trips?!

The particularly affluent lifestyle/worldview coaching that Ms. Brazelton is marketing is hardly suitable for Third World mission trips.

What is more likely, however, is that the coaching/mentoring/facilitating model (which is transformative) is the one most likely to be employed in the upcoming Purpose-driven worldview curriculum.

"Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock." (Ezekiel 34:3)