Sunday, December 04, 2005

The Big Mac Church in a Box

Rick Warren just completed a conference on AIDS. According to, "The global P.E.A.C.E. plan was presented on the second day of the Disturbing Voices conference – a meeting for pastors and church leaders about the role of the church in the HIV/AIDS pandemic - held at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., on Nov. 29 - Dec. 1."

The article entitled "Church, HIV/AIDS Conference: Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan Presented," (12/02/05, is one of many evangelical and secular media accounts of the latest public relations/mission campaign of Rick Warren.

Rick Warren is quoted as saying, “I can’t make a big difference in the world, but together, we can make a big difference. . . . [t]oday, what if every Christian in the world one time in their life did a short term project that would mobilize a billion people at least. It would be unbelievable.”

The article continues:

"Warren also spoke about 'church in a box,' an idea derived from the P.E.A.C.E. plan to make a simple template that new Christians can use to set up the church around the world. He compared the template to McDonalds, which has created an easy step-by-step model that all employees can use to run the store.

“'We were trying to work out a model, a template and make it so simple that it could be passed on,' said Warren. 'The average McDonalds makes a $1 million a year and it’s run by kids. It’s goof-proof. As a result, you can buy McDonalds almost anywhere in the world. We need the same thing. We have to figure out simple ways to do it.'

"The Saddleback pastor said that the 'church in the box plan could include showing a Christian movie, the designated pastor listening to tapes everyday and teaching what they learned to villagers, and other 'how-to' programs to make setting a church simple." [emphases added]

The Truth:

Is Rick Warren an adherent of dominionism? This neo-evangelical doctrine of dominionism teaches that God is not sufficient; i.e., that God is not sovereign -- that God requires human machinations, manipulations, orchestrations, collaborations, strategic plans and packaged programs to accomplish building "His Kingdom" on earth.

The hype over the AIDS pandemic in evangelicaldom is increasing after the carefully timed Saddleback conference, which coincided the international World AIDS Day activities. Before congregations leap to participate in this global Big Mac Church in a Box, a step back for reflection might be of benefit. Below is a helpful quotation:

"A.W. Tozer, the gifted leader and writer from the Christian and Missionary Alliance was fully committed to missions. He made this thought-provoking point: 'We commonly represent God as a busy, eager, somewhat frustrated Father hurrying about seeking help to carry out His benevolent plan to bring peace and salvation to the world. Too many missionary appeals are based upon this fancied frustration of Almighty God.'

"Tozer feared that through our efforts to inspire action in missions we diminish worship of the Almighty. Missions are not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship and obedience are. Missions exist because true worship and obedience to the Word are missing. We want to discover in the life of a godly man how worship is the fuel for his mission in life. . . .

"True worship and biblical obedience are the ultimate -- not missions, because God is ultimate and absolute -- not man. When this age is over, and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before God, missions will be no more. Missions are a temporary necessity, but worship and obedience abide forever." (Floyd Stoltzfus, "What is God's Pattern?" Calvary Messenger, Dec. 2005, p. 19, 21)