Thursday, March 23, 2006

Worldview & Vision: Part 3: Congregational Development

"An equipper is a leader who actively sets goals for a congregation according to the will of God, obtains goal ownership from the people, and sees that each member is properly motivated and equipped to do his or her part in accomplishing the goals."
[C. Peter Wagner, Leading Your Church to Growth (Glendale, Calif: Regal, 1984), p. 79]

The Church Growth Movement is a Transitional structure. As you can see from the quote above, it has been around for a few decades. Church Development is based upon the business world's Organizational Development (OD) model. This OD model has been thoroughly integrated and infused throughout evangelicaldom. Organizational Development is a method of bringing psychology, anthropology, sociology, and a good dose of New Age mysticism into churches.

Church Development process is engaged in the business of changing congregational Worldview, one church at a time. In the business world, the OD gurus developed the concept of "visioning" to facilitate this type of change. "Visioning" is a highly effective tool to lure people away from the simplicity of the Scriptures, and move them towards a Transformational Worldview. "Visioning" is now part of the Church Growth Movement's toolkit to transform individuals and churches. Pastors and leaders routinely go on retreats to hash out the Mission, Vision and Values of their church.

This OD definition of "visioning" is exactly what T.M. Moore was writing about in the Spring 2004 issue of Findings, a publication of the Chuck Colson ministries. What T.M. Moore was proposing went beyond the scope of the local church. He wrote about how to change the Worldview of evangelical Christians in a corporate/global sense, in order to bring in "a new era of revival and renewal."

The Worldview of Organizational Development

Moore's article on the necessity of creating a Vision for a new evangelical Worldview, "Toward a Future Different from the Present" (see yesterday's post for the urls), is particularly disturbing because it is clear that his Worldview is totally immersed in Organizational Development theory. In other words, his own worldview is not biblical! Rather, his article exemplifies how this "other gospel" has become part of modern evangelical culture.

Moore surveyed the role of "Vision in Business and Organizational Leadership" in Part 1. He writes, "In successful organizations shared visions create purpose, community, and energy. They uplift people’s aspirations. Work becomes part of pursuing a larger purpose embodied in the organization’s products or services. . . ."

What follows are some key excerpts from Part 2 of Moore's article, which explain in great detail how a church can be transformed by this "visioning" process.

"A statement of vision. . . is an attempt to describe a future scenario of how we believe reality will unfold, what shape it will take, or what it will be like, in the light of how we understand the present reality of which we are a part. A statement of vision thus constitutes a kind of confession of faith about reality as it is and as we believe it will be."

"A statement of mission or purpose is so important to the successful functioning of vision that, together with the statement of vision, the two should really be regarded as part of the same process of reshaping an organization's or movement's present toward a more desirable future state."

"Vision and mission give rise to values, commitments, and operating systems, including strategies and goals, which define the parameters and protocols of the organization as it pursues its vision. The core values or commitments are translated into practices, or, agreed-upon behaviors for day-to-day operation."

"Those practices are organized according to certain operating systems, which include ways of determining strategies, setting goals, assessing progress, maintaining accountability, communicating results, and so forth. . . Such systems help to ensure the consistent performance of the core practices and keep the organization's resources directed toward the pursuit of its mission and the realization of its vision." [all emphases above are added]

This "operating system" is being applied to churches! This terminology comes from the New Age business gurus, who are cited in many footnotes in this article. These gurus hold to a "systems" view of the world, in which there are "feedback mechanisms" (assessments) to ascertain progress, measure results, maintain accountability and demonstrate performance. This "system" is odious on its face. It is works-oriented and results-driven. General Systems Theory, from which this "systems" thinking is derived, originates from some very pagan sources.

So . . . is the evangelical church at-large supposed to embrace without question this outcome-based methodology and esoteric ideology as part of defining its Corporate/Global Worldview?

The Truth:

Worldview is always a mix of truth and error. Those entangled in this worldly thinking of "Worldview" can run back to God's Word to find Truth.

"Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.

Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.

They also do no inquity: they walk in his ways.

Thou has commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently.

O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!

Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments.

I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.

I will keep thy statues: O forsake me not utterly." (Psalm 119:1-8)