Friday, October 27, 2006

Purpose-Driven Cows & DNA

Fact is sometimes stranger than fiction. The other day this article popped up on the Internet:

"Cattle Update: The Purpose-Driven Herd by Steve Suther

"The cows in your herd are there for a reason. For profit's sake, let's hope it's not just because you can't catch them. How did they get on the place, and why do you let them stay?

"You should consider those questions for each cow, but start with the big picture. Why do you have cows? That's a deeper question than you can answer in a few seconds.

"Many people looking for even deeper answers have purchased Rick Warren's spiritual bestseller, 'The Purpose-Driven Life.' In the last few years, his concepts have spread to the business world. You can now find articles on 'purpose-driven management' in everything from software development to drywall construction and forestry. Why not animal husbandry?

"Some have turned their lives around by realizing a higher purpose; so you can turn your herd around by realizing they don't just represent cattle. They represent food for people.

"You could start with the same commitment that Warren demands: 'In transformational planning, there can be no sacred cows.'" [To read the rest of this story go HERE…]

We checked with the writer. This is not satire. It is actually a well-written account of how to incorporate Rick Warren's (i.e., Peter Drucker's) purpose-driven philosophies into cattle management. This article is interesting because it suggests "planned (purpose-driven) crossbreeding programs" to meet the demands of the market. It delves into the genetics of cattle, "planned crossbreds," "targeted genetic selction," etc.

In an ideal world we would stop here and leave you to enjoy the writer's fun little foray into cattle ranching. This would simply be an exercise in fun reading if it weren't for the fact there is a similar "genetic" focus in the church growth movement's church change model. Within the past decade key leaders in evangelicaldom have adopted the term "DNA" to describe church change and growth. What precisely do they mean by "DNA"? And how does it fit the purpose-driven change ("transformation") model?

To find out, we went back over the past few years and pulled up some examples of how this term "DNA" is being used.

DNA & Rick Warren:

"The Purpose Driven strategy is based on two vital assumptions: People grow best when you allow them to make gradual commitments, and you must ask for commitment in specific ways, such as using covenants.…

"7. They form small groups on purpose: Purpose Driven DNA is implanted in every cell (group) of the congregation. Each small group helps the members fulfill each of the five purposes in their lives. The goal is to help every believer live a purpose driven life.
"The Characteristics of a Purpose Driven Congregation," by Rick Warren.

"Buchholz and the church leadership team attended their first Purpose Driven Church conference at Saddleback Church in 1998.

"At that time, the church had about 400 members. 'The concepts of Purpose Driven ministry became embedded into the DNA of our church,' he said. 'We began to develop ministries on purpose and developed leaders on purpose. We continued to send teams of leaders to Willow Creek Church, Saddleback, North Coast Church, and others in the coming years, learning from growing churches.'"

["Purpose Driven principles help California church effectively build a growing church." Family Community Church, 2006 Church Health Awards]

"For years, male lay leaders and men's ministry pastors have felt frustrated because the men's ministry was not in the DNA of the church, Luck says.

"…Luck is hoping to not re-invent the wheel, but use the Purpose Driven Ministries format many church leaders already have in their DNA."
[ "New Purpose Driven Ministries conference to help churches raise up male leaders," by Kelli Cottrell]

"This follows the model of Jesus and his disciples, or Paul and the men he mentored during the days recorded in Acts. Those men went deep into relationship with one another, and God used those relationships to make a radical change in their identities and their spiritual DNA."
["Help Your Church's Men Grow in God's Purposes," Rick Warren, Rick Warren's Ministry ToolBox, Issue #232, Nov. 9, 2005]

"Personal Computers have brand names. But inside every PC is an Intel chip and an operating system, Windows," Warren told Christianity Today. "The Purpose Driven paradigm is the Intel chip for the 21st-century church and the Windows system of the 21st-century church."
["Churches Serve Together Through 'Purpose Driven' Program," Christian Post, Friday, Nov. 11, 2005]

DNA & the Emergent/Emerging Church:

"As the church lumbers through history, the Spirit of God will continually speak prophetically regarding things that must remain the same and things that must change. So the church will always be emerging; it’s in our DNA."
["What is Emerging," Chuck Smith Jr., Apr-28-2005. Blog post. This article originally appeared in the March/April 2005 issue of Worship Leader magazine.]

"EXPLORER: So then, change is built into the DNA of New Hope?

"Cordeiro: Yes, from the onset. I think God could see that and allowed the growth to be quick without splitting. God knew the optimal rate of growth for us, saw my gift mix and the other leaders' gifts, and the constituency of the people and we have been able to move at that speed. Every pastor has to look at, discover and apply what they feel will be the most optimal rate of growth.
["DOING CHURCH AS A TEAM," EXPLORER...field notes for the emerging church, An e-publication of Leadership Network, Number 30, February 12, 2001]

"In my last museletter, we discussed the fact that the difficulty of measuring significance keeps many people frozen in Life I. I mentioned a long letter I received from Peter Drucker fifteen years ago that clarified my mission and pretty much set the DNA for the fifteen years since – and my life’s work. In the letter, Peter wrote, “Your first role is the personal one … This is something only you can do. It is not something that can be measured or can be easily defined. But it is not only a key function. It is one only you can perform.”

["Part II - How do you measure significance? -- My Book of Days,"Bob Buford, "From the Mind of Bob… Musings for Friends,"]

DNA & Missions/Church Growth Movement:

"3. Intentional Planting of Reproducing Churches -- When a person and their 'oikos' are won to Christ, we should start a new church with them instead of incorporating them into an existing church. A CPM church practices obedience-based discipleship (instead of knowledge based). Their spiritual DNA will cause them to naturally (supernaturally) reproduce. They will also have the spiritual 'antibodies' to fight off heresies. They will produce leaders from within and develop Christ-likeness over time to become transformation agents in their society. "
["A Summary Of REPORTS OF ALL FOCUS GROUPS AtTransform World: Bihar Challenge 2006, January 6-9, 2006 Patna, Bihar, India. "Church Planting Movements," Chairman: S. D. Ponraj, Facilitator: Tim Patterson, "Opportunities."]

"The ATN [Apostolic Transformation Movement, ed.] operates in close connection with Harvest Evangelism because of the shared DNA and the focused assistance that the Harvest Evangelism team provides to developing prototypes."
["What is the ATM?" Ed Silvoso]

Marketplace Transformation:

"What is the DNA of City Transformation?
"There are four key ingredients required to see a city transformed. They include 1) prayer, 2) humility, 3) unity, and 4) knowledge of God’s ways."

["Can a City be Transformed for Jesus Christ?" Os Hillman, Marketplace Leaders]

"Doug Spada’s California-based His Church at Work ministry is one of the newest pioneering efforts to equip the local church to focus on faith at work issues. Spada’s ministry does this by creating the infrastructure for a sustainable work-life ministry. His ultimate vision is that churches will send out members to minister in the workplace, just as missionaries are sent out to foreign lands. “We help people launch full-blown ministries within their church,” Spada explains. “This isn’t, ‘Hey, let’s meet for breakfast.’ This is more of an embedded ministry which makes it part of the DNA of the local church.”
"Bringing God to the 9 to 5 Window," Os Hillman, Marketplace Leaders]

"As the work life ministry at Journey continues to mature the church looks for more ways to drive the truths of 'work as a true ministry calling' deeper into the DNA of the church. To elevate this issue, the church devoted an entire month in 2003 to equipping each member for his or her calling at work. A month-long series called 'The God of Monday—Finding God in Your Workplace' was developed and then taught by Pastor Ed Noble. Drama, discipleship, and testimony were all part of this pervasive work-life campaign."
["Churches Making Paradigm Shift in Equipping the 9 to 5 Window," Os Hillman, International Coalition of Workplace Ministries]

"Creativity should always flow from the children of the Creator. Change should be the norm in light of our spiritual DNA."
["Even Healthy Churches Need to Change" by H. Dale Burke,ChristianityToday/Leadership]

New Apostolic Reformation/Latter Rain

"Scientists tell us that every cell in our body carries in it two DNA codes; one code to bring the cell to maturity and reproduction, and another code to bring the cell into harmony and integration with the entire organism. It's part of God's natural design.

"So it is in the spiritual realm. God has placed within every member of the body of Christ an individual destiny of maturity and reproduction and a corporate destiny to integrate with the whole body. This organism, the body of Christ, is called to conform to the head, King Jesus Christ, and then to transform the world into the image of His Kingdom."
["THE FUTURE CHURCH Lions in the Pews" by David Bradshaw, My Idea Factory]

"In an apostolic network the person in charge of maintaining the DNA of the network is the lead apostle, who consults with those he or she chooses, and no one else."
["Goodbye, Theologians," C. Peter Wagner, September 06, 2006, "Guest Commentary," Ministry Today]

"The Living Word or Bread of life once again desires to be made flesh through a body of people joined with Him in a holy consummation. As we live not by natural bread alone, but by the living Word proceeding from the mouth of God, the bread of abundant life, even so the hidden truth of godliness will become part of our spiritual DNA."
["Shepherd's Rod, Part 1: Blood and Fire," Paul Keith Davis and Bob Jones : Oct 11, 2004]

"The level of revelation granted to Paul is about to be released to the Church to present the 'plumbline' of God and establish a perfect standard. Our comprehension of God's word will rocket to incredible heights when we eat the now 'open book' of redemption that unveils the fullness of God's plan. It has been reserved in God from the days of Daniel until today. The treasures of wisdom and knowledge hidden in Christ that will present the bride without spot or wrinkle will be delegated to her.

"There is something woven into the spiritual DNA of God's people today that propels us into this new place. It is 'deep calling unto deep.' …."

["Change is Imminent," Paul Keith Davis, WhiteDove Ministries, February 2006 E-Newsletter]

"Jesus came to birth a 'New Breed' on the earth and restore the Kingdom of God to them. This new breed is a remnant of people recklessly abandoned and in love with their God, who through intimacy destroy the works of the devil, and bring the realm of heaven to earth daily. This new breed would carry the very DNA of God within them and continue the mandate originally given to Adam to fill the earth with the Glory of God.

"…Jesus would be the prototype of a new breed. Jesus birthed a new 'man' on the earth who would carry the DNA of God within them and continue the mandate originally given to Adam and fill the earth with the Glory of God.…

"…God is trying to get us to a place of really understanding who we are. The church is having an identity crisis. When the people of God begin to realize that the purpose of J esus on the earth was to birth a new breed of people who would carry the DNA of God within them and bring heaven to earth daily, we will begin to live with purpose. When the people of God begin to realize their identity as the very offspring of God and that as He is right now, so are we in this world, the church will begin to shake the nations with the power of God."

["The New Breed - Part 2," Ryan Wyatt, Abiding Glory Ministries, Open Heaven]

Business Gurus:

"…In this article, Jim Collins introduces the catalytic mechanism, a simple yet powerful managerial tool that helps translate lofty aspirations into concrete reality. What's the difference between catalytic mechanisms and most traditional managerial controls? Catalytic mechanisms share five characteristics. First, they produce desired results in unpredictable ways. Second, they distribute power for the benefit of the overall system, often to the discomfort of those who traditionally hold power. Third, catalytic mechanisms have teeth. Fourth, they eject 'viruses'--those people who don't share the company's core values. Finally, they produce an ongoing effect."

[Editorial Review, Book Description of Turning Goals into Results: The Power of Catalytic Mechanisms by Jim Collins posted at ]

“Now that we are really beginning to understand what makes organizations great in the business world, we might actually provide some DNA to the whole social system.”

[“Introduction,” Jim Collins, April 5, 2004 issue of Fortune p. 110. ]

[All emphases above are added]

The Truth:

There are a multitude of heresies represented in the quotations presented. Many of these individuals and organizations, terms and concepts, have been discussed previously on the Herescope blog. New viewers with questions are encouraged to use the search function in the upper left corner of this blog to become better warned about these heresies. For more information, also see

"O full of all subtlety and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?" (Acts 13:10)