Sunday, April 30, 2006

40 Days of Purpose, Day 1

Yesterday at church was weird. It was our 40 Day of Purpose kickoff. We only sang two hymns instead of four because the video was so long - so long that it took up most of the service and the entire Sabbath School time. It just went through the five basics of the program we're about to do - worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry, and evangelism. It's that last one that scares me.

I decided to pull out a small cat-themed blank journal I have and use that to take notes with from the book instead of using my sermon notebook. I'll put the sermons during this time in their, too, but my actual sermon notebook shouldn't be used for daily notes. No earth-shattering insights so far - I'm just writing the main ideas of each reading to solidify them in my mind.

I am really not liking all the paraphrased Bibles he quotes from. He quotes from the Bible a lot, but nine times out of ten it's a paraphrase. How can I be sure the verses say what he claims they do if I can't see the real verses? MAJOR bummer, that. I keep finding myself thinking, "Does the verse really say that?"

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Anonymous said...

Oh gosh.

Just whose brilliant idea was it to have "40 days of purpose" in your church? Scratch that ... it's not important.

Nonetheless, my distinct impression of "Purpose driven life" is that it is intended to produce the kind of worshipper that provides the raw material for "the purpose-driven church".

Which seems to be designed to be a "mega-church in a box". Pastors that I've seen pick this up seem to be unsatisfied with their church's size (30-100 people) and want to make a church much like Saddleback. The result is often a Saddleback clone.

The idea that your little 30-60 person church is going to become a powerhouse like Saddleback is ludicrous, excuse my French.

*Shrug*. Shutting up now. Perhaps you will get something out of it. I know that "purpose-driven life" has a lot of good, common sense stuff that can be very useful for new Christians.

The downside -- IMO -- is that it can also produce a "cookie-cutter" Christian who does all the right things and is very much into works and building the church. Someone who has a ministry in the church, an outreach to people outside, attends all the classes, and is in short the very (spiritualized) model of an American achiever.

Much emphasis on corporate achievement, little emphasis on spiritual development.

I will say that I grew to loathe and despise "Purpose-driven" to such an extent I left my church over it. It felt too corporate. I felt the old church was simply adopting the entire methodology wholesale without taking local factors into account.

But who knows? Perhaps it will be different for you folks. Perhaps it will be done differently. Just because *I* had a bad experience with it doesn't mean *everyone* has a bad experience with it.

Perhaps it is something that you folks need and can use. If so, I wish you the best.

Looking forward to your continuing comments on the issue.


Brian P.

Anonymous said...

One final comment: If he gives the verse citations, you can look them up or . Both have both the paraphrases he use and more traditional translations such as King James and NIV. Read several of them together to get a "sense" of what the passage is, in fact, saying.

I will say that "scripture-twisting" is an accusation often leveled against Rick Warren. See

And for a defense of Rick Warren, see

The truth lies somewhere in between. As I said -- it is an issue of concern. I don't believe Warren's errors are either as severe as his critics make out or as harmless as his defenders call them. The best solution, of course, is to read the Bible for yourself.


Brian P.

Newbirth said...

It's really not that bad, Brian. Really. We're not doing this because we want to become a mega-church. We're doing this for the same reason we've done other studies as a church - to grow as Christians. We also did a Larry Burket study on money, and Gary Smalley's study on relationships.

I know I can look up the verse citations, but it's a lot of extra work and requires carrying a Bible with me on top of everything else. I'm pressed for time. I do these studies on the bus or train or while waiting for the bus or train, and I'm already juggling the book and my notebook and pen. Adding a Bible to that mix isn't appealing.

He should have picked a couple good but obscure translations and stuck with them. I really don't like paraphrases.

Oh, my church is not 30-60 people, and we don't think we're going to become like Saddleback. I doubt anyone there even WANTS to become like Saddleback.

Not everyone does things because they want to become a mega-church, Brian.

We have 30 people on a good day, and due to various factors we had only 17 yesterday. One woman and her family stayed home in protest that Rick Warren uses paraphrases (that's going a bit far to stay home from church I think), and another woman and her family had a minor medical emergency and spent the morning in the emergency room. So only 17 people.

Anonymous said...

And perhaps that's the major difference:

You guys sound like you're going to do the study, learn from it, then go on to the next thing.

In the church I was in, we did the study, but it didn't stop there. Purpose-driven became a *way of life* as the church adopted everything Rick Warren suggested and pushed through all kinds of things. The entire church was "purpose driven" in every since of the word for two years.

It was at this point I could no longer stand it.

It sounds to me you guys are taking a much more sane approach to the whole thing and thus will have fewer problems.

All the best.


Brian P.