Thursday, March 05, 2009

Rick Warren on the American church vs. the New Testament Church

"Let me ask you to consider this question: What do the words committees, elections, majority rule, boards, board members, parliamentary procedures, voting, and vote have in common? None of these words are found in the New Testament! We have imposed an American form of government on the church and, as a result, most churches are as bogged down in bureaucracy as our government is. It takes forever to get anything done. Man-made organizational structures have prevented more churches from healthy growth than any of us could imagine."

- Rick Warren, The Purpose-Driven Church, p. 377

I believe Rick Warren here expresses the sentiments of many pastors and Christian leaders who love Jesus, love the people God has entrusted to them, and long to be part of "church" as a movement. John Maxwell said "This is the book we've all been waiting for." Legendary pastor W.A. Criswell said "This book will help every church, regardless of size, to recapture the mission of a New Testament church." Hadden Robinson said a wise pastor should read this book three times.

This was Warren's "purpose-driven" book that came out before his The Purpose-Driven Life. It was praised by evangelical Christian pastors and leaders and dismissed by organizational church leaders. (For the most part.) In my interactions and dialogue with pastor-leaders over the years I have seen the frustration and even despair of many who came to lead churches that were captive to "man-made organizational structures."

To get the quote above in context Warren's book remains worth reading (and re-reading).