I picked the following off Kerry Denten’s site The Wind Farm where it is actually a reprint of a post written by Peter Matthews, the Vicar of St Patrick’s Anglican Church in Lexington, Kentucky, better known as “Guitar Priest“.
Chuck Warnock at Confessions of a Small Church Pastor writes:
Here’s the backstory: Greg Hawkins, exec pastor at Willow Creek, surveyed Willow Creek members to determine the effectiveness of WC’s programs — small groups, worship, service groups, etc. Participants had four choices to describe their spiritual lives:
Exploring — not yet Christians, but interested.
Growing — new Christians and growing in faith.
Close to Christ.
Centered in Christ.
The survey results produced what Bill Hybels calls “the wake up call of my adult life” –
Survey Says: After a person left Stages 1 & 2, church programs did not help them love God or love people more. And, to make matters worse, people in Stages 3 & 4 said they wanted to “be fed.” Some even left Willow Creek altogether.
Conclusion: Church programs are helpful initially for new and growing Christians, but as people mature in their faith church programs are inadequate and ineffective. (Watch the videos and look at Willow Creek’s new REVEAL website for their next move.)
You have got to watch these videos.
BTW — the key thing Willow Creek is implementing is personal spiritual plans that help each person identify a set of practices that move them forward in their spiritual lives. Hmm…
Again — I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP!!
A Final Note from Kerry:
This is truly one of the single most encouraging stories I have read in the last five years of my journey. Upon watching the full 13 minute version of Greg Hawkins’ presentation, I was moved to tears to think that the very things I have seen in the Spirit and have been believing for God to change in the contemporary church, are finally happening .. and on such a grand scale. Pray for Willow Creek! They’ll need all the help and protection they can get to make this transition complete and intact.