Collectivism in the Church: How did we get here?

There is an entire culture, complete with its own language, shaped around what has become the “business” of doing Church. Rather than focusing on feeding the sheep or equipping the saints to bring the Good News of the Gospel to those who don’t know Him, it would seem the Next Church is about the business of growing the flock, broadening God’s market share, spawning new Christians and leading them to a life of volunteerism.

pendulumHow did we get to this point? The answer comes straight from our history in the last century, and you might be surprised to learn that the pendulum that brought us some of the darkest times in memory is now swinging around again.
Our guest today is Chris Rosebrough, host of the daily radio program, Fighting For The Faith, heard around the world on Pirate Christian Radio, a broadcast group he founded to help Christians discern God’s Word in a world where there is no shortage of Bible-twisting messages bombarding airwaves and pulpits.

We want to warn you that the content of this show is heavy and will weigh on your mind, as it should.  You may want to take notes or re-listen to what you’ve heard.  And you’ll definitely want to click on the links Chris himself has recommended for your own research and understanding into what you are about to hear.


The Background:

Having done extensive research over the years, Chris contends that what many of us don’t realize is that the Emerging Church is a product created by and promoted by the “Druckerites,” or those who have been personally mentored and inspired by the late business guru Peter DruckerRick Warren, Bob Buford and Bill Hybels are the Druckerite “trinity,” and according to Chris, these three men more than any others are responsible for innovating the church by purposely changing congregations from a pastoral ministry model to a CEO / Innovative Change Agent leadership model.

What’s more, all of these innovations were strategically crafted under the careful eye of Peter Drucker himself. And all of these innovations were incubated, introduced and injected into the church through the coordinated efforts of Drucker’s disciples through their different but intimately connected organizations; Leadership Network, the Purpose Driven Network and the Willow Creek Association.

In a 1989 interview with Peter Drucker in this article titled, Managing To Minister, Drucker explains how he was influential in the successful reorganizing of major businesses like General Motors and Sears as well as governmental agencies like the Department of Defense, before turning his attention to what he called the “Third Sector:” nonprofit, human services organizations and churches.

By 1994 Drucker was the main attraction at a special Summit on “The Futures of Denominations.” The groundbreaking event was part of the Leadership Network (birthed by Bob Buford), which convened over 75 denominational leaders, senior ministers, consultants, and others in Ontario, California.  The summit was a game changer for the Church as we now know it, as Drucker’s telling comments reveal:  “Let us change the way we look at the Protestant church in America as a result of the meeting. While acknowledging that there are still many unhealthy churches, there is a justified “change in basic premises, basic attitudes, basic mind set… on the whole, we are on the march. We are not on the retreat.”

Homework and Related articles

Chris Recommends:

Modern Fascism: The Threat to the Judeo-Christian Worldview by Gene Edward Veith

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3 Responses to Collectivism in the Church: How did we get here?

  1. Mr Davis says:

    Why are we shocked by this? Did Jesus Christ die for an institution? I don't think so. He died for His body, made up of believers, who Christ Himself would knit together by the Gifting and work of the Holy Spirit into one body. see Ephesians 4

    We ignor all this! By the efforts and methods of man we seek to build a kindom named after Christ but has nothing at all to do with the operation of the body of Christ. See 1 Corinthians 12, 14:25-on. Romans 12. Instead Mankind is exhalted. Mans wisdom is lifted up and to our shame, so is our sin. We flaunt our rebellion and boast in our revelrey.

    Will we return to our first love. Will I return to my first love and submit to my true husband not some stand-in lover who is only seeking to exploit me for his own pleasure. Know this my husband will not be happy if he comes and finds me in bed with a stranger.

    Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. Romans 16:17-18

    Follow Paul's doctrine!!! He was Jesus Christ chosen instrument to the Gentiles. We would do well to take heed to all he has written to us.

    Wake up bride. The groom, He is coming!!!

    May God grant us repentance unto salvation!

    Revelation 3
    17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: 18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.


  2. Rev. Ken Burton says:

    Thanks for an enlightening interview with Chris. I myself have had the experience with performance based evaluations within our church body (LCMS). One of the main characteristics of the Transforming Churches Network (TCN) was that if your congregation did not grow 5% within 2 years, the pastor would agree to take a call. In my case it did not happen that way. I resigned after only 1 year trying out the TCN model. In my opinion, it was disastrous for the congregation I was serving and for me personally. A far cry from our theology of the divine call.


  3. Susie Q says:

    Excellent interview!

    I was in a church from 1982 to 1995 which was influenced early on by Leadership Network, only I did not realize just how much until I looked through Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Church book in 2000. The pastor of that church wrote an endorsement, unusual for him to have done then. First I noticed similarities in various forms which had been used. Then I asked myself, "How would it be for me to be part of a church which was transitioning to a Warrenish model?" I soon knew. As I read the book with that question, I found that I recognized the pressures to conform. I had gone through this at "my" church.

    Clueless though I really was, I asked questions when the strategic planning methods and language came.

    I sought to have doctrinally sound teaching in my elementary aged children's Sunday School classes.

    As a result, the following happened:

    1. I realized that the pastor was less concerned about this moralistic plus Sunday School curriculum and any negative influence it would have on the children than he was on restructuring the church.

    2. I was told by the pastor that "if I did not feel safe, my husband ought to take me somewhere else." My husband was on the staff of the church. A few months later he resigned his position for unrelated reasons and we went somewhere else. Really into another type of disaster.

    3. The Sunday School curriculum was removed at the end of its first quarter of use. The replacement had more Biblically solid content.

    4. The indoctrination into the business model has had continuing influence in my husband's thinking (or is it feeling and experiences?). He attended small Leadership Network forums for his area of church work during our time at that church. This probably began in the late 1980s. He was not a senior pastor.

    This church outwardly looked different than Willow Creek and Saddleback but the internal philosophies and operating system were remarkably similar.

    As I studied and researched and remembered, I became sure of the direct link to Buford and Drucker. More recently these connections have been confirmed publicly. During the time I was at the church only a small group of staff, and maybe some elders,knew of this outside influence.


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