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Archive for the ‘Church planting’ Category

Just over a year ago, I noted the parallels between the current contextual/missional/hipster/urban church planting movement inspired by Mark Driscoll and others and the Bill Hybels/Rick Warren inspired church growth movement of 10-20 years ago.  (Note that I did not say there was a 1:1 correspondence between the two, but simply noted a similar mentality that is evident in both movements.  I think the theology and general approach of Mark Driscoll and Tim Keller is much more preferable.)

While I rather doubt that I was the first one to connect those dots, I’m pretty sure that I spent more time on those posts and the related discussion across the blogosphere than I have on any other subject since I established this blog.  Depending on your point of view, that series of posts was either the most popular or the most infamous material I’ve ever posted in my short and generally undistinguished blogging career.  This was largely due to the context, which was the latest spat among Southern Baptist bloggers.  (For the few who may be keeping score, I am still an occasional blogger, but no longer a Southern Baptist.)

Earlier this evening, a post by Dean Bob Gonzales of Reformed Baptist Seminary tipped me off to an interesting post by Bill Streger, an Acts 29 church planter in Houston.  In my view, Dr. Gonzales accurately describes the original post in this fashion:  “An Acts 29 network pastor offers a caution to his colleagues and provides an example of a healthy and humble self critical posture.”

Pastor Streger cautions against a herd or movement mentality among younger leaders and church planters and warns against an uncritical emulation of prominent pastors and leaders as we saw with the church growth/seeker sensitive movement of the last generation.   Predictably it was this concluding sentence that provoked the strongest reaction:

“Or it could be that we’re simply following in the footsteps of the church growth movement that we’ve loved to publically criticize while privately trying to emulate – we’ve just replaced Bill Hybels and Rick Warren with Tim Keller and Mark Driscoll.”

The post in question clearly touched a nerve, as a furor ensued that appears to be almost worthy of the Southern Baptist blogosphere.  Indeed, the ensuing discussion resulted in a follow up post that some feel retracted more than was necessary.  As someone who has too often hastily posted things that were somewhat uncharitable, however true they may have been, I can to some small extent identify with Bro. Streger’s plight in perceiving that his initial post was not as carefully worded as it could have been.

The real news here may be the apparent inability or unwillingness of some who identify with Acts 29 (whether formally or not) to accept public criticism of their movement, especially from an insider.  Ironically, this bears no small resemblance to the reaction you might expect to see from some of the more rigid independent fundamentalists when one of their own dares to utter some criticism of their movement.  However, I was grateful to see that the criticism (which all things considered really seems to be rather mild) was taken in stride by many others.

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