Tag Archives: Tim Stevens
Nearly a year ago I began to follow the moving and shaking that has been happening in the northern part of my state in a booming Christian congregation called Granger Community Church. A typical megachurch, Granger prides itself in being fully relevant to popular culture even to the extent of using Coldplay songs to headline services and basing sermons on popular movies, drawing out “spiritual themes” and applying them to the lives of Christians.
As a testimony to the belief in the method above the message, executive pastor Tim Stevens wrote a book called Pop Goes the Church: Should the Church Engage Pop Culture? to defend the church’s philosophy of taking pop culture as the driving force behind its weekly services rather than the good news of Jesus Christ.
Lacking theological basis, services at Granger lack the biblical substance, giving popular culture the center stage. Granger wrongly bases its success on the number of people in attendance, not on the strength of their belief. For the remainder of this post I will take chapter 8, titled “I’m Not a Theologian, But…” and address each of the ten points he tries to make to justify a position that the church should not only address popular culture, but completely embrace it.
Last night was my first experience of the blockbuster movie Avatar. The epic was a feast for the eyes, the ears, and the nerves as I watched on the edge of my seat. Even with the obvious comparisons with Pocahontas and Fern Gully, it was a definite delight.
But Avatar is NOT Christian.
Rev. Roy Shaff apparently agrees, but thinks that it is a prime opportunity for “discussion” about “spiritual truths.” Rather than relying on the Bible (which is supposedly authoritative) to bring its own truth, Rev. Shaff advocates for taking this film as a primary source for discussion. In a post on his blog, he tries to pull out what he says are excellent discussion points that connect with the message in Scripture.
Seems that these days many church leaders are talking about what needs to be different in church leadership. Dallas Willard, in his book The Divine Conspiracy commented that the church of today is designed to produce the exact result that we are seeing. And according to the Barna Group that result is a 86% failure rate.
In a recent blog posting by Tim Stevens, the executive pastor at Granger Community Church in Granger, IN, commented about this issue. He shared high points of a conversation with Shannon O’Dell of Brand New Church in rural Arkansas. Here are the points that caught my attention:
- The greatest hurdle in reaching the lost is those already saved.
- A church is not a democracy. It is a theocracy. If your church is set up as a democracy, it is unbiblical.
- When you get to be a church of our size, the only thing that can split your church is staff. That’s why we quickly get rid of dissatisfied or disloyal staff.
- I don’t think the office of pastor is even biblical. The word is only used once in the New Testament and it is a spiritual gift, not a position.
- When people are giving or serving–they are more like God at that moment than any other time in their life. So we encourage people to give and serve. We do people a disservice if we train people theology who aren’t serving.
Tough to swallow, but I can certainly see that these thoughts come from the heart of church leaders who hope to take the church in a direction away from business-as-usual and to a world-changing force!