While I feel very sorry for folks who lost their jobs in recent layoffs, I feel a little relieved at the decline of the PurposeDriven empire. I admire some things about Rick Warren; for one, he’s used his platform recently to draw attention to global issues, and his new PEACE plan promises a different sort of focus. (It’s one more acronym, though, in the line that gave us SHAPE.
It’s not a bad idea, at its core, built as it is around five NT purposes: worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry, and missions. But too many PurposeDriven practitioners I know still prize church growth over believer growth. So I’m not sorry it’s on its way out.
I think it fuels the CEO-model more than the shepherd model of pastoral leadership. As such, I wonder if it’s at odds with historic Christianity.
Like the church growth movement as whole, PD is a product, naturally, of the Western drive to systematize everything. Systems are not bad; there’s a lot that systematic theology has to offer the church, especially as it’s defined in Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology. But go too far in that direction, and I think you end up with an institutionalized Christianity that hamstrings the Holy Spirit, if that were possible.
So sayonara, PurposeDriven. It’s been real.