Decline and Fall of Purpose Driven Hype

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.

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2 thoughts on “Decline and Fall of Purpose Driven Hype”

  1. “Western drive to systematize everything”

    succintly put….

    I still own some systematic theology books, but i burned most of them…. Especially my Charles Ryrie “basic theology.” ouch!

  2. More unsettling to me is the Purpose Driven Church movement. What we’ve seen is countless churches give up the shot at a Spirit-inspired, unique identity for the sake of a “proven” method. It’s something like buying into a franchise from my point of view, as one would to open a Wendy’s. Can it work? Sure. Do I think God has something more for churches than becoming mini-me Saddlebacks? Absolutely.

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