The Purpose-Driven Boomer

In Michael Spencer’s article, A Contrarian Manifesto for the Church Growth Debate, he says, “I don’t care about the Purpose-Driven Church, the Emergent Church, the Seeker Church, The Church-Growth Church or any other trendy moniker. I’m into the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. If baby boomers want their own church, with everything done their way so they don’t have to share with the rest of Christianity, fine. Go have your play date. I’m hanging with the big dogs of Christian history and passing on the hot dogs of American evangelicalism.”

But any criticism cuts both directions. If we confuse either “the old ways” or “the new ways” with “the way, the truth and the life”, we’re in trouble. If we confuse popularity with orthodoxy, or confuse it with heresy(!), we’re in trouble.

The homogenous unit principle of the Church Growth Movement says that churches grow fastest when all the members are the same. But that’s numerical growth. Spiritual growth? That’s another matter. As a fellow baby boomer, I’ve noticed that dying to my own musical and cultural preferences in worship helps me to die to self too. And that’s very good. It’s also good practice for heaven, which I expect to be sharing with at least some people (Abraham, Paul and Tozer are possibilities) who aren’t baby boomers or younger than me.

My experience is that churches that really want to follow Jesus will welcome and disciple any person who is sincere. If their cultural patterns obscure the light of the gospel, they will change their cultural patterns. And if a sincere seeker sees the light of the gospel among people with different tastes in music or dress, he will seek Jesus anyway, and try to set aside his tastes. We all need to set aside our tastes to keep others from stumbling.

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