EXCERPT FROM CONNECTIONS – 08/29/10:
ARE CONSUMER-DRIVEN CHURCHES BETRAYING THE AMERICAN SOUL?
The Community Church of Joy in Glendale, Arizona, exemplified the successful church of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. In 2002 the congregation had 12,000 members. Church operations filled a sprawling 187-acre campus. Community Church of Joy was known as a place where people could enjoy worship experiences that were fun and upbeat, with high production values.
But the pastor who had built this successful church had second thoughts. Walt Kallestad began to wonder what it all amounted to. If Community Church of Joy were to suddenly disappear, would anyone in the larger Phoenix metropolitan area notice or care? Had the church made any real difference?
Kallestad confessed his disquiet to his congregation. He told them the Church was little more than a dispenser of religious goods and services. People hadnt been asked to make sacrifices, or involve themselves with their neighbors needs or trials, nor did they welcome challenges to grow and mature. A third of the membership left.
A similar come-to-Jesus moment recently occurred at the granddaddy of the modern megachurches, Willow Creek Community Church. Read this in full at