Susan finds Something Missing

kinnon —  January 11, 2008 — 2 Comments

Another post from The Philosophical Pastor that needs pointing to, Something is Missing:

First it was necessary to re-cast Spiritual gifts as “natural” gifts – talents everyone has. One need not be a Christian to have these gifts, and becoming a Christian only re-directs where you use the gifts, and sort of cleans them up, too. You can use them in the world just like you used to before you became a Christian (but perhaps with more love and grace and good Christian character) and now, as a Christian, you can employ your ‘gifts’ in the Church.

Once that idea has taken root, we are ready to begin replacing body parts. The evangelist is replaced by the advertising and marketing director, the apostle is replaced by the entrepreneur, the teacher with the inspirational speaker, the pastor with the business manager, the one with mercy replaced by an administrator who validates food-bank requests, the one with hospitality with an event-planner, the prophet with the actuary. Once these “positions” are filled, the rest become customers and volunteers in the organization.

The astonishment expressed by Bill Hybels, when, speaking at the Leadership Summit he summarizes, “Some of the stuff that we have put millions of dollars into thinking it would really help our people grow and develop spiritually; when the data actually came back it wasn’t helping people that much. Other things that we didn’t put that much money into and didn’t put much staff against is stuff our people are crying out for…” is not so astonishing to me, and to others who saw right through what Willow was doing from the get-go. It took Hybels 30 years to “discover” that something wasn’t “working.” The millions of dollars spent, the program and participation–driven environment, was creating effects that lacked a certain spiritual character. People weren’t developing spiritually…

Many of us could say, “well…duh!” … and have said exactly that. Hybels’ declaration (as “revelation” ! ) that new believers need to be discipled in the Christian way is not “news” to a LOT of people.

Please visit Susan’s blog and comment there…and your always welcome to comment here, too.



A television editor, writer & director since 1978. A Christian since 1982. More than a little frustrated with the Church in the West since late in the last millennium.

2 responses to Susan finds Something Missing

  1. thanks for pointing me to this quote Bill. It’s quite insightful and one thing that stands out is the emphasis on spiritual development as if it were seperate from the rest of life. in that scenario, priority is given to meeting spiritual needs and areas of justice and engagement with big issues in our time become secondary….after all, the world is going to burn up anyway, so why bother, right?

  2. John,
    There are, I’ve heard, people who believe that “spritual development” is some kind of etherial platonic experience. I wouldn’t be one of those people. Spiritually formed people care deeply about justice and engagement with issues in our time. If they don’t, something is wrong.


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