Willow Creek October 19, 2006

Willow Creek

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by some people associated with Willow Creek Community Church. (Willow Creek is the most influential mega-church in the country, according to The Church Report.)

I had visited the church during the initial eBay visits, written about it, and the people there wanted me to talk about my experience visiting churches, what I learned, and what advice I would give to Christians listening to this message. They were going to air this video during a conference for church small group leaders.

I never really heard from anyone who attended the conference, though the guys who filmed the video said it had a good reception.

But I finally heard some feedback!

Mike O. wrote about how pastor Randy Frazee talked about my visit during the conference (in a lecture on how pastors can understand those who do not attend church in order to talk to them), opening his talk with the video. You can see Mike’s comments here.

If you read comment #3 by Ir, she read my mind. Pastor Randy says had he known I was attending his church back in February, he would have spoken on something different.

Ir says,

“It’s interesting that Randy would have chosen to preach on “what I think Hemant needs to hear” (ok, that’s my interpretation) rather than preaching on “what would connect best with Hemant”.

This is interesting, but really, even that is missing the point. I don’t want a church to say “We knew you were coming, so here’s the special message we have for you.” Just tell me what you were going to say, anyway. If that’s not good enough for me, it shouldn’t be good enough for anyone.

Pastor Randy might as well have said: This is what we normally talk about, but we can’t actually *say* that to non-Christians, so let’s talk about something else to bring them into the fold…

The point is, if the church wants to connect with others, it’s not going to happen by rephrasing your message in a particular way. I’m not going to attend a church who honestly feels my confidence in the Scientific Method is misplaced. I’m not going to attend a church that thinks homosexuality is a sin. You get the point. There would have to be an internal change in thought to get me to accept Christian beliefs. But that’s not likely to happen.

For what it’s worth, I did enjoy the Willow Creek service I attended when Pastor Randy spoke earlier in the year, and it was because he seemed sincere and honest in what he was saying. Yes, I disagreed with some of what he said, but I enjoyed listening to him. To hear him say he would’ve changed the message if he knew I was attending is disappointing.

[tags]Willow Creek Community Church, The Church Report, pastor, conference, Randy Frazee, Off the Map[/tags]

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