Yesterday I said that there are two ways to sell books on church and ministry. (If you haven’t read that post yet spend a couple of minutes and read it). There are two ways to sell books because there are two different visions about church and ministry. One vision is what I will call the Effective Model the other is the Biblically Faithful Model.
Lest you be offended I am not intending to apply that those that are concerned with being biblically faithful are not also concerned with being effective. Nor am I for a moment suggesting that those that desire to be effective are not at all concerned with being biblically faithful. What I am concerned with is the ultimate aim. Regardless of whatever lip service we might give at the end of the day what ultimately drives us is revealed by the words we use and the words we choose not to use.
Real Words from Real Books
While yesterdays post may have been an exaggeration, many of the words I used came from actual books on church and ministry. The selling point for one can be summed up by the word—effective. The selling point for the other can be summed up by the words—biblically faithful.
Now, I know that if you asked any of these authors if their ultimate desire is to be biblically faithful, they would all give a resounding yes. I do not intend to question the heart or motive of any of these men. But the problem is that while they would say that their ultimate desire is to be biblically faithful at the end of the day their work exposes that perhaps something else drives them.
It has been my experience that being biblically faithful is simply assumed in many of these books. It’s as if they say, “this is our foundation, duh! Now, how do we grow this church for the sake of Jesus.” So as a result the end becomes—how do we effectively reach people.
And for proof that I am not just being a jerk look at the selling point on the books. There is a marked difference between an option #2 book and an option #1 book. And it is not just that they have different publishers. They are different authors with different audiences and different visions for the church. They have a different gauge for success and apparently so do their audiences. One ultimately asks what is effective, the other ultimately asks what is biblically faithful.
I have a rather simple point in all of this. I know that most of those that read my blog are people passionate about Jesus and the church. Most of my readers want to see the church grow and want to see the church be healthy. Many probably read some of the same books I do about church and ministry. My goal in these posts is to convince you that we should focus our time and energy on being biblically faithful and let the Lord decide whether we are “effective”.
In other words if you are a church leader I encourage you not to take an “effective model” type of book and try to implement it in your church. Yes, it may “work” in their church. Yes, it may even “work” in your church. But just taking someone else’s “effective model” will short change you of the God-ordained process of patiently shepherding your people towards biblical faithfulness.
Tomorrow I want to make the argument that biblical faithfulness and effectiveness are not synonymous, and conclude by urging you to focus on biblical faithfulness over against mere effectiveness…