However, I never thought I would see the day when high-profile pastors and church leaders would justify this unfaithfulness. In 2007, the Willow Creek Association published its findings that the most highly committed Christians at Willow Creek Community Church (in the Chicago suburb of South Barrington) were most dissatisfied with their own personal growth and the ministry of their church. Expressing their concern for deeper instruction and richer worship, these respondents were the most likely to be ready to leave Willow Creek. The obvious conclusion drawn by the church's leadership was that the church becomes less important for personal growth as believers mature and they should be taught to become "self-feeders." Believers grow out of their dependence on the church's ministry the same way children outgrow their parents' supervision, the leadership concluded. Over this same period, church marketing expert George Barna wrote two books urging that we move beyond the organized church altogether and find our "spiritual resources" elsewhere, particularly through Internet "communities." He offered statistics to back up his triumphalistic claim that this is already happening. People need spiritual coaches, he insisted, but not the church.
For more, see: