The Communitarian-Driven Church

By Brannon S. Howse

Following Peter Drucker’s model, the people who go to church can now be viewed as customers. In a 1998 Forbes magazine interview, Drucker bridges business and church strategies when he says, “noncustomers are as important as customers, if not more important: because they are potential customers. … Yet it is with the noncustomers that changes always start.”


This suggests that non-church attendees are potential customers, so non-customers are more important than the church’s customers. There are also more non-customers than customers, and if you can find out why non-customers aren’t yet customers, you can turn them into customers by doing the right things to attract them.


What market research can help you discover this necessary non-customer information? You go around your town or city and take a survey of neighborhoods, asking unbelievers how they would program a church so they would want to attend (this has really been done). The unsaved, not surprisingly, want a church that looks like the world and makes them feel comfortable. They want a pastor who is a life coach to assist them in having their “best life now.” 


This is the same model Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Church has promoted for years. Hybels also signed the Yale document and has hosted Rob Bell, Brian McLaren, Tony Blair, and rock star Bono at his church or conferences. (His family aids in perpetuating the agenda as well: Bill Hybels’ wife writes for neo-Marxist Jim Wallis in Sojourner magazine.) Hybels seems especially comfortable with the Drucker model as he declares:

Unchurched people today are the ultimate consumers. We may not like it, but for every sermon we preach, they’re asking, “Am I interested in that subject or not?” If they aren’t, it doesn’t matter how effective our delivery is; their minds will check out.


The unbeliever who attends a church where the Gospel is being preached might laugh and discount the message because the cross is foolishness to those that are perishing (1 Corinthians 1:18). The unbeliever may hear the Gospel and decide that he or she wants to hear more. Or he or she may hear, believe, repent, and come to faith. These are the three responses Paul received when he preached the Gospel to skeptics and critics on Mars Hill as recounted in Acts 17. That’s the way it is supposed to work. 


Yes, the unsaved may hear the Gospel and reject it, but the solution is not to water down the Gospel to make it more appealing, but to preach the Gospel and pray the Holy Spirit convicts unbelievers of sin and that they respond by repenting and placing their faith and trust in Jesus Christ. It is not our job to get people saved. It is simply our calling as disciples of Jesus Christ to present the biblical truth of the Gospel without compromise. 

Even a cursory study of Rick Warren’s church philosophy reveals that Warren embraces the communitarian worldview mentor Peter Drucker. For instance:


In his speech, Warren argued that the solution of the world’s greatest problems lies in what he called the “third partnership.” The third partnership involves a relationship between faith communities, the government and the business sector….“If business and government were able to solve the world’s problems by themselves, they would have done it by now. A combination of the public, profit and parish sector is needed.”


Warren has repeated this theme over in interview after interview, book after book, and conference after conference:


The government has the administrative power to form agendas and set goals, the business sector can provide the expertise, the capital and the managerial skills, and the church can provide the distributive network and the local credibility.


That Rick Warren can call all religious faiths to join him in this global plan reveals that he is not presenting the biblical Gospel but social justice. Social justice is even a major tenet of Islam, which is why Warren was welcomed to speak to the Islamic Society of North America. He also invited them to join him in working for the “common good” through his global PEACE plan. 


The U.S. News & World Report article “Preacher with a Purpose” said of Rick Warren, “Today, what began in Warren’s teeny living room has 82,000 on its rolls. A realization of Warren’s vision for ‘a church for people who hate church.’”


Nowhere in the Scriptures do we see that our calling is to create a church for those who hate church. On the contrary, the New Testament Church is not about unbelievers but about “equipping” those who do believe. William Still wrote about this very issue in a serious yet humorous article:


The pastor is called upon to feed the sheep. (Now that may seem quite obvious.) He is called upon to feed the sheep even if the sheep do not want to be fed. He is certainly not to become an entertainer of goats. Let goats entertain goats, and let them do it in Goatland. You will certainly not turn goats into sheep by pandering to their goatishness.


It’s important to connect the dots when tracing the progression of various philosophies, and many of today’s dots connect back to the mid-twentieth century socialist radical named Saul Alinsky. Alinsky used the word “change” over and over in his book, Rules for Radicals, and by change he meant “revolution.” Fabian socialists, communitarians, globalists, statists, and internationalists are co-opting the Church in support of an Alinsky-style revolution. How do we know that? Rick Warren, for one, plays the theme when he says, “I think pastors are the most underrated change agents in America.” 


The book of Revelation makes it clear this will happen and that there will be a false church working with the anti-Christ to help him build the New World Order. The image in Scripture is the Great Whore or the Woman that Rides the Beast in Revelation 17 and 18.


Peter Drucker in “Business of the Kingdom,” a November 15, 1999 article in Christianity Today, describes “the pastor as manager.” But does the Bible describe a pastor that way? Ephesians 4:11-12 offers an answer: “And He, Himself, gave some to be apostles, some prophets”—now we come to the offices of today—“some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers.” Then we read, “some to be managers and CEOs.” Oh, I’m sorry. That’s not what it says at all. In fact, nowhere in the description of a pastor/teacher/shepherd do we see that he is called to be a chief executive officer. 


A pastor/teacher/shepherd is to be a godly man exercising his God-given spiritual gift for the purpose of the edification and equipping of the saints for the work of ministry. The pastor’s job is to feed the sheep, not to entertain goats. Scripture commands, “Go ye therefore into the world,” not, “Hey, world, come ye therefore into here.” The model for the biblical New Testament Church is to be a place to equip and train believers and then send them out. “Out there” they evangelize, and preach the Gospel. They explain to people the need for salvation through Christ alone with faith and repentance. If an individual becomes a follower of Jesus Christ through faith and repentance, then we disciple him or her in biblical truth. That’s how we fulfill the Great Commission for evangelism and discipleship—not by meeting the “felt needs” of the unsaved world.


In The Purpose Driven Church, Rick Warren says, “Small groups are the most effective way of closing the back door of your church.” Warren writes this because he understands the power of the small group setting. It’s where the dialectic process works best. In a large church meeting, it is more difficult to manipulate, intimidate, and co-opt dissenters. The dialectic process (also called the Delphi Technique) is most effective in a small or cell group in which the goal is to divide and conquer. 


Small group discussions and forums keep dissenters apart and keep them from identifying each other and joining up in a larger group. Once dissenters have been spread through the network of small groups, an individual or married couple who expresses dismay at the unbiblical transformation of their church can be manipulated by being told they are the only ones who have expressed such a view. They can be subdued by being told they are harsh, judgmental, arrogant, and a detriment to church unity and fellowship. This divide and conquer strategy either causes dissenters to conform to the group consensus or to leave the church, thinking they were the only ones that noticed and disagreed with the unbiblical transformation of the church. 


People who lead small groups that implement the Delphi Technique or the Dialectic Process are often called facilitators. Pre-trained facilitators know the outcome the church leadership desires. 


To be sure, small groups can be a great benefit to Bible-based churches. They enhance fellowship and disseminate biblical teaching when structured properly under qualified Bible teachers who teach in context rather than simply share opinions or inject hidden agendas. But this is not the Rick Warren model.


Change agents see the small group as a prime way to manipulate people. Very few people want to be put on the spot, to be ostracized, to be made to feel like they’re not part of the group. Those who go against the group consensus are challenged, and thus the conflict between thesis and antithesis begins. Wanting to be part of the group or to avoid being embarrassed or criticized, most individuals will compromise their convictions and accept the group consensus. When that happens, the facilitator has been successful in closing the door on “the wrong type of people.” This is nothing less than the psychological process of behavior management a la B. F. Skinner. 

Copyright 2012 ©Brannon Howse. This content is for Situation Room members and is not to be duplicated in any form or uploaded to other websites without the express written permission of Brannon Howse or his legally authorized representative. Banner