Friday, May 20, 2005

Willow Creek in Business Week

A recent edition of Business Week featured some interesting articles about megachurches, including Willow. Below is a side bar included in that edition. Kinda weird seeing the numbers laid out like that, like seeing your mom in her underwear or something.

Posted by Hello

Link to an interview with Bill.

A recent article in Mother Jones proposed that one of the distinctives of Willow Creek was its desire to create a brand that would appeal to men, the "unchurched harry." I suppose if you want to say something new about a church that has been heavily studied for more than 20 years you sometimes have to make things up. Willow Creek is one of the foremost proponents of women's roles in the church today, and anybody who has attended for any length of time knows that the reason he's called the "unchurched Harry" and not John Smith or Mr. Doe, is because Harry rhymes with Mary, the essential second half of the equation.

Anyway, that was just one article and I wouldn't have mentioned it except now that crazy idea seems to be catching on. Business Week references that idea in their article as if it's established fact. For that reason I'm taking their characterization of Joel Osteen's church as a "prosperity gospel" church with a grain of salt. But overall their coverage was better than most secular magazines I've seen attempt the subject, and the angle, megachurches as businesses, was interesting.


Friar Tuck said...

I am not sure how I feel about the mesh of church and business

Kim Traynor said...

Hi Don Juan De Bubba, great name! When one sees the operation of a church reduced to dollar signs like you do in this chart one can't help but get a little uncomfortable. But as long as a church, whether it's run by a bunch of MBAs or a bunch of seminary graduates, remembers that the money is to grow the people and not the other way around, the kingdom of God prevails.

In this case, the large numbers themselves are offensive to some people, but there is nothing vulgar about having an operating budget...every church has one. What we need to be on the lookout for, in big churches and little ones, is that the resources aren't being used for worldy pursuits, but for heavenly ones. That is why Willow makes it's books available to the congregation and I think that would be a great policy for any church.