Willow Creek admits to the mistake of the Century

5 12 2007


Willow Creek Community Church the mother of all mega-churches and the father of the seeker-friendly church growth movement recently released the results of a survey they took of their congregation which led to a startling conclusion.

The seeker-friendly church model doesn’t actually change the way people live.


You can read the details of their findings here.

It wouldn’t be such a big deal if a series of similar mega-churches hadn’t spent the last 20 years assimiliating half of the evangelicals in America into their ineffective churches.

So while Willow Creek has the guts to admit this mistake what are the hundreds of other churches doing to fix the problem?

The seeker-friendly church movement may be the worst thing that ever happened to the church in our generation.

  • A church without Community
  • A Gospel without Lordship
  • A lifestyle without Discipleship

Where do we go from here?



11 responses

13 12 2007

Wow…A Christian-abortionist machine admits their folly! Let’s pray that others will see their example and be moved to deep examination, and perhaps, confession, and then even better, change, as well.

16 12 2007

And idea what Willow Creek is doing with this information? Is there a sense of repentance and call to change amongst the elders? Unfortunately, my fear is that this is where Mars Hill is headed.

17 12 2007
Michael Foster

Sadly, I don’t think Willow Creek has really addressed the real problem: they develop their models based upon polling and pragmatism more so than Scripture.

17 12 2007

Yah, can’t imagine turning that ship and I agree – their presupposition toward pragmatism over biblical methods will most likely ensure they won’t discover a real solution. Unfortunate because they are a group of gifted people.

24 03 2008

is this a joke? its a church oh course they go off scripsure. i believe that it does change peoples lives this is just all made up. its a very great church and i have tons of proof that it changes many lives

30 06 2008
Funny Dummy

Michael Foster,

I appreciate your comment. That is a great point: Scripture needs to be the plumbline.


I visited Willow Creek from time to time in 1996-2000 and one of my college roommates was a youth leader there. I’d have to say that if they did use Scripture as the foundation for their programs, my roommate wouldn’t have been a leader. The life he lead (sexual promiscuity, foul language, etc.) did not in any way exemplify a life hidden in Christ with God. If he had been a an attender, that would be one thing. There will always be tares among the wheat; however, a leader?

We need to fall on our knees and return to the Master (Jesus) in sincere, deep humility and repentance. Only then will we have His guidance, through His Word and by hearing His voice, to proceed.


10 09 2008

Hey Guys,
You have totally misreported the Willow story. The church’s findings
did NOT discover that people weren’t living changed lives. Rather, it addressed
the spiritual growth for people who were already changed by Jesus Christ,
and NOBODY points people to God like Willow. Each person is ultimately responsible for their own spiritual growth- a good church is but a tool to help facilitate that process. I know of “Christian” churches all over the place that don’t even preach that Jesus is the only way. And you’re picking on Willow?

10 09 2008

John – We’re not suggesting Willow’s not good at fulfilling some commission just not the Great Commission (which presents a different mission than “pointing people to God”). And I don’t know where you get that idea that “Each person is ultimately responsible for their own spiritual growth”. Matthew 28 puts the responsibility for training on the trained disciples once people are baptized. That excuse is used to justify many organizations that distinguish making converts from making disciples. Christ made no such distinction.

26 03 2009

I’ve never been to Willow Creek, but I’m afraid this problem is epidemic among American Christians. Dietrich Bonhoeffer called it “Cheap Grace,” and we seem to be major bargain-hunters.

Christians have similar divorce levels to non-Christians, most of us don’t tithe, and we don’t help others above and beyond the tithe like we should. I’m including myself in this, of course.

It’s hard to be like Jesus, to quote Rich Mullins, and it’s impossible to be perfect, but I think we’ve thrown our hands up and used that as an excuse to do nothing.

15 06 2009
Marty Baker

There are many, many opinions about Willow Creek Community Church. Here’s what I know: The Ministry of Willow Creek changed my life. I will never be the same. They taught me the scriptures and showed me how to love lost people. I am forever thankful to Jesus Christ for my salvation and to Willow Creek for opening my eyes to the ministry of Christ.


Marty Baker

1 08 2010
Mehwish Ayub

Dear Brother,


I am from Pakistan. I have studied your web site, and have found it to
be one of many wonderful sites offered on the internet which gets to the
Truth of the Word of God. As is the case with others whom I have
contacted, you have created material which is full of knowledge
concerning development of religious faith. Living in Pakistan, we
Christians face many obstacles in getting access to God’s Word. Most
people in Pakistan speak Urdu, and are not capable of understanding the
English language. Because of limited access in our native tongue, my
people have a true hunger for fresh Christian Perspectives.

Proficient in both English and my native languages, I would like to
offer my services as a translator to you. Presenting your material in
both Urdu and Punjabi would be a true blessing to the Pakistani and
Indian people. For a nominal fee, I will enable you to bring the message
of Salvation to a most deserving people.
Blessing you in advance for your consideration,

In Him,

Email: mehwishtts@gmail.com

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