The Southern Baptist Convention's Pastors Today April 13 e-newsletter promoted two Purpose Driven church growth strategies.
The first program is Saddleback's NEXT Small Group Conferences. Not only is LifeWay promoting this effort, LifeWay is CO-SPONSORING the conferences:
"Serendipity by LifeWay, the small group ministry area of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, has joined with Saddleback Church to sponsor a series of NEXT Saddleback small group conferences for 2009."
Serendipity specializes in small group resources for a variety of audiences, including Emerging Churches. The online store offers
Group process: To build community, the curriculum must be designed to take a group through a step-by step process of sharing your story with one another.
Interactive Bible Study: To share your “story,” the approach to Scripture in the curriculum needs to be open-ended and right-brained—to “level the playing field” and encourage everyone to share.
A Group Covenant is found on page 5 which includes keeping the group activity confidential:
Anything that is said in the meeting is never repeated outside the meeting.
"...cast vision for and keep the group focused on the goals of the group... guide group members to understand and commit to the group covenant."
Through coaching networks, conference material and other resources, NEXT can provide a practical game plan for you whether you're starting a new church or already leading a church. NEXT coaches are experienced pastors, planters and leaders, and they are trained to help you take your next step.
NEXT network's director, Ron Sylvia, is the author of Starting Churches on Purpose. It is a 232 page manual on how to start a trademark Purpose Driven church. But NEXT doesn't stop there. NEXT seems to be a clearinghouse for any church growth strategy including emergent and seeker sensitive.
Many may recognize LifeWay Research's Ed Stetzer. He has earned credibility with the Emergents as an intelligent, sympathetic ear. Stetzer and Sylvia have shared the stage with Rick Warren at the National New Church Conference. Christian Research Network has several pieces regarding Ed Stetzer as well as this blog.
It appears that the Southern Baptist Convention is being taken over by the Purpose Driven Network. When the takeover is complete, the SBC no doubt will go the way of many of it's churches after a Purpose Driven campaign...DIVISION.
See related articles:
See more on the building of the Tower of Babel the Purpose Driven LifeWay.