Out of Context: Kent Carlson

"Christian leaders have to admit this is the system we have put together. We can't build churches that advertise 'tons of ministries to meet your needs,' then be surprised when people expect us to continually meet their needs."

-Kent Carlson, pastor of Oak Hills Church in Folsom, California

Take from "Cookie Cutter Community" in the Summer 2006 issue of Leadership Journal. To see the quote IN context, you'll need to see the print version of Leadership. To subscribe, click on the cover of Leadership on this page.

October 09, 2006

Displaying 1–8 of 8 comments

KJ Herron

October 25, 2006  10:50pm

I'm a student and I have been to multiple churches. I agree that many churches are not equiping students well, but instead they are creating fun programs to attract more people. Recently I went to a student leadership camp and the whole week was based on Ephesians 4- In becoming one body in christ. Applying this to my own life has made an impact... but the larger picture of seeing the youth group return to church and seeing us all grow in closer relationships with one another and the adult leaders is an amazing difference compared to every other church I've ever been to. I just want to say Thank You to all the Youth Leaders and Pastors for being there... For making the difference in our lives.

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October 18, 2006  10:13pm

It's a tension that we must balance out, though ultimately we do point them to the deepest need (the need for God) they have and point them to the solution (Jesus Christ). But lest we forget, Jesus came to save and to make disciples. We seemed to have ignored the making disciples bit or expect programmes to do them for us.

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October 10, 2006  6:05pm

I finally realized the whole institutionalized system is self-centered. Look at what we do with our "giving". The IC system DEMANDS that 75-85% of the "giving" goes to buy stuff mostly for the people who "give" the money. Only 15-25% can go beyond the "giver". The ONLY reasons this is so is the IC system demands that believers gather in a big group (more than 50) to hear a Bible lecture from a hired professional. Did God ever ask for believers to gather in a group bigger than can fit in a home? Did God say His saints need a Bible lecture ever week? No to both questions. When believers meet in a home and realize they can be taught in two-way communication by ordinary saints, they no longer need the two things that suck up 75% of the giving - a special building or hired help. NOW, 100% of the giving can go beyond yourself. You cannot have it different until you change the SYSTEM. The Bible does not say "Let the word of Christ dwell in you RICHLY with ALL WISDOM as you hear a paid lecturer teach you..." It says this happens as you "teach and admonish one another".

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Daniel J Hesse

October 10, 2006  4:54pm

I think Gordon McDonald has plainly stated the case with regards to global issues. The eternal issues affect the heart and they in turn cause and effect the global crises we see today. The report to many of us is very timely and we as believers in Christ cannot be salt unless we are willing to be shaken out in a world in desperate need. I have worked among the poor (migrant farmworkers) for the last 10 years and I can testify that we can only make in roads when we show the compassion and love of Christ to people.

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Sam Andress

October 10, 2006  1:15pm

Yeahhhhhh! Finally a pastor that is being honest about the monster evangelicals have created:).

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Phaedra Blocker

October 09, 2006  5:26pm

I think we will always struggle with the tension of what it means to be "successful" as a church. But if we believe that God intends for us to draw lots of people to Christ (and into the Church) we must be prepared for the reality that lots of people mean lots of needs. The issue–is it the responsibility of a particular church to meet every need that is presented? Can we really be all things to all people? The longer that I am in ministry, the more I am beginning to agree with those who believe that churches need to spend some time figuring out what they do well, do those things–and then network with other churches in the community who have other "gifts" to meet identified needs. Ah...but then that would require us to be less attached to an obsession with numbers. Maybe one of the ways in which we can keep perspective is to remember that in Ephesians 4, Paul reminds us that the role of pastors and teachers is to equip the congregation to do the work of the ministry. For me, this is an indication that the focus of what we do must be helping people move to loving accountability and service within and without a faith community. To create...dare I mention that word again...disciples. PS–Read Barna's Revolution recently. Would be interested in how others who've read it think the book can inform our dialogue.

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Jason Decena

October 09, 2006  1:00pm

Well, since this quote was taken out of context, it's time for me to make an out of context observation. I'm a youth pastor working with high school kids and I'm struggling with this issue right now. Do we do both: meet people's needs, or call them to something higher, i.e., ask not what your church can do for you, but what you can do for your church/the world? Perhaps. Of course the numbers game is a huge seduction: the more kids I bring in the more successful I am. But how much discipleship can happen outside of a small group context? Probably not too much. With all that said, I agree with Kent. Why are we so surprised? The life of following Jesus is not a life of consumerism, but a life of service. Boo-yah.

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Bob Brown

October 08, 2006  11:17pm

A preacher I know talked about an in home film series that was used with great success in a small church where he served early in his ministry. The idea of the film series was to bring a professionally produced Bible study series into the homes of church prospects. It did very well in bringing people in, but the people it attracted were selfish and high maintenance. They expected the church to do everything for them. The young minister decided to go with the person doing the presentations and see what it was that brought these people in. Most of the series was good, but the final installment was "What The Church Can Do For You." That reel was quickly removed from the program.

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