March 10, 2006

The Cellular Church

Here is a good article from Malcom Gladwell: gladwell dot com - the cellular church

Malcom Gladwell is the author of Blink and Tipping Point. The article is rather long, but definitely worth the read. He discusses how Rick Warren's church while a megachurch is actually a cellular church. The power of his church is not its size, per se, but in its organizational ability to be small.

With a easy-entrance mentality, Saddleback raises the expectation bar through small groups. This is no easy believism or free-ride theology. Members are expected to give of their finances, volunteer to serve, and participate in small groups.

Gladwell points out that Evangelicalism is not your typical movement. Adherents do not have a rote, across-the-board philosophy. They fall all over the political and theological spectrum. For some, this is a weakness, but Gladwell sees it as a sign of the effectiveness of small groups. Within a small group, members are encouraged to think and dialogue. The leader is not a seminary-trained theologian, and the focus is not on abstract theological principles. Small groups focus on practics. They want to know how what they are learning is going to affect the rest of their lives throughout the week.

This incredible influence that Warren has amassed through and his earlier book The Purpose Driven Church will now be aimed at poverty, AIDS, and other social ills. Gladwell quotes a sociologist (I think it was a sociologist) that talks of how the church's output in "good" doing is in the billions of dollars. He also points out that as government welfare has waned, the church has quietly picked up the ball and come to the rescue. Rick Warren has recently announced his focus through his PEACE project.

Gladwell does an excellent job with the article. Rick Warren's church is placed in a very good spotlight, and the power of the church is seen in the article. The article is very positive.

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