Monday, October 31, 2005

What are we known for?

Came across this quote. Its from Mike Yaconelli from several years ago...
"Mix a good dose of ego addiction with Jesus, and the consequences are frightening. It causes ministers to build huge churches as a monument to their own ego, it causes people to go on television with their “unique ministry”, which is another term for “my ministry”. It causes people to write books, speak all over the world, abandon their families, their friends, and their neighborhoods so they can respond to the “great need”… which is really the need to be needed.

Think of all the churches in America right now that are supporting the egos of their ministers. Think of all the supporters of para-church organizations that are supporting the ego of their “founder and president.” Think of all the churches and organizations that are supporting the egos of their “internationally known speakers.”

The result is that the evangelical church is known more for its “big” churches and famous people than it is known for its Jesus. "(The Door Magazine, #125, October 1992)

Why this thought matters is twofold for me. One, I don't want to be one of those types. I'm not blaming those folks who have become household names. I've heard some of them plenty of times and respect them and sense a genuine heart. I'm worried about those of us who aspire to be like them. That's where it gets troubling.

The most striking thing Yaconelli says here to me is "The result is that the evangelical church is known more for its “big” churches and famous people than it is known for its Jesus."

The most troubling thing about THAT? It's true.


  1. "big," "big" houseThursday, December 01, 2005 7:43:00 AM

    Mike who?
    He must belong to some small church somewhere.
    Who are these ministers/churches specifically? What lenghts have been taken to confront them? Was that information included with this quote?

  2. Mike Yaconelli was one of the co-founders of an organization called Youth Specialties back many moons ago, before there was much of anything that looked or smelled like youth ministry. He was a radical, outspoken "wild man" of sorts that was often controversial, but widely respected. One of his best writings is entitled "Messy Spirituality." The magazine quoted above was a YS publication for a number of years, before it landed in the hands of some even more radical folks. Regardless, Mike had a voice, and you had to listen, whether you agreed with him or not. Naming names wasn't necessarily his style (although The Door definitely did), but calling attention to what he saw in the church was definitely his method. Unfortunately, he died a couple of years ago in a single-car accident. But his writings are still around. If you can get a copy of any of his speaking engagements (perhaps a Google search might land an mp3), you would find that he was a unique, prophetic voice that was desperately needed. Oh, and for the small church thing? Yes, he often commented that he was part of the slowest growing church in America. That was often followed by an amazing story of transformation in the life of a person that happened in and around their church. He wasn't a "knock the big church" type as much as he waved the flag of caution that it not become about us, but about Jesus. Hope that helps...


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