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What Being a Purpose Driven Church Is NOT About


A generation of church leaders have grown up in Purpose Driven churches across America and around the world. Over the last 36 years, we’ve devoted a great deal of time and effort to helping leaders understand the biblical vision of the Purpose Driven church, but some myths seem determined to persist. As you lead your church into greater health and effectiveness, you’re going to encounter these myths.

Let me spell out seven things a Purpose Driven church is not …

It’s not about embracing the latest fad

Being Purpose Driven is not about trying to be as contemporary as possible in approach or in style. It’s about being biblical. The five purposes of the church commanded by Jesus in the Great Commandment and Great Commission never go out of style. They are eternally relevant.

It’s not about your evangelistic target

There are now hundreds of thousands of Purpose Driven churches around the world focusing on reaching thousands of different people groups. There are PDCs for every age group: Builders, Boomers, GenXers, and Millennials. There are thousands of PDCs reaching every possible lifestyle group: cowboys, bikers, professionals, singles, artists, surfers, academics, Amazon boat people, pre-moderns, moderns, post-moderns, and someday intergalactic aliens! There are PDCs in over hundreds of languages and dialects.

It’s not about being ‘seeker sensitive’

Purpose Driven churches are committed to the purpose of evangelism (one of the five New Testament purposes), not any particular method of evangelism. Thousands of Purpose Driven churches do not have an evangelistic. They do evangelism in many different formats that might include a worship service designed to reach spiritual seekers, but not limited to that approach. As a matter of face, because the phrase “seeker sensitive” has been so broadly used and abused, we rarely mention the term any more. We simply want to worship in a way that makes sense to unchurched people.

It’s not about your worship style

Purpose Driven churches affirm variety in worship — as long as it is offered to God “in spirit and truth” (authentically and accurately). Purpose Driven churches worship God in thousands of styles — liturgical, charismatic, traditional, contemporary, country, multi-sensory, casual, and many others. What matters is that your worship style matches the people you are seeking to reach and mature in your ministry area.

It’s not about the size of your church

Purpose Driven churches come in all sizes and shapes. The Purpose Driven strategy focuses on balance, health and strength, not size or shape. There is no correlation between the size and strength of a church. Purpose Driven is a church health strategy, not a mega-church strategy. It’s a myth that you can’t learn from churches larger than yours. You may not be able to copy practices, but you can carry away principles.

It’s not about your location

Purpose Driven churches are now found all around the world — in huge cities, towns, villages, and open space. In fact, there are now probably more Purpose Driven churches outside of the United States than within. Purpose Driven is not an American strategy — it is a biblical strategy, and anything that is biblical will work anywhere!

It’s not a denomination

There are Purpose Driven churches in over 200 different denominations and associations. We work with denominations to strengthen their churches. We encourage every church to maintain its own heritage and doctrinal convictions while we cooperate together on what every church is called to do — the five biblical purposes of worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry, and evangelism.

And if you really want to find out what being a Purpose Driven church is all about, and how it can change the world for God’s glory, join me at PDC 16 coming up June 28-30 at our Lake Forest campus!

Image credit: CreationSwap.

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