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Commentary by Roger Oakland
Understand The Times International: Roger Oakland Ministries

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The seeker-friendly model was the brainchild of Peter Drucker. The concept of finding out what a consumer would like in a church has been a very successful way to get people to come to a church. At least for a while! This consumer-friendly model worked as long as sinners were not faced with the message of the cross, hell, and other convicting things the Bible teaches.

However, as everyone knows, trends come and go like waves on the ocean. The seeker-friendly wave will not last forever. This, of course, is predictable. Fallen man has had a spiritual void since the fall of man. Satan is more than happy to fill that void and has always had a deceptive plan to do so.

This is why I was not surprised when Pastor Bill Hybels, founder of the Willow Creek church-growth model, announced that their church had repented from their seeker-friendly ways and was now moving towards a method that would transform Christianity by introducing spirituality. Here’s how one Christian reporter explained the transition:

Willow Creek has released the results of a multi-year study on the effectiveness of their programs and philosophy of ministry. The study’s findings are in a new book titled Reveal: Where Are You? co-authored by Cally Parkinson and Greg Hawkins, executive pastor of Willow Creek Community Church. Hybels himself called the findings “earth shaking,” “ground breaking,” and “mind blowing.” And no wonder: it seems that the “experts” were wrong. [1]


Or this is what Bill Hybels said:

Some of the stuff that we have put millions of dollars into thinking it would really help our people grow and develop spiritually, when the data actually came back it wasn’t helping people that much. Other things that we didn’t put that much money into and didn’t put much staff against is stuff our people are crying out for. [2]


Certainly, the results of this survey should not come as a surprise to Hybels and the Willow Creek bunch. Dan Kimball, author of The Emerging Church: Vintage Christianity for New Generations, predicted the seeker-friendly movement would give way to the emerging church years ago. Postmoderns, you see, want a God they can smell, feel, touch, taste and see. The seeker-friendly movement does not provide this environment. It was only a matter of time for the seeker-friendly wave to crash.


Actually, Bill Hybels’ consultant Peter Drucker had previously informed him what was coming years ago. Faith Undone explains how Hybels was connected to Leadership Network founded by Bob Buford and Drucker. [3] Certainly, Hybels would have known about the next wave coming that Drucker understood. Another influential pastor influenced by Drucker was Rick Warren. He knew this as well! He wrote a foreword to Dan Kimball’s book in 2003 published by Zondervan stating that the emerging church was only what the purpose-driven church would become in the postmodern era. [4]

So what will the Willow Creek spiritual transformation (aka “spiritual formation”) look like? It will be contemplative, mystical, and sensual. It will become the full-blown emerging church. The teachings will pave the way toward Christian Babylonianism, otherwise known as the Last Days apostate church.






[2] Ibid.

[3]  Interview with Hybels and Buford

[4] Dan Kimball, The Emerging Church: Vintage Christianity for New Generations, Zondervan, p. 7

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