This is the question posed in the title of an October 18 article at the Out of Ur blog at the Christianity Today website. The subtitle reads, “Why the most influential church in America now says ‘We made a mistake.'”
Here are a couple of quotes from Bill Hybels that are contained in the article:
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.
We made a mistake. What we should have done when people crossed the line of faith and become Christians, we should have started telling people and teaching people that they have to take responsibility to become ‘self feeders.’ We should have gotten people, taught people, how to read their bible between service, how to do the spiritual practices much more aggressively on their own.
Imagine that. Actually teaching people how to read the Bible for themselves. How could this possibly seem like a novel idea for any church?
Well, at least they are beginning to see through their experience what they should have seen from the Scriptures all along. Not to mention the many, many Christians who have been trying to tell them this for decades now. The author of the article sums it up nicely when he says:
In other words, spiritual growth doesn’t happen best by becoming dependent on elaborate church programs but through the age old spiritual practices of prayer, bible reading, and relationships. And, ironically, these basic disciplines do not require multi-million dollar facilities and hundreds of staff to manage.