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By David Rhoades

September 20, 2002 

How do you get over 50% of the membership to accept a worship service style they don't want? What is the trick? ...Read on.

In the weeks leading up to my family leaving the Madison Church of Christ, we began visiting other Churches in the area.

One of these Churches certainly felt like home because it was in our hometown. (I will call it our Hometown Church) It was also a Church that my family had attended when I was younger.

When visiting we met many people from our past, and many that had also left Madison. The Church is an old Church, but has benefited from a good growth. It's now probably one of the larger Churches of Christ in the area. It has a new and large building that's less than 10 years old.

It would have been easy to have felt at home at this Church.

After studying the takeover at Madison, and others around the country I had developed a new vision. My senses have been honed to tune in little nuances that I would have never noticed before. These little nuances kept dancing before my eyes when we visited this Church of Christ from our past.

Everyone loved the preacher man. He was smooth, had good jokes, and everyone knew him personally. I even liked the preacher man.

My wife and I attended Sunday School with the "Older Folks" in the main auditorium. Oh what a grand group of loving Christian people. I recognized many as being members of this church from its earliest days. And yes, they sang like they had for years. What a loving crowd to join on Sunday Morning. These 300 folks though are but a small part of this Churches 1700 plus membership.

As we attended this New Church it was first called to my attention the preacher man's use of the N.I.V. Then as I took more notice, I began see N.I.V. s everywhere. It seemed like everyone outside of the "Older Folks" Sunday school class were using N.I.V.s.

If you haven't read my other editorials on whatís wrong with the N.I.V., please do (see links below), but Iím not going to take the time to explain it here. Suffice it to say...this is not a good sign. Elders that are not tuned in enough to know what's wrong with the N.I.V. are not tuned in enough to protect their flocks from the ravenous wolves waiting to pounce on their flock.

I was later told by another that this Church was having an Easter egg hunt! Oh no, not Easter too? You do know about Easter don't you? (If not check out the links below.) One of the Elders explained to my friend that it was perfectly all right since the event was not being held on Church property. When my friend requested more understanding, The Elder told him that he would probably be happier at another Church. Those creepy feelings are starting to return to me.

Our last Sunday at this "Hometown" Church was spent with the entire worship period being used for answering a survey. The preacher man explained it like this; The Elders were concerned that this Church needed to do everything it could for its current and new future members. The Elders were seeking our input so they could see if the Church needed any new ministries or something like that. The preacher man explained very carefully every option, and told us several times not to worry, " We need not put our names on the survey."

Yes, there was this muffled sound of a siren going off in my head. Something didn't sound right here. My wife and I did not fill out the survey. We did feel a little queer, with everyone else busily answering survey questions. We're almost used to that feeling by now.

I began to wonder if the survey was part of the Hegelian Dialectic, or consensus process. This is the art of bringing people into a consensus. More importantly into a consensus with an outcome that has already been predetermined. (See links below) This is not a process used by the Holy.

I prayed that I was wrong! For if I were right, then the folks at my Hometown Church would never know what hit them. By the time they realized what was happening, it would be too late. They will be surrounded by ravenous wolves, and there will be no resolution but the death of the Church, as they knew it.

Prior to this experience I had not read anything about a Church survey being used for consensus purposes, although I felt like it could be.

We never returned to this Church. I think often about those wonderful "Older Folks" we sat with in Sunday school.

It's now a few months later... I have not heard how my Hometown Church is doing but I now have conclusive proof that Church surveys are indeed used as part of this unholy consensus process.

When you read the link below titled: Re-Inventing The Church Part 1, you will see how the "change agents" brag about using the "Church survey" to herd the people into a consensus of where the "change agents" want them to go.

After reading the above link you will realize that the "Holy Shepherds" don't want your opinions or ideals. They already know what direction they are going. They have already gotten their directions. Be assured their directions come not from God.

The survey is for you! The survey is so the "Holy Shepherds" can say we are only doing what you said you wanted in the survey. We all agreed to agree. We understand your concerns but we all must agree. It's sinful to be divisive in the Church. You don't want to be a sinner do you?

A perfect example of what I am describing is actually taking place in Churches across this country today. The West End Church of Christ, in Nashville, Tennessee, has recently implemented "praise teams." They did it though the exact process I have just described, survey and all.

When you read the link below called, "Statement of Direction of the West End Church of Christ", notice how many times the word "consensus" is used. Notice how many times the word "survey" is used.

Here are some quotes:

"You have spoken through the recent vision survey response."
"Through the survey you have given input."
"In the survey, you indicated a concern for more effective worship"

Some 8 times they will remind you what they say you told them in the survey. But wait, look real carefully in the print and you will discover that "Only a little over half expressed SATISFACTION with the assemblies."

It doesn't matter that a little over half (whatever that percentage is) like the worship service as it is. The "Holy Shepherds" have decided to bring in a "praise team". Now don't forget we all must be in a consensus and agree to agree on this.

Well there you have it. It's trickery of the worse kind. Practiced by people dressed under the cloak of Christ.

What are we going to do? Are we going to wring our hands and cry, ..."We can't do anything." Are we going to put our heads in the sand and move on to another Church? If we do that now, what are we going to tell Jesus when he asks us, "Did you stand up for me then?"



© 2002 David Rhodes - All Rights Reserved



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