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Bill Hull: It’s Just Not Working


Bill Hull, “It’s Just Not Working” Leadership (Summer 2005), pages 26-28.

Bill Hull challenges the philosophical foundation upon which many ministries are based. We live today in a world where the church attendance number—that one number—allegedly speaks volumes about that church, its leaders, and its mission. The undue importance of that number should be seriously questioned.

Many pastors today, including myself, struggle with the ideals emphasized by the megachurch movement that has spread over the last two decades. Viewing church size alone as an indicator of success is a deception planted in minds of church leaders by a spiritual being who wishes to see the body of Christ fall.

We were stuck in the same rut that so many churches find themselves in—religious activity without real transformation.

It is refreshing to hear a leader such as Bill openly admit the spiritual struggles facing many church leaders. It is inspiring to listen to his story unfold as he makes commitments to change his philosophy and not go back. That is an example many of us younger pastors need. I applaud Bill Hull for accepting his internal struggle and working through it at a time when many leaders simply rely on the external trappings of success. To embrace the truth and commit to change may bring challenges and uncertainties, but it also transforms.

Bill’s main question to contemporary ministries is why? Why do we do what we do? Why do we do it the way we do? I can personally point to many instances where the church I serve in struggles to make disciples versus administrating programs intended to do just that. Let me give an example. There is a man who I’ll call Bob who has attended church for years with his wife and kids. He is a leader in the church that has served on committees. He and his wife are involved in Sunday worship services and his kids have attended youth programs since birth. And then all of a sudden his wife left him. They are now divorced and their teenage kids are left with a shaky spiritual foundation at best.

How does this happen? How does a family have so many “externals” going for them and yet fail to live like Christ? Bill Hull explains, “I told [my] church that the Great Commission is more about depth than strategy, and being spiritually transformed is the primary and exclusive work of the church. I told them believing the right things is not enough – being a Christian means actually following Jesus.”

We have lost this. The church has traded in the life that Christ calls us to live for an outward image. A family involved in the externals of church service and pew sitting can still lack the life of Christ within. A family that honors Christ is stronger than any other.


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Category: Ministry, Spring 2006

About the Author: John Datema, is Family Life Minister at Meridian Christian Church in Lansing, Michigan. With many years of experience in pastoral ministry and education, he enjoys combining his technological background to develop resources and opportunities to help families thrive.

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