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Peter Wagner: Churchquake

I have been involved in both of these management styles over the past twenty years. I was on the pastoral staff of Church on the Way where I experienced difficulty with the Senior Pastor’s management style even though it met much of Wagner’s criteria. I left and moved to Hawaii where I became part of a Nazarene Church, which was ruled by several related families that made sure the Pastor didn’t waste his time on anything as silly as a vision. The Sunday services there were restful, reverent and nothing happened.

We moved on to New Hope, a fledgling Foursquare Church in the fall of 1995, one, which fits Wagner’s model, and now is the largest in Hawaii with a congregation in the low five figures. We have people everywhere, all wanting to help and be involved. The emphasis in Wagner’s book and at New Hope is on developing leaders and getting the right management style in place. Everyone can be a leader; all you need to do is master the techniques. We teach Time Management in our Bible Institute. Our staff administers tests, which reveal people’s gifts in and for the church. We must learn to do church as a team. No longer is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit seen as the key to successful ministry, the wave of today is leadership and leadership summits. No more tarrying at the altar until you are filled with power from on high. Seekers don’t like that.

Wagner looks upon the modern Seminary as largely a waste of time. Seminaries are not doing what is needed, the academics teach theory, doctrine and even worse, original languages—the ultimate waste of time. Funny, I got much out of my years at the Seminary where Peter taught. While not an expert in any category similar to Peter, I wondered at what he had written. Also, today’s megachurch leader is a self taught CEO who can communicate the Gospel in simple words. That same CEO will build staff and leaders into vision-catchers. This is what will bring the Church into the 21st Century with a potential for success that makes Azusa Street look like an old stable from which nothing worthwhile could come. Keep it simple and fast moving. No time to ponder and seek. We are too busy. Come and dine.

In spite of my picking on Peter and his model, I have enjoyed my years at the megachurches of today. I grew as a citizen of the kingdom of God while I was in those megachurches. They are great and are able to offer far more than the small church. I enjoy the worship, the crowds, the prosperity of the congregation and what it can do corporately.

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Category: Ministry, Summer 2000

About the Author: H. Murray Hohns went home to be with Jesus on November 28, 2012. He was on staff at the largest church in Hawaii and served on his denomination's investment committee from 1999 until his death. Hohns held two degrees in Civil Engineering, an MA in Theology from Fuller Seminary, and served as an instructor at Foursquare's New Hope Christian College (formerly Pacific Rim Christian College) in Honolulu. He wrote six engineering books and hundreds of articles in every type of newspaper, magazine and journal.

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