Churches as businesses

Great article in the Economist that speaks about the influence of business thinking merging with how people do church. The subtitle boldly states, “America’s most successful churches are modelling themselves on businesses“. The Economist writer, also coins a new term; the pastorpreneur. Overall the article provides a tone of indictment on the practices and soul-lessness of these churches…

VISIT Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois, an upscale exurb of Chicago, and you are confronted with a puzzle. Where in God’s name is the church? Willow Creek has every amenity you can imagine, from food courts to basketball courts, from cafes to video screens, not to mention enough parking spaces for around 4,000 cars. But look for steeples and stained glass, let alone crosses and altars, and you look in vain. Surely this is a slice of corporate America rather than religious America?

The corporate theme is not just a matter of appearances. Willow Creek has a mission statement (“to turn irreligious people into fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ”) and a management team, a seven-step strategy and a set of ten core values. The church employs two MBAs—one from Harvard and one from Stanford—and boasts a consulting arm. It has even been given the ultimate business accolade: it is the subject of a Harvard Business School case-study.

Full article: Churches as businesses – Jesus, CEO

Question: Where is the line, how are churches going too far? Do you think Jesus would turn over the tables on these things?