There is an interesting read titled “Coming and Going: Two Leaders. One Mission. Two Very Different Strategies.” It is an interview with Neil Cole and Ed Young Jr. which explores their very different approaches to ministry.
The following two excepts bring the contrasting methodology into sharp focus.
Ed Young: The worship event is the [emphasis is theirs] port of entry into the church. We have many, many, many, many other things that connect people to the church, like small groups and hospital visitation. Relationships are really important, but worship is the biggest entry point. So we are very intentional about our sermons and creating an experience.
Neil Cole: One of our early plans was to rent a coffeehouse to reach young people in Long Beach. We were getting ready to launch. But in the middle of one of our strategy meetings God spoke to us and said, Why not go to the coffeehouses where they are? Rather than trying to convert people from their coffeehouse to our coffeehouse where we could then convert them to Christ, we decided to bring Christ to them. So we started hanging out at their coffeehouses, and things started rolling. People started coming to faith in Christ.
Young uses a classic business model where product and presentation are designed to appeal to a consumer of religious goods and services. Cole understands that God is at work all around us, listens for His invitation on where to join Him, then acts in obedience.
Longtime readers of this blog won’t be surprised at which one resonate with me.
I wonder how much more of an impact Young’s “church” would have if they split into 200 one hundred member local neighborhood faith communities? Of course they can’t do this (I’m conjecturing here) because they don’t have 200 mature pastoral leaders (indictment of the model) and many of the people wouldn’t stand for it because they like/want to be consumers, not disciples (an indictment of the average American believer and the model).