Concerning the growing danger today in the Body of Christ of the heavily compromised seeker sensitive megachurches with their often overpaid Megapastors a reader of Apprising Ministries writes:
I wonder if you can help me because I have been in search for some answers for quite some time. I’ve been attending a church in Tulsa, Ok for several years and have recently become very concerned even though some of the teaching is awesome….I feel like some things that are taught are deceptive and not of God.
I was wondering if you might have any information on Church On The Move or Willie George. If so, I would love any confirmation as to whether what I’ve been thinking the Lord has been trying to get thru to me is in fact the Lord.
COTM is a large church (I believe around 15,000 members) and even though Willie George is a great teacher, I do believe that he’s headed in the wrong direction in a lot of areas. However, he’s a great supporter of Israel and very in-depth teacher (which we love)…but, I’ve started having serious concerns about many other things within the church and the teaching.
I’m really starting to believe that the Lord doesn’t want us to support it any longer. I’ve been praying for confirmation and that He would open our eyes to the truth and to what He would have us do. I am also praying that Willie George will see the error in his ways and turn the church around in the right direction to serve our Lord Jesus Christ.
Many blessings in our Lord,
While I had yet to hear anything about Willie George and Church On The Move (COTM) specifically I did do some quick preliminary research which immediately raised concerns for me. Being in this line of discernment work for many years there are certain indicators which things that are off track will usually exhibit.
A good example would be What to Expect from COTM where the first thing we are told is: “Church on the Move is a dynamic local body that offers relevant teaching and amazing music as part of every service, but there is also a host of friendly faces ready to make visitors feel right at home.”
And then we move on a little further to what’s called “the close” in sales when they tell us that COTM has:
Located in the main lobby, the Guest Services Desk is the place to get your questions answered. Our worship guides also provide information on upcoming events and ways to get involved. Complimentary coffee is yours to enjoy at the Starbucks stations before heading into service.
This would be very consistent with the typical seeker sensitive megachurches I often come across. Can you see here that all of this is quite appealing to the flesh but truthfully it sounds more like I’d be going to the theatre or a concert event than to worship God Almighty through Christ by the Holy Spirit. So instead of the Lord being our feature here rather it is our “relevant teaching and amazing music” which appeals to the flesh that is the showcase.
I personally would also venture that this could explain where you feel are getting a prompt concerning “things that are taught [which] are deceptive” from God the Holy Spirit that this compromise grieves Him. The whole site over-all looks to me as if it is just begging people to “like us” as opposed to saying come worship the Creator of us.
Then there is the slick professional .com wesite of Pastor Willie George which is a cause for concern. This “Oneighty” kind of stuff with these supposed “leadership tools” and talk about how “we need to reach the future before it reaches us” is also not a good indication of proper focus for true ministry in Christ either.
You may believe me when I say that we are up to our eyeballs with this same wrong approach to the Christian faith in the Southern Baptist Convention. And then in “About Willie George Ministries” we read: “Willie George is a man sent from God to families.” This shouldn’t be any earth-shaking news; if he is a pastor then his local church would have families within it.
And generally when we see this kind of blatant sales pitch extolling the “virtues” of a man then we’re looking at a ministry that is only destined to go off the rails if it isn’t already:
Family relationships, leadership training, and spiritual development have been the key thrusts in Pastor George’s 31 years of ministry. He is a dynamic speaker, author, pastor, and teacher. Because of his keen awareness of Bible prophecy, Pastor George believes that these are the Last Days and that ministry to the whole family is vital to the gathering in of the final harvest of souls.
This last sentence is a big red flag as well. The fact is that have been living in “the last days” since Christ ascended back into Heaven e.g. 1 John 2:18 – Little children, it is the last time. So exactly when wasn’t “ministry to the whole family” of vital importance to pastors?
Sadly evangelicalism has been invaded by CEO-type business leaders who are now running churches just the same way as one would a business. Nice idea in the physical would because these pragmatic man-oriented (works of the flesh) absolutely work in bringing other people through the doors of a church. The trouble is that God’s Church is not a flesh-originated work; it is a Supernatural work that must be done in His Power and His way.
What I have seen here would all be in line with what I have written about in Mediocre Christianity and Pick Your Sword of the Spirit Back Up! I do pray this helps give you a different perspective to pray about in this situation. And speaking of which, we do covet your prayers for me to be available here at AM to answer questions like this. In closing, let me also encourage you that you are not alone in seeing these kinds of things subtly slithering into our local churches.