Creating Community – Part 1
Purpose-Driven Change through Transformational Leadership
Trading Biblical unity for a more inclusive vision of oneness
By Berit Kjos – November 2004
“Families need rebuilding. Jobs are scarce. The cost of living is increasing. … Children do not have a level playing field for every intellectual, social and emotional development. We are flooded with evidence of the need for societal transformation everywhere we look…. Peter Drucker, in The Age of Transformation, says that this age is far from over and predicts it will reach well into the next century. This is a time, which calls for a critical mass of transformational leaders….” Erik Rees, Minister of Life Mission at Saddleback Church. “Seven Principles of Transformational Leadership — Creating a Synergy of Energy“
“Citizenship for the next century is learning to live together. The 21st Century city will be a city of social solidarity…. We have to redefine the words… [and write a new] social contract.”
Emphasis has been added through italicized or bold letters.
You probably won’t discover Rick Warren’s vision for the 21st century community by simply reading his top-selling books. Yet, many have sensed that his five familiar motivational purposes hide a more complex mission. Some have noticed that his transformational strategies match those of UN globalists and the world’s leading change agents. No wonder, since today’s management gurus — Peter Drucker, Peter Senge, Bob Buford and others — are shaping the same strategic pathways for purpose-driven churches as for the rest of the world.
Their clever use of words and the complexities of today’s transformational management systems tend to blind our eyes to the strange alliances and manipulative strategies. Who would know the philosophy and tactical power behind labels such as “systems thinking,” “facilitated learning” or “transformational leadership”? As with educational buzzwords, the old familiar words take on new meaning when used in the context of planned social change. [See also New Age Terms in the Church]
I first glimpsed the UN vision for the 21st century community during the 1996 UN Conference on Human Settlements in Istanbul. At a day-long panel presentation on “solidarity” and social change, I heard the world’s political, spiritual and social change agents share their common goals and guidelines on human resource development and global oneness: They would gather people together in communities within cities, then use the latest psycho-social strategies, including the dialectic process, to train the masses in “a new way of thinking,” living and relating to one another.
“Change your whole way of thinking, because the new order of the spirit is confronting and challenging you,” said Millard Fuller, President of Habitat for Humanity.
“Citizenship for the next century is learning to live together,” said Federico Mayor, Director General of UNESCO. “The 21st Century city will be a city of social solidarity…. We have toredefine the words… [and write a new] social contract.”
“We should stop bemoaning the growth of cities,” added Dr. Ismail Serageldin, Vice President of The World Bank. “It’s going to happen and it’s a good thing, because cities are the vectors of social change and transformation. Let’s just make sure that social change and transformation are going in the right direction.” Later he added, “The media must act as part of the education process that counters individualism.”
Individualism is out. Collective thinking, strategic leadership and facilitated learning are in! And no group of transformational leaders are more effectively pioneering the process and pushing thetransformation “in the right direction” than Saddleback Community Church.
Consider an article posted on Rick Warren’s website, pastors.com, titled “Seven Principles of Transformational Leadership.” The author, Erik Rees, is one of Saddleback’s influential pastors. In his article, he bases his vision of social change on the experimental plans touted by the world’s cutting-edge leaders — secular, pagan and Christian — all linked by the common vision of “transformation:”
“This is a time, which calls for a critical mass of transformational leaders who will commit to creating a synergy of energy within their circle of influence so new levels of social, economic, organizational and spiritual success can be reached.
“We have not, however, developed the leaders we need for this noble task. To reach such heights, we will need to un-tap the leadership potential of skillful leaders who are successfully directing various organizations and systems. Some of these men and women, knowledgeable and committed, to their profession, will be the transformational leaders we need to create the needed synergy of energy.”
Notice that Pastor Rees calls, not for Christian leaders, but for cutting-edge leaders who share the vision and skills [systems thinking and transformational methods] needed for transformation. Nor does He suggest dependence on the Holy Spirit. In the next paragraph, the focus is on the process, not God or His Word. In fact, the Biblical truths that would counter this process must be left out or reinterpreted to fit the new context. [See Spirit-Led or Purpose-Driven]:
“This new paradigm of transformational leadership is not just for the marketplace but also for the local and global movement of Christ. One of the most influential movements, for the advancement of the church, is the Purpose-Driven model developed by Rick Warren, Senior Pastor of Saddleback Church. Leaders of Purpose-Driven churches not only are called to authentically model the five Biblical purposes… they depend on the seven principles of transformational leadership to create a synergy of energy within their flock.”[emphasis added]
As you read those seven principles, remember that these summarize some of the transformational strategies used by UN leaders, corporate executives and “progressive educators” as well as pastors around the world. They generally “make sense,” therefore we tend to accept them without considering the unbiblical process central to the new context. [See The Mind-Changing Process] Each nice-sounding principle is followed by self-assessments, which helps steer the transformation and its change agents “in the right direction:”
“1. Principle of Simplification – Successful leadership begins with a vision, which reflects the shared purpose. The ability to articulate a clear, practical, transformational vision which answers the question, ‘Where are we headed?'”
“2. Principle of Motivation – The ability to gain the agreement and commitment of other people to the vision. … A common way to motivate others is to challenge them, provide ample opportunity to join the creative process, and give them the credit.” [Not God?]
“3. Principle of Facilitation – The ability to effectively facilitate the learning of individuals, teams…. Peter Senge in Fifth Discipline says the primary job of leadership now is tofacilitate the learning of others.”
“4. Principle of Innovation – The ability to boldly initiate prayerful change when needed. … Team members successfully influence one another to assimilate change because the transformational leaders have built trust and fostered teamwork.”
“5. Principle of Mobilization – The ability to enlist, equip and empower others to fulfill the vision. Transformational leaders… desire leadership at all levels, so they find ways to invite and ignite leadership all levels. They introduce simple baby steps to enlist larger participants.” [That’s what 40 Days of Purpose is: “baby steps” toward the new solidarity.40 Days of Community is simply the next, higher level in this process]
“6. Principle of Preparation – The ability to never stop learning about themselves…. Rick Warren says, ‘Leaders are learners.’ … This is such a rigorous path of learning that transformational leaders must be in thriving relationships with others pursuing transformation. It is within these vital relationships, life opportunities and obstacles get saturated in love and support.“ [Keep in mind, this promise of “love and support” applies whether the group forms under a secular or Christian banner. Facilitated togetherness, not the Holy Spirit, is the glue that creates success.]
“7. Principle of Determination – The ability to finish the race. … Transformational leaders have to develop spiritual, emotional, and physical disciplines to sustain their high level of commitment to their cause.”
Erik Rees’s bio statement at the end of his 2001 article tells us that “Erik starts his doctorate next year in Strategic Leadership at Regent University,” which was founded in Virginia by Pat Robertson. “Erik’s life purpose is to help organizations focus their resources by creating a synergy of energy within their circle of influence.”
Mr. Rees is likely to take some of his courses from Jay Gary, an affiliate professor at Regent University‘s School of Leadership Studies. Mr. Gary is a visionary leader who has designed a theological formula and historical timeline that strays as far from Biblical truth as the revived Gnostic “gospels.” A Senior Associate with The World Network of Religious Futurists and a member of the World Future Society (WFS), his involvement with the supposedly “Christian” Regent University defies any Biblical logic. Though relatively unknown in churches, Jay Gary has become a forceful leader in today’s vast and vital effort to evangelize the world — but not for the Biblical Jesus. [Read more about him in “The call to global oneness“]
Other members of the WFS include occult author Barbara Marx Hubbard, UN leader Maurice Strong and futurists Alvin and Heidi Toffler. In their book, Creating a New Civilization, the Tofflers wrote an appropriate summary of the ungodly direction of today’s transformational leadership. The fact that Newt Gingrich wrote its foreword makes it all the more alarming:
“A new civilization is emerging in our lives, and blind men everywhere are trying to suppress it. This new civilization brings with it new family styles, changed ways of working, loving, and living, a new economy, new political conflicts, and beyond all this an altered consciousness as well.”
Might you and I be counted among those “blind men?”
Listed among the resources at Regent’s School of Leadership Studies is a report co-authored by Dr. Peter Senge titled “Communities of Commitment: The Heart of Learning Organizations.” In Part 2 of this short series, I will compare Dr. Senge’s outline for strategic “learning organizations” with Rick Warren’s new book, Better Together, the workbook for 40 Days of Community. While Warren freely expresses faith in our Lord and His truths, the imbalanced use of Scriptures and the misleading paraphrased interpretations follow the same pattern that was outlined inSpirit-Led or Purpose-Driven, Part 1. And behind the Biblical words you will find a system and a process designed to move every participant away from any firm position on the Rock of Biblical absolutes to the shifting sands of systems thinking, transformational learning, and “continual change” within the enticing new “learning organization.”
Remember, traditional thinking, discernment and worldviews based on God’s unchanging Truth will clash the vision of the 21st century community.
“Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.” Colossians 2:6-9