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I understand that Rick Warren's church has a huge number of small groups, thus the video solution for that church, providing something the small group leaders could use that had uniformity of message and approach. Warren has a passion and dedication to aiding pastors, so it's natural that he'd want to make materials developed for his church available for other pastors and churches.

As for the monetary gain, Warren has made millions already with his books. I don't know if he even gets any money from the videos. He does give most of what he makes from his books to his Purpose Driven Ministries programs. He also reverse tithes, and has reimbursed his church for his salary for all of the twenty some years he's been pastor there.

It seems to me that if local churches like using the Warren videos they need to make sure they are optional, not the only small group format available, and allow for wide diversity in their study groups. Also, there needs to be substantial and solid Bible study available in the regular services.

If Warren's small group program appeals as an easy way to add a spiritual component to small group meetings--which may be largely supportive and social in nature--they need to be but a minor part of the total church menu for the care and feeding of the local flock.

That is pretty impressive about the reverse tithes.

I agree with your conclusion that the material used in the small groups need to be optional. Unfortunately, I wonder how many churches understand that. My impression is that there are quite a few churches that are building their entire church structure around the Purpose Driven theme and Small Groups.

P.S. my concern about the large amount of money being generated is that I see some who view the potential of making money as a good reason to structure their whole church after Warren's patterns seeing how well it worked for Saddleback. It must be difficult for pastors who rely so heavily upon members tithes to not be concerned about the number of potential tithers. More members means more money coming in. Warren's structure promises more members.

I feel the same way about Beth Moore. We keep having women's "bible studies" at my church but they don't bear the stamp of the authentic Berean spirit of discipleship I long for. I don't sign up for them, and I feel judged because I don't want to spend my time that way. We are so consumer-driven! Whose responsibility is it to divide the word of truth? Ours, our Beth Moore's or Rick Warren's?

There is big business in curriculum these days. But you have to have a big company behind you and then you all make money. Many do pretty well in presenting Bible truths but some have their own pet doctrines to load out. And the church general hasn't a clue that some Bible groups are feeding them bias, prejudice, personal gain instead of a broken heart just wanting to bring light to the world.
Beth Moore isn't all that bad. I've read one of her studies and now checking out her new "Patriarchs" study. She may not be as deep as some, but she has charisma and a real desire to preach/teach the Word. As long as she doesn't get strange and stays away from the hierarchalist dogma, she's fine with me.

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