Not Like Saddleback
Ways We Are Not Like Saddleback
While having great admiration for the Saddleback Community Church of Orange County, California, we must acknowledge ways that we don't aspire to resemble it!
We're not called to become a mega-church. We don't live in an explosively growing population center. Bartlesville has been a no-growth or low growth community for over 20 years, so we are planning for steady, rather than dramatic, growth.
We're not Baptists, and so we've incorporated Presbyterian Church (USA) perspectives on baptism, the Lord's Supper, God's concern for mission, and the legitimacy of women serving as leaders, in our Good Shepherd 101 material.
We're not led to purge liturgical traditions from our Sunday services when it's clear that they accomplish the purpose of leading the worshipping crowd into the authentic adoration of God.
Finally, while we are much impressed with the number of unchurched who have become mature Christians through Saddleback, a "lean and mean, disciple-making machine" (Rick Warren's words), we believe that Good Shepherd is called to be a covenant family, albeit a large and extended family. This means that we will continue to maintain some traditions and programs that strengthen the individual's relationship with the whole church, beyond his or her involvement in a small group or ministry team. (An example is our Wonderful Wednesday's dinner and program)
A family implies less efficiency than an organization. We're not called to be as efficient as Saddleback in making large numbers of individual disciples, for we believe that God has given us a special purpose in having us relate as church family, which speaks to the isolation and individualism of our age. But how grateful we are to learn how we can be a family that expects to accomplish God's purposes!