Welcome to the online home of Tim Challies, blogger, author, and book reviewer.

Tim Challies

Challies on FacebookChallies on Twitter

Church Votes to Expel Non-Purpose Driven Members

Before you get all crazy, please realize that this article is satirical.

Rick Warren’s Book Becomes More than Recommended Reading for Local Congregation

MEMPHIS, TN – Many Christians have heard sentences like these lately: “Oh, you really should read The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren,” and “Wow, I can’t believe you haven’t read The Purpose Driven Life yet.” But only one group of believers has been confronted with this imperative: “Read The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren or forgo your church membership.” That group is the membership at Memphis Community Church.

In a groundbreaking move, the elder board at MCC – a nondenominational “mega-church” – passed a resolution to revoke the membership of any church member who does not, by the end of 2003, read The Purpose Driven Life, the New York Times bestselling book by Rick Warren, the founding pastor of Lake Forest, California’s celebrated Saddleback Community Church and author of The Purpose Driven Church.

“Upon encountering this life-changing book, we realized that if members of our church aren’t leading a purpose driven life, they really don’t have much value as believers,” said Senior Pastor Charles Moynihan. “After much prayer and consideration, we simply decided that they can take their purposelessness elsewhere.”

The decision was announced during Sunday morning services on November 9th, and every MCC member will have received a form letter from Moynihan by the end of the month.

Not only do MCC’s 348 members have to read The Purpose Driven Life by December 31st, 2003, they also have to pass a written test of both multiple choice and essay questions, formulated by the elder board, that demonstrates that they understand the concepts and have undergone the life-changing effects of the book.

Moynihan says that he expects that very few, if any, members will lose their membership, and that many will easily fulfill the requirement during the church’s “40 Days of Purpose,” a collective reading and study of the book, now in progress at MCC and thousands of other congregations around the world.

“We’re not looking to expel anybody here,” he said. “We know that our membership will rise to the challenge and start to actually live lives with a purpose. The reaction to this action by the board has been overwhelmingly positive.”

But that doesn’t mean the church’s revolutionary decision is completely free of detractors.

“I went through nine weeks of mind-numbingly boring membership classes, and now I have to prove my worth as a member by reading about some evangelical fad?!,” exclaimed Memphis resident Rick Peterson, who became an MCC member last year.

Despite his objections, Peterson, an avid basketball player, plans to read the book and take the test.

“I’m not ready to give up my free access to the church gym,” he said.

For his part, Moynihan is convinced that the required reading will have an effect on the church that will be just as revolutionary as the elder board’s ultimatum.

“We’re going to have hundreds of Christians finding unique purposes simultaneously,” he said. “I like to think of it as the Purpose Storm.”

This story was borrowed from The Holy Observer.