the weblog of Alan Knox


Posted by on Jul 22, 2008 in gathering | 9 comments

Have you seen this article yet – “What makes a gigachurch go?” (HT: Bill) I’d like to comment on a couple of excerpts from this article.

At Eagle Brook, the drill is plan, plan, plan, then rehearse, rehearse, rehearse — with the ultimate goal of making it all look spontaneous.

If you have to plan and rehearse to make something “look spontaneous”, then it is not spontaneous. Why not just let things be spontaneous?

“We do all this so we can get out of the way and let people focus on connecting with God,” Anderson said.

If the people in the article actually got “out of the way”, then everything would fall apart. By the way, this group may be taking it to the extreme, but this is the result of a desire for “excellence” in the church meeting.

What would happen if we actually got “out of the way” and were “spontaneous”?


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 7-22-2008

    I fear that excellence all too often gets in the way of service.

  2. 7-22-2008

    “What would happen?”

    I doubt the church would have ever gotten or stay that big.

    On one hand, I understand the need for smooth transitions, and yes, “excellence.” Maybe excellence is the wrong word, maybe the right word (s) are “lack of screw-up” that would distract the service.

    Is it the church’s fault or those attending? Especially we Americans, who deal in a commercial world with 30 second increments. The attention span has dropped so that the second something goes wrong, we’re not in the “worshipful mood.”

    I wish I knew the answer to this. My fear is that now whenever we think we’re experiencing something “corporately spiritual”, it’s merely manufactured. Does that make it wrong for me as a worshipper?

  3. 7-22-2008

    Planned spontaneity. That’s not an oxymoron at all.

    Isn’t it amazing that the leadership in so many churches have God figured out so well that they can plan a service down the the minute?

  4. 7-22-2008

    Joe (J.R.),

    I agree completely!


    If “screw-ups” distract us, could it be that we are focusing on the wrong things?


    I think I agree… what do you mean by “planned spontaneity”?


  5. 7-23-2008

    Why is it that Christians are so against “planning”? Didn’t God “plan” to send Jesus Christ into this world before the foundations of this world? Didn’t Paul admonish the Corinthians church to have a sense of order and planning to their services? I think that you all might be reading to much into this article. It’s possible to plan things out and rehearse and still be open to the spontaneous movements of God. I don’t see anything wrong with practicing and putting effort into our work in order to do it well, we do this in other areas of life with God. Isn’t it possible for the Holy Spirit to work through our planning as well?

  6. 7-23-2008


    I am not against planning. As Paul said in 1 Cor 14:26, some came together prepared with a teaching, a hymn, a revelation, a tongue, an interpretation… and I believe we could include other acts of speaking or serving in this list. However, I think there is a difference between this planning (which includes spontaneity), and the desire to have everything choreographed – which is what I see in this article.


  7. 7-23-2008


    Ok, fair enough. I guess that I don’t NECESSARILY see that in the article. It would appear that you could rehearse something over and over, but when you get up to deliver the sermon God might bring something to your mind that you are supposed to speak, but that you didn’t rehearse. I think that there would be freedom to say that. I also think that God can be “spontaneous” as we plan things. God might spontaneously bring something to that Pastor’s mind during the weeks that he is in his office studying and preparing. I’m not sure that I think that we can limit the work of the Holy Spirit always to a spur of the moment thing (sometimes yes), but often the Spirit has worked in great men of God like Spurgeon and Edwards as they studied and wrote as well. I guess that is all that I was wanting to point out.

  8. 7-23-2008


    In the article, they were concerned that the speaker said one word differently than what was on a screen. That doesn’t seem to be an attitude that welcomes spontaneity.

    I certainly agree that God uses people who plan. God also uses people in spontaneous ways. In churches today, I see many who welcome planning, and few who would welcome spontaneity. I’m not calling for an absence of planning, but the addition, acceptance, and even expectation of the Spirit working spontaneously. In 1 Cor 14, Paul called for the prophet who was speaking to give way to the one to whom the Spirit gave a spontaneous revelation. We need this attitude today.


  9. 7-23-2008


    I agree with you on the balance of spontaneity and of planning. However, I disagree that the issue of the speaker saying one word difference is an issue of planning. The article was describing that the speaker quoted the ESV (for instance) and the screen had the NIV (or something like that). What’s the harm in having the speaker quote the same verse that is on the screen? I don’t see that as squelching the Spirit’s work as much as just common sense. Again, I appreciate your thoughts, but I wonder if you’re reading too much into this article. Thanks,