A fun and thought-provoking story from a Harvest University attender.
I asked one of the hotel staff if she knew where Harvest Bible Chapel was. She did not but went to ask her manager. Upon returning the manager said she did not know the location but with radio in hand contacted one of the shuttle drivers. She then proceeded to ask the driver if he knew where Willow Creek was. I, as a good Canadian and not wanting to offend my American Harvest friends, promptly corrected her and said, "no not Willow Creek but Harvest Bible Chapel". Her response was a Master Card moment, "priceless". She said, "they are the same thing aren't they?"
The blogger went on with this insightful comment:
For most who are not into church the two mega churches are just really the same thing. They don't care to know or don't see the philosophical or theological differences.
Let me speak for myself here. As an employee of Harvest Bible Chapel, I have done a lot of thinking about what our church should be about. We have tried to grow biblically, minister carefully, and steward wisely the people who have looked to learn from our church. Obviously, having a church as large, intentional and influencial as Willow Creek nearby has been a great stimulus to my thinking.
But I'd love to know the hotel's answer to this question: Is there a group of people in this town who have two things in common: 1) they love Jesus Christ, and 2) they love this city.
I hope she could correctly identify someone. Harvest, Willow, somebody else? Fine with me.
In the end, the only people who like "large" churches are pastors. "Intentional" is only good if you have good intentions, and no one in heaven is going to hear "well done, good and influencial servant."