Peter Benedict asked a question in the comments section of the previous post that, after I gave a brief reply to it, struck me as something others of you might be interested in weighing in on, so I'll highlight it here. This is completely a technical question--"Blue Ocean," "Willow Creek"--terms that mean something to a few folks here, but are incomprehensible to others of you. But, if this question grabs you, I'd love your thoughts. As I said, I responded to Peter with a brief conversation-opener.
I was having a conversation with a friend today about Blue Ocean faith (he's involved in the planning of the MN conference in January). We were talking about the overlap (or not) of Blue Ocean with Willow Creek-style seeker sensitive church.
Is there a theological difference in approach between the Blue Ocean strategy (go after the people the church isn't reaching!) and the Willow Creek strategy (go after the people the church isn't reaching!)? If so, what are the similarities and differences, both in belief and in practice?
This post potentially points to a place of potential difference: The measure of success, during Willow Creek's efforts, was growth in the number of non-Christians floating around. It was results oriented. And in the end, it was a failed strategy.
I'd like to take part in, or listen in on, some discussion around this question. I am whole-heartedly interested in loving people; I am not interested in doing what people want so that they'll think I'm cool and magically follow Jesus as a result. I'm not around the people directing the Blue Ocean movement very often, so I don't know if I understand what's driving it... is it the desire to attract non-Christians (in which case, how is that different from Willow Creek?), or is it something more/else/also?
I was just in a conversation today with some folks here about a related question, so I'm sure they'll have good things to say. But my kickoff thought might be: My read on Willow Creek is that they are an evangelical church with a great evangelistic strategy, a tactic. Blue Ocean doesn't strike me as a tactic, but as an approach to faith and life that, perhaps, might have helpful things to offer in a secularizing world. But it's not a bounded set (we have a clever means if convincing "you" to join "us"--in Blue Ocean, there is only "us").