Radicalis: Radically Compromising Brad Powell

The upcoming Radicalis conference scheduled to take place at Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church, February 9-12, will include speakers Rick Warren, his ministry team, and what is shaping up to be a line-up of, well, the usual suspects for apostasy.  One headliner is Brad Powell, Senior Pastor, Northridge Church.  Powell is slated to discuss his process of successfully transitioning congregations “from static to dynamic,” and to go from “irrelevance to relevance.”1 It is important to understand that in the nomenclature of compromise the term irrelevance means small, but faithful congregation; and the term relevance means applying marketing schemes to attract more dues-paying customers by employing sensual lures in the areas of church lighting, music, and entertainment.

For a glimpse of the marketing program Powell will be promoting at Radicalis, a look back to his marketing ideas from 2007, as originally covered here at TheNewsBeats.com, will be insightful:

Brad Powell: Holy Spirit Hot Sauce, or Marketing Genie in a Bottle?

December 30th, 2006 by David Dansker

Billed as the “Change Without Compromise 2007” conference, Brad Powell, Senior Pastor of Northridge Church, MI, is marketing his church transition workshops by comparing Church fervency to a bottle of hot sauce. Referencing Revelation 3:15-16, Powell contends the comparison “isn’t that far off,” and he claims that by purchasing his hot ideas your church can “move from static to dynamic, from cultural irrelevance to relevance, and from ineffective to effective.” Of course, “20% growth annually” might also be inside the bottle too. Workshops include Marketing and Communications (or, “What’s On Your Label?”); Volunteers (how to develop and maintain them); and Programming with a Purpose. “Your services can be ‘all killer, no filler’! Experience the process… from the pastor’s series thoughts… to the final walk-out music. Hands-on training that’ll rock your programming world” (workshop, deatails).

Upon successful completion of the Powell transition, it sounds like a pastor can process attendees through church services with all the efficiency and thrills of a major theme park ride. The cost for the conference and workshops is $179. While we didn’t see a workshop on holding them upside down long enough to shake the money out, it seems safe to deduce that the mechanism is built into the package.

The-if you will excuse the phrase-selling points for this tabasco-talk are Powell’s own numbers: 12,700 people for weekend services, and 2,100 “decisions for Christ” last year alone. When considering these, and Powell’s merchandising campaign, two things come to mind. One is 2Peter 2:3: “And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.” The other thing is that Pilate got probably as many “decisions for Christ” in a single day; they decided to crucify him.


1. Radicalis,  “Leading Through Change with Pastor Brad Powell,” Pastors.com. http://www.pastors.com/groups/pd_conferences/pages/individual-tracks.aspx.  (accessed January 6, 2010)

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