A few things rub me the wrong way about this story:
- It almost conveys the idea, "It worked for us, so what we did must have been God's will." This is the danger of a book about church revitalization that is a story rather than an exposition of Scripture.
- Pastor DeVine remarks that one reason he was able to survive the battle with the cartel is because his family was not with him at the church. I'm sure that did make it easier for him (and for his family) as an interim pastor. But I still think his ministry as a whole would have been enriched had his family joined him at the church for his ministry there, because pastoring is so much more than preaching and running business meetings. In some ways, he seems to have functioned more as a CEO than a pastor.
- In general, I'm uncomfortable with the philosophy of one church being run by another church. There just seems no model for this in Scripture. The closest would be the apostles running churches that were weak. But Darrin Patrick isn't an apostle, nor is his church. And the apostles focused on developing elders within the local church who could run the church when they were gone. If Pastor DeVine made any serious efforts at developing elders from within the church, he did not mention it. He seems to have condescendingly given up hope that the church would ever be able to make strategic plans for its own future. The best thing they could do was give up control to a super church several hundred miles away. Where did all of these energetic new members come from, and why did Darrin Patrick's philosophy and ministry team suddenly attract them?
Having shared my concerns, though, I will say that I am grateful to the Lord for using Pastors DeVine and Patrick to bring fresh life and hope to this church, and pray that it will remain a faithful gospel-preaching beacon for many years to come.