Peter Drucker: Father of the Communitarian Church Growth Movement

By Brannon S. Howse

Call One Man “Father”—of the CCGM 


Peter Drucker is best known as the “father of modern management.” But I believe he could just as well be known as the father of the communitarian church growth movement. Although he died on November 11, 2005, his worldview lives on through his disciples Bill Hybels, Rick Warren, and perhaps hundreds of thousands of pastors, elders, and deacons who have consumed his spiritual poison. 


In a U.S. News and World Report article entitled, “Preacher with a Purpose,” Jeffery Sheler reveals that Rick Warren has called Peter Drucker one of his mentors: 


His [Warren’s] most important role models he says, have been Billy Graham (“a model of great integrity”), Drucker (“a personal mentor on managing rapidly growing organizations”), and his late father, a Baptist minister.


The article also outlines Drucker’s admiration for Warren: 


Peter Drucker, the management guru, has described Saddleback’s organizational model as “the most significant sociological [phenomenon] of the second half of the [20th] century.”


Warren has boasted many times about his being mentored by Peter Drucker:


The most significant sociological phenomenon of the first half of the twentieth century was the rise of the corporation. The most significant sociological phenomenon of the second half of the twentieth century has been the development of the large pastoral church—of the megachurch. It is the only organization that is actually working in society. Now Drucker has said that at least six times. I happen to know because he’s my mentor. I’ve spent twenty years under his tutelage learning about leadership from him, and he’s written it in two or three books, and he says he thinks it’s the only thing that really works in society. 


Warren seems to be saying that unless a church follows his megachurch model, it is not having an impact on society. But I contend that if your church follows Rick Warren’s model, you are not having a biblical impact on society. You may be having an impact, but it is a negative one based on social justice, the social gospel, and communitarianism. 


Rick Warren’s website claims astounding success in connecting churches with his Purpose Driven Church model. In an interview with ABC News reporter Jake Tapper, Warren glowed:

We’ve trained now almost 500,000 church leaders around the world in 162 countries. I’ve been training leaders for twenty-eight years, business leaders, government leaders, church leaders.


To understand the unbiblical nature of Rick Warren’s worldview of church, government, and corporations, we must grasp the worldview of Drucker, the communitarian. The December 24, 2002 issue of Business Week featured an article on Peter Drucker entitled “Peter Drucker’s Search for Community” in which Ken Witty explains the foundation of Drucker’s thinking:


He brings a communitarian philosophy to his consulting.... He said that what he’s all about is this search for community, the search for where people and organizations find community for non-economic satisfaction....


Since communitarians and Fabian Socialists share the same philosophies and desire the same outcome of welfare-state capitalism and global governance, it should be of no surprise that in 1983, Peter Drucker praised Fabian Socialist and economist, John Maynard Keynes. Peter Drucker wrote an article entitled, “Modern Prophets: Schumpeter and Keynes?” in which he exclaimed, “The two greatest economists of this century, Joseph A. Shumpeter and John Maynard Keynes….No one in the interwar years was more brilliant, more clever than Keynes.”


The Drucker Foundation held conferences with other globalists and communitarians in a quest to merge government, corporations, and community organizations (such as churches) into an equal partnership for global governance. “Emerging Partnerships: New Ways in a New World” was a symposium organized by The Peter F. Drucker Foundation and sponsored by The Rockefeller Brothers Fund in December 1996. Its purpose is as follows: 


The Drucker Foundation believes that a healthy society requires three vital sectors: a public sector of effective governments; a private sector of effective businesses; and a social sector [churches] of effective community organizations. 


A merging of churches, corporations, and government is also known as the “three-legged stool,” a favorite term used by Drucker disciple Rick Warren. The three-legged stool is an aspect of communitarianism. As explained earlier, the Rockefellers have been working to co-opt the church for their globalist and ecumenical goals for generations. Similarly, Peter Drucker was a globalist, universalist, and pragmatist who did not believe in absolutes for society. The October 5, 1998 issue of Forbes magazine quotes Drucker’s attitude towards absolutes:


But a social discipline, such as management, deals with the behavior of people and human institutions. The social universe has no natural laws as the physical sciences do. It is thus subject to continuous change. This means that assumptions that were valid yesterday can become invalid and, indeed, totally misleading in no time at all.


Drucker was a perfect partner for the Rockefellers.

If we keep peeling back the layers, we discover that Drucker himself was influenced by questionable sources. The New York Times published “A Man’s Spiritual Journey from Kierkegaard to General Motors,” an article about Peter Drucker. In this tribute to Drucker the week after his death, the Times notes that “at age 19, Mr. Drucker came across the works of the theologian and philosopher Søren Kierkegaard–and was bowled over. He studied Danish in order to read Kierkegaard’s yet-untranslated writings.”


Understanding Drucker’s admiration for Kierkegaard helps explain Drucker’s proclaiming that there is no such thing as absolutes for society. In his book, Landmarks of Tomorrow, Drucker expands this point:

Society needs a return to spiritual values—not to offset the material but to make it fully productive. . . . Mankind needs the return to spiritual values, for it needs compassion. It needs the deep experience that the Thou and the I are one, which all higher religions share.


The Thou and the I are one? That is nothing more than Eastern mysticism. The belief that we are all one is monism. The belief that God is all is pantheism, and the belief that God is in all is panentheism. 


The Bible is very clear: God is in heaven, and we are on earth. The only people that can say we are empowered by God are those who are indwelt by Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit resides only in the life of the believer after he or she places faith and trust in Jesus Christ with repentance and turning from sin. God is not in all people. 


When Drucker says “society needs a return to spiritual values,” the spirituality of which he is speaking is paganism. In a Journal of Management History article entitled “The Unfashionable Drucker: Ethical and Quality Chic,” authors James S. Bowman and Dennis L. Wittmer explain another of Drucker’s dubious influences: 


Convinced of the overall importance of Confucian ethics, he claims that “if ever there is a viable ‘ethics of organization,’ it will almost certainly have to adopt the key concepts of Confucian theory: clear definitions of relationships, universal rules, focus on behavior rather than motives, and behavior that optimizes each parties’ benefits.”


The philosophy of Confucius emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice, and sincerity. 


Peter Drucker admitted he was not a Christian, yet this is the man who mentored Rick Warren and the man that hundreds of thousands of pastors have followed by following Warren. Drucker could hardly have been more clear on his spiritual standing: 


I’m not a born again Christian; no. I’ve been going to church and conducted tithing all my life but I do not claim to be…if you read one thing of mine read my essay on Kierkegaard…it is the best thing I ever wrote easily but it’s also the only thing I ever wrote about religion.


In “Management’s New Paradigms,” published in the October 5, 1998 issue of Forbes magazine, Drucker declared: 


So the nonprofit social sector [churches] is where management is today most needed and where systematic, principled, theory-based management can yield the greatest results fastest. Just think of the enormous problems facing the world—poverty, health care, education, international tension—and the need for managed solutions becomes loud and clear.


You will notice that Drucker left out the one most important issue that faces mankind: his sinfulness, depravity, and need to repent of sin and accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Drucker, on the other hand, promotes social justice or a social gospel. He and his disciples address the material problems of man but not the ultimate spiritual condition addressed by Jesus Christ and the atonement provided through His death, burial, and resurrection. 


Drucker also said, “The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said.” And what is it that Drucker and his disciples are not saying? They’re not saying anything about the Gospel.


The great management guru was expressing the goals of today’s communitarians and Fabian socialists. And as we saw in the 1953 Congressional hearings, the communists wanted to move the Church away from spiritual things and make it more about materialism. This emphasis on the material matches perfectly with communism and the redistribution of wealth.

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