I was watching PBS's "Ask this Old House" while reading Phil "Pyromanic" Johnson's blog and comments and it got me to thinking about some things.
Seventh Baptist church has some great leaders, but they are unfortunately of the mindset "If you want it done right, you do it yourself." The result of this is that new leaders are not being trained to replace those who move/die/burn out. As time passes, there are fewer and fewer leaders, and those in leadership are somewhat protective of the positions, as they have always been the ones to take care of everything. This leads to what we see in many churches across the country - atrophy. So along comes a new pastor (the old one took the heat for the atrophy), and he brings in a new set of ideas. He correctly identifies the problems of the church, but he chooses a quick fix to the problems, and employs a Fad-Driven method. Initially there is some success from these changes, but they usually are not sustainable, so they have to move onto the next Fad and so on and so on. It becomes a cycle for Seventh Baptist.
Of course this is just an example, and I could come up with many others. I think the solution to this is intentional mentoring/grooming of new leaders. Christ did this with the Apostles, Paul did this with Timothy. Had Seventh Baptist had a program of developing new leaders, they would not be in this situation.
Another thought I had is that I think a core issue with Fad-Driven churches is laziness or overworked staffs. Some/many pastors are stretched pretty thin. It is often easier to pick up an entire program and just implement it throughout the church. Purpose Driven Life is one such program. That is not to say that every church using these materials is due to laziness or being strecthed to far, but certainly in some churches that is the case.
I have a lot more thoughts bouncing around in my head on these issues at the moment, but I can't seem to get the clarity of thought to put it in print yet. My final thought are a call out to all who read this to begin to examine how their churches groom new leaders. I think this is of top level importance. If you don't have a system currently, get on it. It takes time to develop the system, and then it takes time to begin to identify and develop your future leaders. There's no better time to start than today. Get after it. Do it for God's glory.