What does the description "90%" say about something? If a food is 90% fat free, its still 10% fat. If a surgery is successful 90% of the time, 10% of the patients still die on the table. But those clearly have negative connotations, so what is something good? 90% growth is almost double. 90% is still an 'A', though just barely. 90% is a huge majority.
From a different perspective, if you plagiarize 10% of a paper or research project, its still 90% yours. But does that 10% constitute cheating? If you copy 10% of someone else's book, is that a copyright infringement? 90% of is still untouched. If 10% of your book is uncited pieces from other resources, have you lied to your audience? Though I'm no legal expert, I think it would be a yes to all.
So what would you make of it, then, to hear your church was culling 90% of its creative materials - sermon series & titles, worship ideas and even the sermons themselves - from other churches? What do you say to that? Because that is the startling news I heard yesterday while at lunch with our church planter. We were discussing the plant and some various issues at our church and he said approximately 90% of our materials are copied, primarily from Andy Stanley and his church. I found our latest sermon series, and several series we've done since I got here, on the Northpoint webstore. The thing is, we didn't even change the title of the series! We changed up the sermon titles themselves, and it appears we've mostly only borrowed from them and not copied them verbatim, but we've even used their graphics.
I knew we did some of that - its just a reality that churches face today. Its a tough job to come up with good, creative ideas every week and if someone put together something good, you borrow it. It is what it is. But I had no idea we did it to such an extent. And while I didn't have the rosiest picture of this place and its leadership before, I was coming to accept my place here and was able to see how God was using me with these kids. But this scares me - how healthy can this organization be if it has to do this on that scale? What might be eating away at the heart of this place? I just don't know what to think.