Pragmatism is the philosophy of operations that causes people to make decisions based on whatever will give them positive results. If the results are negative, avoid it. If the results are positive, do it. Pragmatism originated in 1870s and continues to be a popular means of evaluation and assessment.
Through the years, I’ve talked to more than one desperate church search team who is looking for a leader who will come in and lead the church to success. It’s so apparent, it might as well be written upon their faces with a large neon glow. During those conversations, it becomes apparent that they want to know what my vision is and what my methods are for leading the church to this perceived utopia. Far too often such conversations center upon what a leader can do rather than what the leader believes.
Pragmatism is one of the most deceptive dangers lurking in the shadows just waiting to entice and offer success, happiness, and joy to whoever will engage with the temptation. What exactly is this monster hiding in the shadows?
Pragmatism is the philosophy of operations that causes people to make decisions based on whatever will give them positive results. If the results are negative, avoid it. If the results are positive, do it. Pragmatism originated in 1870s and continues to be a popular means of evaluation and assessment. According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:
Pragmatism is a philosophical tradition that – very broadly – understands knowing the world as inseparable from agency within it. This general idea has attracted a remarkably rich and at times contrary range of interpretations, including: that all philosophical concepts should be tested via scientific experimentation, that a claim is true if and only if it is useful. 
What are some ways that pragmatism impacts the Christian community? Below are three important things to consider regarding the ministry philosophy of pragmatism.
Pragmatism and Worship
One critical question to ask ourselves is centered on the purpose of worship. Is worship about me and how I feel or is it about God? Is worship about pleasing unbelievers or is it about pleasing God? Is worship about receiving the ordinary means of grace or is it about making people feel good and happy?
During the days that preceded the Reformation, the Roman Catholic Church had removed the Bible as central to Christian worship. They had turned the worship into a dark, lifeless, and superstitious religion. It was the Reformation that sought to bring the Bible back to the central place within Christian worship. Protestants, to this very day, protest the doctrine and methods of the Roman Catholic Church.
Flowing out of the Reformation were two streams or approaches to Christian worship. One was known as the Normative Principle of worship. That ministry philosophy basically states that whatever we have freedom to organize our worship services in whatever way we desire so long as it’s not condemned in Scripture. A second philosophy emerged that is known as the Regulative Principle of worship. The Regulative Principle states that we should only approach God in worship based on the ways that God prescribes for us to worship him in the pages of holy Scripture.
Through the years, various methods and ministry philosophies have emerged. One such method is the ministry philosophy of pragmatism. It is been labeled, “The Inventive Principle” of worship because it basically says, “Whatever works, do it.” In many ways, the ministry philosophy of pragmatism encourages churches to order and design their worship based on what makes people feel good and what makes people happy, and then they offer that up to God as worship.