Thursday, May 05, 2005

In no way do I think that all Mega-churches are bad

... but don't get me started. Willow Creek is coming to town. Soon. Downtown. Now, Chicago is big enough where we shouldn't have to worry about the competition. But the fact is, I'm referring to churches. With Wal-Mart, there is an upfront advantage to calling it competition. It is what it is. This, however, is the Church. Not to be confused with consummerism by any means. But that's what it's come to mean. Not for everybody. But for way, way too many people.

Is all they do bad. Nooo... I've got some great friends who came from some of those factory-churches. And they send down quite a few workers to assist us in our soup kitchen ministries. They have small groups where people actually learn about Jesus and opportunities for them to serve Christ. I'm not angry with specific Mega's. I'm frustrated with the patterns that are developing within and honestly destroying the American version of the Church. Greg Horton (Horton hears a "What??") is really upset, but I think he spills some of my frustrations with a clarion call to build the kingdom.


  1. I don't know what's so bad about mega churches. Jesus attended a mega church in Jerusalem, didn't he? And then he met with his small group.

    I don't attend a mega church (ours averages around 500), but I don't see how a church that's alive and gets people excited, and provides tons of ministry opportunites, and connects people in meaningful ways through small groups, can be bad!

    Churches become big because they come up with ways that actually reaches people and touches them and if that draws them closer to Christ then that's just flat-out awesome.

  2. First, Mr. Talon, I want to thank you for stopping by my little ego-drive today and for leaving a comment.

    I appreciate your sincerity and judging by a quick glance at your blog, I can tell that that is what you are about, bringing God into the public, so-called "secular," arena.

    I also agree, as I did in my post and as I do in my thought processes, that the good things (people getting connected to God and each other) that happen within the mega-church movement are in fact, good things. However, I also believe it's paramount to not confuse good results with good, Biblical, Spirit-filled processes.

    First, on a historical note, the temple that Jesus attended in the early 1st Century was not by any means a Mega-Church. It was THE Temple. The only temple (cf. John 4:20-22). There was no market-driven strategy. There was no competition. People came simply because the Temple in Jerusalem was the Only place to worship the Only God. To suggest, however, that the Twelve were Christs' small group is to trivialize the awesome transformation and revolution happening in the relationships between Jesus, the masses, and his committed followers. Again, nothing against small groups; they are great and often life-transforming. But Jesus wasn't just meeting some guys over tea and fritos.

    The times, however, are a-changing. And no one should negate that. When the times change, the Church should recognize its role in the environment. It should never lose a hold of its vision or purpose (Mtt. 28:18-20), to restore sight to the blind, give hope to the hopeless, shelter the homeless, protect the innocent, the fatherless, the widows, etc, but in the love of and from Jesus with an eye on eternity.

    I'm not saying that mega-churches do not do that, but the focus is taken off Jesus and these commands and put onto the consummer. The seeker is the consummer and we must do whatever is necessary to get their attention, even if it means compromising the Gospel message and that which is considered offensive (picture a senior pastor of a mega-church getting up and saying that all congregants must drink this blood and eat this flesh to get into heaven. Not gonna happen in a consummer-driven church). Jesus knew he was going to be a stumbling block, that when he calls us, he calls us to die with him.

    I cannot see Joel Osteen (OK, so I named one, and an easy target, but he is setting up a dangerous pattern) saying to all that would follow him that, "Foxes have holes and birds have nests in which to rest, but I don't even have a pillow or a box spring. I'm homeless." Or to another would-be attender who wants eternal life, "Sell everything you have to the poor and follow me." Or how about, "Hey, people are gonna hate me, what'd'ya know? I'm gonna die. And if you want any piece of what I'm about, you're gonna die too. So, yeah, come follow me."

    The more I follow the life and teachings of Jesus, of course, the more I realize how short I fall on EVERY single issue. I have to look at my own complacency and laziness and definitely the fact that I want people to like me; I fear man more than God. But that shouldn't stop anyone for calling the Church to question.

    And, just because a church is active and even theologically correct does not mean it is alive (cf. Rev. 2:1-7).

    Hey, don't be a stranger,


Be kind. Rewind.