What Would Jesus Think Of Mega Churches

Are Megachurches Biblical? Evangelical Professor Explains What Is ‘Non-Negotiable’

At the 2016 Mobilizing Medical Conference, held at Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, attendees were treated to a musical performance.| The photo is courtesy of the Lakewood United Methodist Church. The long-debated question of whether megachurches are biblical was recently addressed by a professor at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, who pointed out that there are some key non-negotiable principles that every church must follow. “The real question is one of obedience,” says the author.

Are we carrying out the mission that Christ has assigned to us?

The Great Commission is a command that we must follow.

In Matthew 18, Jesus speaks to the Apostles about church discipline.

  • 50,000 people may have gathered in the church of Jerusalem at one point, according to scholars, which was too many for them to fit into the temple court, forcing them to disperse into other locations.
  • “I don’t believe either model is incompatible with the Bible,” he continued.
  • Is the church obedient to the truths that God has revealed to us?
  • “Are they reproducing and establishing new churches?” York insisted that both small and large churches are capable of accomplishing these goals, but noted that each model has its own set of challenges.
  • They fellowship so much that they fellowship with each other, but they feel like they don’t need anybody else, they don’t want to mess up the dynamic,” he warned.
  • At the same time, he warned that large and growing churches must seek how to organize in order to maximize their impact on people’s lives, and get them committed and accountable and ministering.
  • In other times, you need to divide,” York suggested.
  • Nor does it say that they cannot be for instance multisite.” Several studies have been conducted on the effectiveness of megachurches in America.

The research found “a negative relationship between size and the probability of attendance for Conservative, Mainline, and black Protestants and for Catholics in parishes larger than 500 attenders.” It said that the findings support the theory that “group cohesion lies at the heart of the size-participation relationship in churches.” Some megachurch pastors, such as Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in California,have pushed backagainst the criticism that large churches are not biblical or just a fad.

“Christianity for 2,000 years has had large churches, including the very first one,” hesaid in 2010.

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What the Bible says about Mega Churches

Romans 10:1-3What we observe inthe worldaround us confirms that end-time Israel is following the same spiritual pattern that our ancestors established anciently. Human nature does not change. These verses verify that some knowledge ofGodremains within theIsraelitish nations.However, theirs is not an enlightened, discerning, and intelligent zeal for God. Rather, God says inHosea 4:6that His people—in this case meaning ancient Israel—are destroyed for a lack of true knowledge. God then lays the greater blame on the teachers for their failure to teach truth.TheInterpreter’s Commentarysays that “ignorant” inRomans 10:3can correctly be translated as “ignoring,” revealing a deliberate disregarding of God’s righteousness.The broader history of Old Testament Israel shows that God’s Word was available, but the people did not access it toseek God. Thus, their ignorance was not completely the teacher’s fault; the people should have studied the Bible on their own. Paul explains inRomans 1:18-21that man is without excuse before Him because knowledge of God is available. The contrast Paul provides inRomans 10:1-3indicates that the teaching the Israelites received produced at best a vague, superficial base of knowledge about God. This is not a foundation of true knowledge that will work to produce a good relationship between God and man.We can see an example of this kind of teaching in our time. Most of us have seen what is happening in so many churches these days, most especially in themega-churches. Their services come across as superficial entertainment that gives people an upbeat social experience that contains some religious instruction. They come up short in teaching high-quality biblical truths to enhance people’s relationships with God. It has produced a people who believe that they are saved andgoing to heavenimmediately after death, and who think God’s laws are done away. They keepChristmasandEaster, which are obviously pagan holidays, and at the same time fail to keep the Sabbaths, which bothJesusand Paul clearly kept.How can they be following Christ when they do not do what He did and in fact do what pagans do? Where is God in the minds of those who conduct their lives like this? In truth, what they think about Him is nowhere near the truth because neither they nor their teachers make the effort to know Him (John 17:3).They know some thingsaboutHim, but they do not know Him. If they did, they would be seeking Him, and He would be revealing truth. Where should they be seeking Him? They must begin in the Scriptures. In them, two things are beyond dispute: first, that God is the Supreme Sovereign over His creation, His purpose for creating it, and His plan for fulfilling it; and second, that man is responsible to this awesome Creator.

I visited six US megachurches. Here’s what I learned

He visited the length and width of the United States to get a behind-the-scenes look at some of the country’s most important churches. Justin Brierley Our children are still talking about the day we went to Saddleback Ranch in California. Dancing, acting, and singing were all part of the show. There were video games, themed play parks, an indoor aquarium, and a reptile exhibit, among other things. They also received branded water bottles as a thank you. However, Saddleback is not a theme park; rather, it is a church.

  • Despite the fact that these huge churches are outnumbered by smaller churches around the country, their impact is undeniably significant.
  • Megachurches, on the other hand, have a lot of detractors.
  • And how does one go about creating a sense of belonging in a church that is actually made up of thousands of people?
  • So, with our four children in tow, we embarked on a wonderful American journey over the course of two visits spread over several years.

1. Lakewood church,Houston

Lakewood Church in Texas, which meets in a repurposed basketball arena (as shown above), claims to be the largest church in the United States, drawing up to 50,000 people to its various meetings. In addition to serving as a huge studio for pastor Joel Osteen’s enormously popular television ministry, the 16,000-seat sanctuary also acts as a stage with high-quality staging, lighting, and sound that rivals that of The X Factor.

2. Mars hill bible church,Grand rapids

When my megachurch marathon began in 2009, I traveled up to the northernmost regions of Michigan to visit Mars Hill Bible Church. It was a life-changing experience. At the time, they had their own celebrity preacher, Rob Bell, who served as their pastor. The church was enormous (it had a congregation of roughly 10,000 people), yet the style and doctrine were diametrically opposed to Lakewood. While Osteen offered a motivating speech that felt wonderful (my wife compared it to spiritual fast food), Bell presented a theological lecture that was both substantive and imaginative.

3. Brooklyn tabernacle,New York

The second leg of our voyage carried us from the East Coast to the West Coast of the United States, beginning in New York. The Brooklyn Tabernacle, which has been headed by pastor Jim Cymbala since the 1970s, was our first stop in the city. With a diverse congregation that meets in a beautifully refurbished 3,000-seat theatre, the church is internationally recognized for its gospel choir, which performs across the world. We were granted front-row seats, and the experience was nothing short of magical.

The congregation erupted in song, led by the 200 powerful voices that filled the stage throughout the evening.

It is their Tuesday night prayer meeting that serves as the driving force behind their ministry in one of New York’s most challenging neighborhoods. It’s part of a larger tale about an improbable renaissance in a community that has historically been skeptical.

4. Hillsong, NYC New York

I also attended an evening service in one of the city’s newest churches, which was a pleasant surprise. Hillsong NYC, which was founded in 2010, was the church that made me feel my age because it was founded in 2010. Everyone in the assembly appeared to be under the age of thirty. The service I attended, which took place in a rented theatre on Times Square, was more like being in a nightclub than a church, with the crowd bouncing around to electro-synth praise music, led from the front by an entourage of attractive musicians and vocalists.

Rather than helping the pop singer reconnect with his Christian religion, it is Pastor Carl Lentz who has been credited with assisting him in doing so.

5. Calvary chapel, Costa Mesa Los Angeles

After arriving in San Francisco, we continued on to the West Coast of California, where we visited the remaining two churches on our schedule. Megachurches are a relatively new phenomena, with Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa being one of the first to open its doors in the 1970s. Within walking distance of Huntington Beach, a popular surfing destination in Los Angeles, the church flourished fast under the leadership of charismatic preacher Chuck Smith in the late 1960s. That place served as the epicenter of the Jesus People movement, which saw hundreds of hippies, surfers, and beatniks come to faith while exchanging their use of psychedelic drugs and rock and roll for the presence of the Holy Spirit and a new wave of folk-rock worship music.

Despite the fact that their dramatic expansion occurred more than a decade ago, the Costa Mesa flagship church continues to draw large crowds under the leadership of Brian Brodersen.

6. Saddleback church, Orange County

Finally, we went to Saddleback Church, which was led by the incomparably enthusiastic Rick Warren. Since its founding in his living room in 1980, the church has grown to attract up to 25,000 people to its weekend services, making it the ninth largest church in the country by attendance. This multi-acre campus in Orange County, California, seemed like a vacation destination, thanks to the year-round California sunshine. The grounds were wonderfully designed, and there were water features to enjoy.

Additionally, there were coffee and ice cream stands, a cafeteria, numerous worship places, and of course the extraordinary children’s amenities on the premises.

The leadership factor

So, what is it that binds these two vastly diverse churches of such disparate size together? They are all headed (or were created) by extraordinarily skilled individuals, which provides a clear relationship between them. Although Joel Osteen and Rob Bell’s theologies are diametrically opposed, they are both excellent communicators who communicate well with their respective audiences. Similarly, Rick Warren, Jim Cymbala, Carl Lentz, and the late Chuck Smith all possessed strong personalities that served as a natural center of gravity for the development of their respective congregations.

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Those who develop huge churches tend to be motivated, pioneering leaders with lofty objectives, as the Spirit works through them to accomplish his purposes.

When a leader dies away or goes on, large congregations that have been founded on the ministry of a few distinctive persons typically struggle.

More than one megachurch has disintegrated as a result of a leader’s fall from grace — Mark Driscoll’s Mars Hill Church in Seattle is the most recent well-known example of this phenomenon.

Seeker sensitive churches

Increasingly, rising churches are adopting the’seeker sensitive’ strategy of church growth, which has been nearly universally popular in recent years. The method is characterized by its intentional welcome of newcomers, its casual attitude, and its emphasis on practical instruction. However, while churches such as Saddleback and Willow Creek have mastered the seeker sensitive approach, it was Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel who was the one who got the ball rolling. In response to hippies being drawn into his formerly conservative church by the pastor’s preaching, he saw an opportunity to embrace a new generation of Christians by accommodating their musical tastes, long hair, and hippy clothes.

  • According to Joycelyn Bell, who is a member of the church who joined prior to the hippy revival, her brother reportedly put up a sign in the church yard declaring “no bare feet permitted.” Pastor Chuck quickly removed it off the website.
  • In most megachurches today, a casual attitude is the rule rather than the exception.
  • In addition to his best-selling book, The Purpose Driven Life, the preacher is well-known around the world (Zondervan).
  • Those who work to purposefully seek, welcome, and engage new guests at Saddleback are the only ones who can achieve the laid-back, Californian atmosphere that exists at the church.

Megachurch Saddleback style

For us, the welcome began the moment we pulled into the church’s large parking lot and parked our car. Our children were registered on an iPad and given a barcode receipt when we dropped them off for their activities (which included an indoor aquarium). This assured that we would be reunited with them safely when the service was completed. We megachurches aren’t very good at discipleship. In the meantime, Lucy and I made our way to the main service. Some people decided to watch on outdoor screens from neighboring coffee shops, a children’s play area, or beneath a canopy on the veranda, while others preferred to watch on internal screens in the auditorium.

In the elevated seats near the back of the structure, we found a comfortable space.

However, it was a different situation right surrounding us, as only a few individuals were singing along.

Alternatively, we could have attended a Hispanic-themed service with Latino worship leaders, or a regular service with hymns and an organ (with Warren’s sermon streamed on a huge screen in both venues) somewhere on site.

Other megachurches, I noted, particularly requested that attendees remain in their seats until the end of the service before departing.

Mega questions

Pastor David Chrzan, the chief of staff of Saddleback Church, graciously consented to address my questions. I was with him as he showed us through the state-of-the-art youth facility, explaining how the play areas are themed around various Bible tales – there’s even a stream of water that divides in half like the Red Sea, making it easier for youngsters to travel over. The pastor is fully aware of both the advantages and the difficulties that come with leading such a big and well-resourced congregation.

  • In other words, are they adopting a consumerist approach?
  • Over the last twelve years, we’ve had over 25,000 of our members travel to another nation to share their religion or participate in a mission activity, according to Chrzan.
  • In addition, they tend to the ill, aid the needy, educate the next generation, and establish churches.
  • This was a component of what we anticipated it would take to bring people to where they are now.” Furthermore, how can a large church, where it is easier to stay anonymous, ensure that its members become incorporated into a true community?
  • It is through these types of organizations that the development of community and discipleship takes place.
  • They all agreed that the most effective way to make a large church feel smaller is to participate in midweek groups or special ministries.

Can the UK do megachurch?

However, there was one major question that remained for me. When compared to the United States, why are such huge churches so rare and far between in the United Kingdom? I believe there are a number of factors at play. In terms of sheer practicality, the United Kingdom is a congested island when compared to the United States. It is very impossible to build huge out-of-town church auditoriums with enough parking space in the majority of locations of the United Kingdom. Many of our most popular churches, such as Holy Trinity Brompton (HTB), which attracts more than 3,000 people on a weekly basis, can only handle such large crowds by performing numerous services in various locations across central London.

  • Cultural factors can play a role in the process.
  • Finally, there is the reality that America is still primarily a Christian nation, as it was when the Pilgrim Fathers first arrived.
  • Plant a church in America, and it is likely that people will attend.
  • The congregation of Jeff Vines’ Christ’s Church of the Valley in San Dimas, California, has grown from a few hundred to over 8,000 in just eight years, thanks to his vision and leadership.

That does not imply that their faith is genuine or profound; it just indicates that they attend services. We have become a Christianized society. We have a strong Christian basis that has served us well and continues to help us.”

The future of the megachurch

This is a phenomena that will not go away. Surprisingly, the number of megachurches in the United States increased by more than 200% between 2000 and 2010. But the majority of individuals I spoke with, even pastors themselves, feel that this growth will not be sustained permanently. There are many who believe that the younger generation is less interested in the large-scale production that megachurches are known for putting on. The opposite is true: millennials are reverting to simplicity, local communities, and even traditional, liturgical forms of worship in their quest for meaning.

While megachurches will continue to exist, he predicts that the main tendency will be toward “smaller, more intimate” settings as well as more “affiliation, network, and camaraderie” between congregations.

The following statement was made by Jeff Vines during our interview: “The fact is that we megachurches don’t do discipleship well.” And it’s all because we devote so much time and attention to the major event every weekend, as you can imagine.

It’s probably beyond and above what most people believe we are capable of.” Although a trend has emerged in the last five or ten years, megachurch pastors are taking a hard look within themselves to determine whether or not they have an excessive number of people attending their services.

Imitating the model

In recent years, many church leaders in the United Kingdom have peered over the pond at their American counterparts and marveled (maybe with a tinge of jealously) at the massive churches that are constantly sprouting there. Every pastor desires to see their church expand, and there is much to be learned in the process. On the one hand, we may appreciate the tenacity of church pioneers, whose willingness to experiment and adopt novel development tactics has frequently resulted in spectacular achievements.

We are operating on a different terrain and at a different cultural moment than the majority of the United States.

However, Jesus is concerned about the health of our churches, no matter how great or tiny they are.

Even the greatest congregations may become stagnant if they lose sight of the most important thing — Jesus. Our responsibility is to ensure that we are building churches that are healthy and ready to develop whenever and wherever God sows the seed of spiritual growth.

A Rural Pastor’s Warning About Megachurches

“Megachurches are spreading wilderness of Christianity,” says the author of the book. They propagate error, have abandoned biblical truth, and are more concerned with numbers and budgets than they are with souls and eternity.” Most likely, you’ve heard someone use that description before. Yes, I have. I’ve heard it from a variety of sources, the most of which have been members of small, rural churches. According to this interpretation, as soon as a church attains a specific number of regular visitors, it either abandons the gospel or realizes that there is no other way to achieve that number without putting God and his Word to one side.

  1. You know, given the sheer number of individuals in attendance, it was clear that this was a man-centered meeting of people who were more concerned with good, solid cuisine than with good, solid religion.
  2. It is my responsibility as pastor of a small to medium-sized rural congregation.
  3. Sunday School is still held, as is a meet-and-greet, and children are invited to come down to the front during the Sunday morning service for a children’s sermon.
  4. However, we continue to be a part of the body of Christ.
  5. We must use extreme caution in our discussions of other churches.
  6. In other cases, megachurches have turned their backs on the gospel and have become more like retail malls than the body of Christ.
  7. In the meantime, we engage in a type of subtle persecution against Christ’s body when we presume that our favored brand of church is in fact the finest one available.

Some of these churches go to great lengths to block particular individuals from entering.

These churches have more in common with the Masonic Lodge than they do with the body of Christ.

However, for some reason, it is OK for us to place a scarlet sign on the doors of all megachurches.

The fact that we are able to point out the defects in the other church helps us to feel better about the flaws in our own church.

A church in our neighborhood that was incredibly healthy and theologically sound was being discussed by two people I overheard when I was in seminary.

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The second man said, “Yeah, but I don’t agree with their definition of beauty,” after one of the men mentioned that he visited the church and enjoyed it.

Their perception of beauty!

Here’s a thought exercise for you.

However, don’t simply show up.

Here’s what you may expect to find: Mistakes.

There are certain areas that want improvement.

(Well, I do eat gluten-free bread; one out of three isn’t too shabby).

Including our own.

Certainly, everything reasonable should be done to divert people away from the huge megachurch where neither the Bible nor sin are discussed.

Don’t make the mistake of supposing that tiny, rural churches are exempt from the same mistakes.

Many Sunday morning worship sessions in tiny churches have accomplished more in terms of electing someone to the United States Senate than they have in terms of exalting the name of Jesus.

He is neither restricted to working just in small, isolated congregations that fulfill our attendance standards, nor is he restricted to serving exclusively in large congregations.

Christ, not us or our numerical aspirations, is the head of the church, not us or our numerical expectations. And if we love Christ, we will love his church, no matter how large or little it may be.

ARE MEGA-CHURCHES BIBLICAL? — Advocates for Truth

A method through which Christian leaders have sought to accommodate massive numbers of worshipers and spectators gathering each weekend is through the construction of mega-churches. In the wake of their arrival, numerous issues have been raised about the proper method to host and attend church in the modern setting. First and foremost, in order to determine if megachurches meet the biblical standards of the church, we must consider what the aim of the church is. What is the Mission of the Church?

  • When the biblical authors refer to the word “church,” they do so in two distinct ways.
  • Unlike the global church, which is comprised of all Christians across the world, the local church serves a specific purpose in a specific location.
  • When it comes to the local church, the biblical instructions are concerned with its function rather than its number.
  • It is recorded in the Great Commission (Matt.
  • Each of these instructions should be carried out in the church, and this should be obvious.
  • It is revealed in John 4:23 that sincere worshipers of God worship in both spirit and truth.
  • Another important function of the church is to study God’s Word and to pray for one another.

In order for the church and each individual believer to flourish, it is critical that these two practices be followed.

According to Matthew 5:14-16, Christian churches are to serve as a light, or a city on a hill, for the community.

Christians’ ability to shine as lights in the world will be determined by the love they have for one another.

When the Christians in Acts 4 share their goods and care for one another, they display this practical love in action.

They cared about others in ways that went beyond a single day of charity and compassion; their love reflected their concern for the well-being of others on a day-to-day basis.

11:24), as well as in the administration of baptismal services for new believers (Matt.

Baptism should be done by church members to demonstrate to the rest of the world the purification of the new believer and the beginning of their new life in Christ.

This is a directive that should be carried out on a regular basis by each local church body.

Do Mega-Churches fulfill their stated mission?

The church that was created in Jerusalem following Pentecost, for example, initially had over three thousand believers (Acts 2:41), with new converts being added on a daily basis after that (Acts 2:47).

As a result, it is preferable to address the question of whether churches of this size are effective in accomplishing their biblical mission.

Because of the size of most churches, it is common for individuals to attend for years without becoming acquainted with anybody else in the congregation.

This problem has been addressed by larger churches through the adoption of required small groups for the congregation’s members and other initiatives.

Mega-churches, on the other hand, can reap the benefits of their immense size.

For example, whereas a small church may struggle to do one semi-local mission trip each year, mega-churches generally have the resources and resources to fund numerous international ministry organizations simultaneously.

These materials can aid in the development of the church body and the equipping of members to more effectively communicate the gospel.

However, while it is improbable that a small church will ever employ an accountant or a social media manager, large churches are more likely to do so.

Conclusion The local church is called to exist for a specific reason or for a certain purpose.

While size might be an issue (whether it is too large or too little), the efficacy and fulfillment of the church’s mission should be the primary focus of the church’s administrators.

Mega-churches can serve as excellent examples of what it means to be a biblical church body.

The Bible never requires or expects a specific number of people to attend a gathering. However, it is critical, regardless of the size of the church, to check its compliance with biblical mandates and regulations.

5 Unfair Myths About Megachurches It’s Time To Bust

When you think of megachurches, what comes to mind? If there’s one thing I learned from blogging about the church, it’s that some peoplehatemegachurches. With a passion. I try not to engage the trolls and the haters in the comments on my blog (engaging them just gives them what they want) (engaging them just gives them what they want). But I’ve also noticed that even among more balanced church leaders, it’s easy to take swipes at megachurches. Sometimes I wonder how much of that is born out of envy, a sense of inferiority or simple misunderstanding, but after another set of cheap shots in response to myblog poston the recent exits of Pete Wilson and Perry Noble from their ministries, I thought it was time to engage the accusations that often come at megachurches.

  • Of course these preachers get burned out.
  • They should get burned out.
  • Churches are meant to be small, tightly knit communities, not splashy corporations.
  • Or you become a monster.
  • I wish I was making this up.
  • Somebody actually wrote this.
  • Are megachurches perfect?

But no church is perfect, including small and mid-sized churches.

It’s just simplistic and illogical thinking.

So what happens when a church starts to grow?

Do you get bad at what you do so you stop reaching people?

The logical issues alone with slamming large churches are riddled with problems.

So here are 5 myths about megachurches it’s finally time to bust.

1. It’s a one-man (or one-woman) show

You have no idea how many times I’ve heard folks claim that a massive church is just a one-man show. Why? Because when we think of a huge church, the majority of people automatically think of the founder or senior leader (although there are some large churches where this isn’t the case, but they’re exceptions rather than the rule). Most huge churches do not operate in the manner of a one-man or one-woman performance, as a rule. Around the point leader, there are actually teams of highly talented leaders that work together as a team.

  • You simply must have dozens to hundreds of talented staff members as well as thousands of capable volunteers to be successful.
  • As a result, a small or mid-sized church (say 400-600 people) is significantly more likely to have one or two people leading the congregation since the leader can do almost everything on his or her own.
  • As a matter of fact, your church will never be able to stably expand beyond 1000 members if it is governed only by the pastor.
  • Many other extremely big churches, on the other hand, have successfully undergone leadership transitions.
  • Christ Fellowship in Florida has done the same.

Gene Appel handed over the reins of a massive Central Christian Church in Las Vegas to Jud Wilhite, who has guided the congregation to unparalleled levels of growth and development. People who claim that huge churches are one-man shows don’t comprehend what it means to be a large church. Period.

2. The people who attend are just blind sheep

First and first, if you believe that the people who attend megachurches are all blind sheep, why don’t you approach them and ask them if this is the case? After all, it’s a very scathing allegation to level against someone. If you go to the majority of megachurches, you will not find any blind sheep. You will come across leaders. Actually, most of the time, you’ll find qualified leaders—independent men and women who understand the degree of purpose, thinking, and mission that many of today’s larger churches are striving to achieve.

Why?

Great leaders draw other great leaders to themselves.

Capable leaders, on the other hand, stay away from badly run organizations and churches.

3. Megachurches don’t produce real disciples

This is the one piece of criticism that personally hurts me the most, mostly because it is just not accurate. And while I have not personally led a megachurch, I have headed a huge church (1000+ members), and this critique was always a shadow over our ministry. Begin with the fundamentals. What is the definition of a disciple? Someone who has made the decision to place their faith in Jesus as their Saviour. The question is, how do you tell whether they’re following Jesus? Jesus really provided us with a very practical test that allows us to identify the difference.

  1. People harvest grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles, is that correct?” To put it another way, look into someone’s life to see whether there is proof.
  2. In our generation, we have erroneously defined what it means to be a disciple.
  3. You become arrogant as a result of your knowledge.
  4. Going to a megachurch will reveal hundreds of people whose lives appear more and more like Jesus a few years down the road than they did when they first started out.

I’ll tell you who isn’t being transformed by love: nobody! The naysayers. Consider the implications of that for a moment. And perhaps you should be concerned about it as well.

4. People don’t like attending large churches

Because that sounds similar to what Yoggi Berra said about a specific New York restaurant: “Nobody goes there anymore,” this is a great argument to spin. “It’s far too crowded here.” While it is true that Millennials value relationships and smaller meetings, the reality is that individuals of all ages and demographics continue to come to megachurches in large numbers. Study after study has shown that megachurches are becoming larger and that the number of them is increasing every year. Large churches are getting better and better at shrinking their congregations as time goes on.

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The paradox is that huge churches continue to grow in both size and number while simultaneously shrinking in size.

5. Megachurches are unbiblical

Megachurches are frequently criticized for this reason. Lighting, organization, and “CEO” type leadership are all things that people dislike. However, I’m not certain that the argument holds up on its own. First and foremost, opponents of megachurches are seldom found participating in what may be referred to be ‘biblical’ forms of worship. The majority of people, in my opinion, do not wake up at five o’clock in the morning each day before work, gather with other Christians to pray, and pledge one another that they would not cheat on their spouses, that they will care for the poor, and that they will remain true to Jesus.

  1. If they are, they have earned my admiration.
  2. Naturally, the fact is that the church has always evolved, adapted, and responded to the changing times in which it has found itself.
  3. It’s quite simple to confuse the approach with the purpose, and preferences with guiding principles while working in a group.
  4. The mission, on the other hand, does not.
  5. Within a generation, you’ll be considered obsolete.
  6. It is not that people have abandoned the information industry; rather, it is that the manner in which we consume information has changed.
  7. There may come a day when huge congregations will no longer be an effective means of sharing Christ with others.

If this is the case, they will eventually fade away. In the meanwhile, however, if they continue to lead individuals into a deepening relationship with Jesus, why should they be prevented from doing so?

Want More?

If you’re interested in learning more, my recent book, Lasting Impact: 7 Powerful Conversations That Can Help Your Church Grow, outlines seven difficulties that churches of all sizes must confront in order to become more effective. In the meanwhile, do you have any ideas? I appreciate it when people take the time to remark. Comments or rants that are harmful to others will be removed. (In my opinion, you are not assisting anyone by engaging in this type of dispute.) Continue reading and contributing to the discussion.

5 Unfair Criticisms of Large Churches It’s Time To Drop

What comes to mind when you think of enormous churches and mega-churches is the following: The one thing I’ve learned from writing about the church is that some people are anti-megachurch, which is something I didn’t realize until recently. With a lot of zeal. I make an effort not to engage with trolls and haters in the comments section of my site (engaging them just gives them what they want). It has, however, come to my attention that even among church leaders who are generally more balanced and nuanced, it is easy to take potshots at megachurches.

Someone made the following statement regarding certain burned-out pastors from huge churches a while back: “Wish these people would grow wise and start obeying Scripture and following the New Testament model of interconnected congregations under presbytery control with representatives.” It’s inevitable that these preachers become exhausted.

  1. They should get depleted of their energy.
  2. Churches are intended to be tiny, tightly linked groups rather than large, flamboyant organizations.
  3. Alternatively, you can turn into a monster.
  4. Wish I was making this up, but I’m not.
  5. This was written by a real person.
  6. Are megachurches without flaws?
  7. It’s also true that huge churches may face different temptations and problems than smaller congregations in terms of spiritual growth.

(Plus, when a megachurch falls or a “celebrity preacher” suffers a moral failing, the media is eager to draw attention to that particular church.) However, no church, especially tiny and mid-sized congregations, is without flaws.

Whether a church is spiritually alive or dead is the crux of the issue.

It’s basically a case of oversimplifying and faulty reasoning.

The issue isn’t whether or not a church is huge or tiny; rather, the issue is whether or not a church is effective.

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Then, before you know it, some of them have grown into larger congregations.

If you are opposed to church development, you are also opposed to the core mission of the church, which is to reach out to people.

Do you put a stop to the expansion?

Alternatively, do you intentionally keep your churches smaller and proliferate (which, by the way, is now referred to as multisite)?

However, it goes far deeper than that. So, here are five complaints about huge churches that have finally been put to rest. If you are opposed to church expansion, you are also opposed to the fundamental mission of the church. To send a tweet, simply click here.

1. Megachurches a one-person show

A huge church is sometimes referred to be a “one-person show,” and I can’t tell you how many times that has been said to me. Why? Because when we think of a huge church, the majority of people automatically think of the founder or senior leader (although there are some large churches where this isn’t the case, but they’re exceptions rather than the rule). Most huge churches do not operate in the manner of a one-man or one-woman performance, as a rule. Around the point leader, there are actually teams of highly talented leaders that work together as a team.

  1. You simply must have dozens to hundreds of talented staff members as well as thousands of capable volunteers to be successful.
  2. As a result, a small or mid-sized church (say 400-600 people) is significantly more likely to have one or two people leading the congregation since the leader can do almost everything on his or her own.
  3. As a matter of fact, your church will never be able to stably expand beyond 1000 members if it is governed only by the pastor.
  4. Period.
  5. Period.

2. The people who attend megachurches are blind sheep

As a first step, if you believe that all individuals who attend major churches are blind sheep, why don’t you approach them and inquire as to whether this is the case? After all, it’s a very scathing allegation to level against someone. If you go to the majority of megachurches, you will not find any blind sheep. You will come across leaders. Most of the time, you’ll find qualified leaders—independent men and women who understand the degree of purpose, forethought, and mission that many of today’s larger churches are striving to achieve.

Why?

Great leaders draw other great leaders to themselves.

Capable leaders, on the other hand, stay away from badly run organizations and churches. Great leaders have a tendency to gravitate toward churches and organizations that are well-run by competent leaders. To send a tweet, simply click here.

3. Big churches don’t produce real disciples

This is the one piece of criticism that personally hurts me the most, mostly because it is just not accurate. And while I have not personally headed a megachurch, I am the founding pastor of a huge church (1500 members), and this critique has followed our ministry from the beginning. Begin with the fundamentals. What is the definition of a disciple? Someone who has made the decision to place their faith in Jesus as their Savior. The question is, how do you tell if they’re followingJesus or not?

  • “You’ll be able to identify them by their fruit,” he stated simply.
  • As the Apostle Paul pointed out, knowledge does not equate to spiritual development.
  • Arrogance, on the other hand, is not a sign of Christian maturity.
  • You’ll come across individuals who have placed their trust in Jesus and who are being transformed by the love of God (and you’ll come across this in small and mid-sized churches, as well as large churches).
  • Consider the implications of that for a moment.
  • Spiritual growth does not imply knowledge.
  • Arrogance, on the other hand, is not a sign of Christian maturity.

4. People don’t like attending large churches

Because it sounds similar to what Yogi Berra said about a famous New York restaurant: “Nobody goes there anymore,” this is a fascinating argument to twist. “It’s far too crowded here.” While it may be true that there is a societal shift toward smaller congregations, the reality is that people continue to go to megachurches in large numbers. Study after study has shown that megachurches are becoming larger and that the number of them is increasing every year. Furthermore, according to a more recent study, churches with more than 250 attendees are more likely to be expanding and to be seeing more individuals become Christians.

Launching new, smaller campuses, worship venues, and home groups are examples of methods that many megachurches are incorporating into their operations.

This is one of the reasons why they continue to expand in size.

5. Megachurches are unbiblical

Megachurches are frequently criticized for this reason. Lighting, organization, and “CEO” type leadership are all things that people dislike. I’m just not certain that the reasoning holds up. First and foremost, critics of megachurches seldom engage in what might be described as ‘Biblical’ forms of worship. No, they’re not repeating old canticles, gathering daily in one other’s houses, and dramatically combining their resources to care for the needy and assist other young churches in fueling the quickly increasing Jesus-movement, which is my best estimate (like we see in Acts).

Naturally, the fact is that the church has always evolved, adapted, and responded to the changing times in which it has found itself.

It is today considered traditional, esoteric, or even archaic.

The approaches alter throughout time.

In fact, if you want to put the mission in jeopardy, don’t ever modify your approach.

Airbnb has altered the hotel sector in the same way that Nest and Ring have altered home security and Lyft and Uber have altered taxi service.

The same may be said about the church.

If this is the case, they will eventually fade away. In the meanwhile, however, if they continue to lead individuals into a deepening relationship with Jesus, why should they be prevented from doing so?

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