Food for thought - hope it doesn't hurt too much.

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by exscentric, Feb 24, 2006.

  1. exscentric

    exscentric
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    Ran across these two at Crosswalk this morning.

    "The Good and Bad of Religion-Lite

    "Wealthy megachurches, derided as "religion-lite" and "Disney-Jesus," are becoming the scourge not just of the secular world but also the traditional church, according to an article in the Sydney Morning Herald. The more popular and powerful churches become, the more they are disparaged as narcissistic and corporate. Defined as having more than 2000 attendees a week - as well as spectacular music performances and charismatic preachers - megachurches regularly provide fodder for critics, including the head of the World Council of Churches, Samuel Kobia, who this week warned that the megachurch movement was dangerously shallow. "It has no depth, in most cases, theologically speaking, and has no appeal for any commitment. That can be quite dangerous... because this may become a Christianity which I describe as 'two miles long and one inch deep.'" So why are megachurches attracting so many followers? First, they make people feel good. More than half of respondents to a 2005 study said their megachurch worship was: "filled with a sense of God's presence", "inspirational" and "joyful." There is energy to most of the services that is lacking from most traditional churches. And you won't hear much talk of hellfire or gloomy things. Instead, many megachurches preach the good life Jesus wants you to have here and now. The World Council of Churches is right to warn against mass-produced, corporate-like theology. But the success of megachurches is also a rebuke to flagging mainstream Christian groups who desperately need to modernize themselves."
    ---
    "Emerging Church Mixes Constructive Criticism with Errors, Prof Says

    "The emerging church movement has started a helpful conversation about the need for churches to be relevant to postmodern culture but commits fatal errors in the areas of evangelism and the authority of Scripture, says Chuck Lawless, dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Speaking at a breakout session of the sixth annual "Give Me an Answer" collegiate conference in early February, Lawless told students that the emerging church movement tends at times wrongly to deemphasize the necessity of a personal relationship with Christ. "I think the emerging church movement is helpful to us when they talk about transformed lives. They do not help us when they go so far as to suggest or hint at [salvation] happening apart from a personal relationship with Christ." Lawless emphasized that the movement is so new that it is difficult to define who it includes or what it believes. But he listed several general characteristics of the emerging church: a sense of discontent with the church as it is; a desire to engage culture as it is; a desire to be missional in North America; a focus on relationships and small groups; an emphasis on transformed lives on earth; a belief in worship as a gathering rather than a service; and an understanding of evangelism as a process more than a proclamation. Lawless concluded that there are several ways in which the emerging church movement errs, but reflecting on its thinking can teach all believers valuable lessons."
     
  2. MikeinGhana

    MikeinGhana
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    I guess even a blind squirrel can find a nut once in a while. Hard to believe I would find myself agreeing with anything the WCC has to say but they said it well.

    One thing to remember is that big is not bad. Bad is bad. The church at Jerusalem was a megachurch by these standards. They effectively worked through small group ministry. They were synergistic with their culture. They were missional to their Jerusalem (first).
     
  3. j_barner2000

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    I have to agree with Mike. I have been to some small churches which are "Gospel-lite," and some large ones which are solid. We were told that some folks would gather ear-ticklers instead of Bible teachers.
     
  4. Plain Old Bill

    Plain Old Bill
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    One thing, it is easy to hide out in a large church.You have a place to go and nobody knows if you are really doing anything.
     
  5. MikeinGhana

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    I would believe that it is almost impossible for everyone to exercise his or her spiritual gift in a mega church setting. I am not discounting the fact that a good many people in megachurches are involved with ministry in some form or another. But just think about it rationally. If the few Spirit filled disciples in Jerusalem turned the world upside down, what would it be like if the megachurches were filled with Spirit filled believers exercising their gifts the way the disiples did?
     
  6. exscentric

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    Personally, haven't seen too many small or medium sized churches that have everyone busy with their gifts. [​IMG]
     
  7. Joseph M. Smith

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    The county adjacent to the one in which I live is replete with two things -- megachurches and crime. Both have been growing by leaps and bounds in the last several years. That really does seem contradictory.

    But of course those of us in more modest churches do not have all that good a record of facilitating the turnaround of hardcore sinful lives, either. For years I have struggled with people whose concept of evangelism is that we invite other "nice folks" to come worship with us.

    Some megachurches do have a focus on redemptive ministry for persons who have been caught up in addiction, incarceration, etc., and that is all to the good. But somewhere it would seem that all of us, small, medium, or mega, are failing to capture the hearts of young people before they get into seriously destructive lifestyle choices.
     
  8. Bible-boy

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    Just think if all those un-utilized mega-church members got busy doing missions and evangelism according to the Great Commission! ;)
     
  9. MikeinGhana

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    I would caution all of us who are not a part of the mega church movement not to cast stones. We can disagree with the philosophy if we like. We need to be careful that we are doing what we criticize them for not doing the way we think they should be doing it!
     
  10. exscentric

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    That's true, just because they are wrong, we shouldn't climb on their backs [​IMG]

    I think it is good to look at Scripture and compare to what we see and avoid the wrong and migrate toward the right.

    A friend in one of them asked the pastor about teaching an apologetics class in the church, this due to the pastor's comment from the pulpit that he thought the church should have one. The pastor told him to talk to the associate pastor.

    He called to make an appointment to talk to the assoc. The secretary asked him to submit on paper, what the subject of the talk would be and what he wanted to talk about.

    He submitted the requested information but has not heard from the assoc. That was last October.

    My friend is wondering why he bothers [​IMG]
     
  11. Dr. Bob

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    I've been to some large churches that looked as Baptist as I am, but preached a 1-2-3-pray-after-me easy believism that is no more Bible salvation than the proverbial man in the moon.

    And been to some small churches that did the same.

    I've also been to some large churches that preached a solid Gospel message with genuine converts. And I'm pastoring a very small new church of that ilk today.

    Small does not mean "good". Big does not mean "better". Those are humanistic evaluations and not Scripture.

    Jesus' "church" was 11 and 1 unsaved. 10 days after His ascension it was 3000. Size is not the issue here, eh?
     

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