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First trip to a "mega-church"

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by 2Timothy4:1-5, Apr 10, 2005.

  1. 2Timothy4:1-5

    2Timothy4:1-5 New Member

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    Made my first trip to a mega-church last night (Saturday 4-9-05). Randy Travis was doing a mini concert (and sharing his testimony) at Willowcreek Community Church. Tickets were free, so I decided to go.

    I was, and still am, at a loss for words to describe what Willowcreek is like. The one thing I know is that it is unlike any church I've ever been in. In fact, if I didn't know I was in a "church," I never would have known at all. It reminded me more of a mini-mall.

    Let's see, it has a cafe; a restaurant; a bookstore; three (yes 3) auditoriums, the biggest of which looks more like a theater than a church auditorium; more restrooms than I've seen in a full size mall; two nice little mini waterfalls you can see while sitting in the main auditorium; the "pulpit area" (for lack of a better word) is bigger than the sanctuary of my home church; and a audio/video system rivaling anything a big concert hall has.

    Why? Why does anybody think that all of that is necessary to have church? Although I did enjoy the concert, I left feeling uneasy. I guess I was just overwhelmed by the size and scope of Willowcreek. Give me my nice and cozy church any day over a mega-church.

    Kenneth
     
  2. cindig2

    cindig2 New Member

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    Where is it located, and who is the pastor, is it a Baptist church?
     
  3. go2church

    go2church Active Member

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    Chicago area, Bill Hybels, no
     
  4. dh1948

    dh1948 Member

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    Kenneth, you asked, "Why does anybody think that all of that is necessary to have church?"

    I don't suppose it is necessary, but it sure makes it nice. What is wrong with a church having the very best it can afford in terms of technology and accomodations?

    Some people simply do not feel comfortable in a mega-church. That's okay. Some people don't feel comfortable in a "mini-church" (If there are mega-churches, I would guess that the opposite would be mini-churches?) That's okay, too.

    For me personally, I would choose a mega-church over a "mom-and-pop" church any day.
     
  5. Deacon

    Deacon Well-Known Member
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    I visited one in the Tampa area a year or so ago.

    I too was impressed by the size, numbers and technology. They have a dental and medical clinic, school, ball-parks, bookstore, ...it's a whole community within itself.

    Recently they added a new auditorium that dwarfs the previous one I saw.

    Sadly down the street from the city-church was a dilapidated mini-church in need of much repair. It was grey, the lights were off and the parking lot was full of holes.

    Compairing the two, the mega-church meets the needs of it's community of believers better and presents a better image to the public than the more common run-down church.

    God is the same and both worship congregations Him. [​IMG]

    Still if find that MY church is the best! ;)

    Rob
     
  6. blackbird

    blackbird Administrator
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    The thing about it, Deacon is this!!! And you stand back and watch and see if it don't happen!!!----in 50 years or less----those "Mega Churches" are gonna fall into the same catagory and evolve ---- di-gress --- for a lack of better words---into just a "more common run-down church"

    In his own admittance---Dr. Adrian Rogers will tell anyone that something is wrong----when the Mega church will have 3 services on Sunday morning and only 1 on Sunday night---and it be only half full then---by his own admittance---he calls them "Sunday Morning Bench Warmers!!"

    One of these days---the megas will be just like the mini's---they, too--will burn up with "intense heat"--as from Peter's Epistle!!!
     
  7. ScottEmerson

    ScottEmerson Active Member

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    In today's world, I find that it's just as important for families to spend Sunday evening together than to be at church for two hours. At our church, we have a Wednesday night service which serves as a "recharger." A good number of our most dedicated members do not attend on Sunday night so that they can spend time together as a family. I have no problem with that. They are most definitely not "Sunday Morning Bench Warmers."

    I attend a church with two services and around 1800 in attendance each week (although we're soon to hit the 2,000 average mark, it seems!) The good thing that we have, and that many mega-churches lack, is a clear way to make sure that our members are involved in a small group - whether a Sunday School class or a weekly small group. That's key to any church, especially bigger ones where it's easy to get lost in the mix.
     
  8. Mark Osgatharp

    Mark Osgatharp New Member

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    Deacon,

    You said,

    How do you reconcile this with Paul's words to Timothy:

    "If any man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve them, and let not the church be charged; that it may receive them that are widows indeed."

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  9. Deacon

    Deacon Well-Known Member
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    Please recognise I only attended for one Sunday so I'm no great apologist for the Mega-church.

    Yet even in my smaller-sized church we have people with needs that do not meet the qualifications of those found in Timothy. For this we have a "Deacons fund". A separate bank of funds that our congregation donates in addition to their regular offerings to assist the needy in our congregation.

    We also have a ministry to the needy that has been recognised by our community for reaching out to the disadvantaged. It is funded by donations from within the congregation and from outside the congregation, (local businesses that recognise its worth).

    I did ask about the medical facilities though. The church I visited accepts any available insurance, coupled needy persons ability to pay and volunteer (or low cost) services of their congregations dentists and physicans and nurses, to staff the facility...similar in form to the church of Jerusalem mentioned in Acts.

    Rob
     
  10. gb93433

    gb93433 Active Member

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    When I was pastoring in one of the churches we quit having Sunday night services to start some home Bible studies because the people were so busy during the week and that was the best time for them. It turned out to be a great decision.

    Having been in the building business for many years I know that many of those "impressive" buildings are cheaper per square foot than a number of smaller church buildings.

    A much larger church I went to years ago had doctors and dentists who took care of the missionaries and poor people. They also have a staff member whose responsibility is to be sure people who needed help received it.

    God has given those much larger churches gifts. Those gifted people are gifts of grace to the church. They would be unwise to not use them.

    I really don't care how big the church is that I attend. What I do care is that it is doing God's work. I have attended churches as big as 6,000 and as small as about 20. Everyone of them were growing because of one reason--evangelism.
     
  11. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry <b>Moderator</b>

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    Just curious, Scott, what do you think these families are doing the other six nights of the week? And what are they doing on Sunday afternoon.

    I am not saying one has to have a Sunday night service, though I do think there are good reasons for them. I am saying we should avoid these kinds of excuses for not attending one. The best thing a dad can do for his family is have them in church.
     
  12. dh1948

    dh1948 Member

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    Other than tradition, I am still wondering why not having Sunday night worship is such an issue with people. Does the Bible specify that we must meet on Sunday morning AND Sunday night? Did the early churches meet twice on Sundays?

    If the practice is simply based on a "we have always done it that way" mentality, we are free to change it...IMHO.

    If our spirituality is dependent on how many hours we attend church on Sunday, why don't we just stay in church all day? Is more better??
     
  13. Bro. James

    Bro. James Active Member

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    Why one attends an assembly:

    To worship God in Spirit and Truth or to be seen of men--probably cannot be both.

    To be sure, the motive is more important than the amount.

    Selah,

    Bro. James
     
  14. av1611jim

    av1611jim New Member

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    I have already vented in another thread about mega-churches. (Started by myself)

    I won't go into it here except to ask,
    With all that money in "amenities" being used up in a mega-church, how much is actually going to missions here or abroad? I do not hesitate to say that I think you could finds hundreds of homeless and poor in the very community the mega-church is in. With such an imposing structure as what these mega-churches have, just exactly what IS their image to the community in light of the homeless and poor?
    The RCC of the middle ages built large imposing structures supposing to do service to God, yet the masses were starving, both for their daily needs and for the gospel.
    Maybe not the best comparison, but I at least do see a parallel.

    In HIS service;
    Jim
     
  15. Ed Edwards

    Ed Edwards <img src=/Ed.gif>

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    I've already told folks your statement
    is not correct.
    An 'amenity' in a mini-church that
    costs $100 a member may only cost 10cents
    per member in a mega-church.
    There may be more money spent on missions
    in the mega-church ABSOLUTE and per capita.
    Check the financial reports before dissing
    the church. Thank you.

    In fact, you will find mini-churches spend
    in excess of 70% of their income on
    personnel costs. Some mega-churches
    spend uner 30% of their income on personnel
    costs.

    A mega-church in the area i live in,
    the pastor agreed to pastor for $1000 a month
    or 12% of the take - whichever was most.
    He now gets over a million dollars a year.
    He started out making $12,000 a year.
    (which is now below the poverty level).
     
  16. El_Guero

    El_Guero New Member

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    Jim,

    I agree, but can I add: The one factor of megachurches that is overlooked is the cost savings.

    Often, megachurches can build and attract worshippers where the cost to build a smaller church would sink that smaller congregation.

    Unfortunately, the cost savings are seldom utilized for furthering the Gospel. And there are usually a smaller percentage of clergy (staff) to members than I think would be appropriate.
     
  17. El_Guero

    El_Guero New Member

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    Ed,

    No matter how I cut it, over a million a year for a pastor is excessively wasteful*. But, what a way to get RICH.


    *The taxes the church has to pay because he was not willing to be more frugal are EXCESSIVE. You are looking at over a quarter of a million in taxes.
     
  18. av1611jim

    av1611jim New Member

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    OK.
    It probably costs less to build a mega-church per square foot. I'll give in on that one. :D

    But I won't give in on the "extras". :D

    How is a restaurant furthering the gospel?

    "I'll have a chesseburger with a side of Galations please." (sorry for the sarcasm)

    In HIS service;
    Jim
     
  19. Journeyman1

    Journeyman1 New Member

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    Isn't the real question whether the church reaches the lost and disciples the saved? If they reach people in this regard, who cares if their facility is state of the art or not?


    jman
     
  20. preachinjesus

    preachinjesus Well-Known Member

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    This is good stuff right here. Thanks for asking this important questions.

    I currently serve on pastoral staff at a "mega" church. Its a blessing just as when I was serving at a "micro" church. There are indeed plusses and minusses in both settings. One of the things that really helped reinforce my coming to be on staff here was the "growth mindset" of the staff members. They are intentional about growing their congregation not only numerically but, more importantly, spiritually. They have consistent program of evangelism and assimilation into the church. People are getting saved, plugged in, and ministering in the Kingdom work going on here.

    Many micro-Churches that I ran into over my time have a maintainance mindset, they simply are trying to maintain their membership and continue to be comfortable in their walks. I'm not saying this is for all of these churches, that is simply not true, but I've noticed this mindset in many places.

    Another great opportunity in a larger church is the ability to send people out in droves onto the international mission fields, to positively affect your communities for Christ, to be able to have a world focus and the resources to allocate to do this. We don't have unlimited resources and, as a staff, are mindful that we must be good stewards of that which has been entrusted to us by our good stewards.

    Just a couple of thoughts for now...
     
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