Someone sent me a tweet recently I’ve been thinking about. He asked about mega-churches and if many of the people they attract simply come from other churches. I had to agree. Having been a part of a couple of them and observed many more up close, I believe the following to be generally true:
A. Mega-churches are cooler, hipper than other area churches, therefore are natural gathering points for already-converted people who are looking for “something more” – namely cooler program options, better worship, more services with fewer demands. In a way, they are to local churches what Wal-Mart is to mom and pop stores. Difficult to compete. I’m not convinced they do a better job all around at bringing the Kingdom of God to a community.
B. Mega-churches nearly always think they are doing a significant work of evangelism but typically they are weak in outreach or are simply approaching outreach as one of many programs versus making it a primary focus of the church. Look at the per capita baptism rates to get the real story. Statistics show that the ideal sized congregation for maximum evangelism to take place is a medium-sized congregation – between 250 and about 500. There is great motivation among members of that sized congregation to include newcomers than at an exceedingly large church. To boot, a church tends to be as evangelistic as her senior pastor. You can apply that truth to any sized congregation. Great upfront teachers aren’t necessarily passionate about bringing people into relationship with Jesus.
C. My bottom line after leading at a couple of mega-churches is this: I’d rather have 15 churches of 500 that are maximizing their potential for outreach than to have one church of 7,500 that is fun to lead, fun to be a part of, that strokes my ego, but that in the quiet moments scares me that one day God is going to ask me how I stewarded all of that potential. God give us wisdom to walk rightly with you.
Sorry to come across heavy with this, but every once in a while it needs to be preached.