Friday, June 27, 2008

How many should you have?


In an era of super-sized whatever I have a question.

Should we have mega-churches or should we have churches that plant new churches and support them? How many people should you have? Can a pastor really pastor a church of 2000 people?

I am not saying that mega churches are bad but I wonder if the pragmatic view of church growth has influenced our view of how large our churches should be.

What do you think?

14 comments:

imspeakingtruth said...

Interesting question DT. I wrote an article earlier this year about the mega-church - and I also disected the argument that the mega-church is the most effective tool of ministry today.

As I said in the article - God is God and He determines where His Spirit will show up on any given ocassion. I just found that as a member of ministry in a mega-church, we sure had a lot of pride in what we were doing...

Aduladi' said...

Going to a mega church reminds me of going to a football game and expecting the quarterback to be able to throw a pass to me in the stands. More than likely that QB has no clue I am even there. Nor would the pastor.

Personally, I feel uncomfortable in a mega church. I want a church to preach biblical truth and be my family, not serve me gourmet coffee and covet that million dollar sound system they are planning to install. I agree with the first commenter. If we preach the Word, God will take care of the details.

Do I sound just a little jaded, LOL!?

Dead Theologians said...

Good article there SpeakingTruth.

The pride is a huge element. I used to be a lay-leader in a 12,000 member church and let me tell you...it was all about keeping the numbers up, calling churches that aren't growing dead, and copying the churches that were bigger. There was no shepherding. I know because I got to see how the "machine" really worked.

DT

Dead Theologians said...

aduladi,

Dead on.
It takes a whole lot to keep the "machine" going. Busier, busier and busier. You have to keep people busy. Often times these churches are more outreach focused and less teaching/discipling oriented. In the end this produces weak believers that have no idea what holiness is.

DT

Rick Frueh said...

The Mormons use their building in an efficient way. Our local Mormon tabernacle hs three different congregations. For 3 months one meets at 8:00, one at 11:00, and the other at 1:00 and they rotate every 3 months. All three use all the facilites for other meetings and events, and all three pay for upkeep.

The Mormons never borrow to build from the antichrist banks, and with a shared facility that becomes much more doable. With that templat the congragations can be much smaller and yet have good facilities.

Of course they do not pay their ministers I believe, but the evangelical community continues to overpay and over staff their churches. The only area where the average pastor spends less time than in the Word, is prayer.

imspeakingtruth said...

@ Rick Frueh,

You said:

"The Mormons never borrow to build from the antichrist banks"

Interestingly, the Mormons don't have to borrow from antichrist banks because the Cult of Joesph Smith (aka the Mormon "faith") is an antichrist religion - and they've got more than enough of their own antichrist money to cover their needs.

Sorry DT, but I had to make that small point...

Rick Frueh said...

"Interestingly, the Mormons don't have to borrow from antichrist banks because the Cult of Joesph Smith (aka the Mormon "faith") is an antichrist religion - and they've got more than enough of their own antichrist money to cover their needs."

I guess your point is that they are a cult about which no one here would disagree. My point was how unfaithul evangelicals are with their money and how frivilous they can be in their spending and borrowing.

Should not Christ's church exhibit more faithfulness than the antichrist church?

Dead Theologians said...

SpeakTruth,

That is ok. The Mormon belief system is putrid fake that misleads many.

Rick,
What do you think about the mega church mentality? How many should we have?

DT

Rick Frueh said...

"What do you think about the mega church mentality?"

I do not like it. Perhaps 500 should be a limit before planting another church.

Jamison said...

I've attended churches with anywhere from 900 to 40,000+ but never anything 'small.' I have to say that I much prefer the lower end of my experience range, for sure, though 2,000 doesn't scare or bother me. I think ministry can still be effective and numbers-focus can still be avoided at that size, at least in my experience.

Another question, however, that's been rattling around in my head the last few weeks: what will happen to many of our super-mega churches should gas prices continue to rise? I'm thinking of one particular church in my area that has a large lower-income membership who commute from all over the city to attend services and, presumably, mid-week activities.

I can forsee several bad results: 1)mid-week activity ceases and these houses of worship become Sunday-only buildings that lay vacant the rest of the week. Unfortunate, regardless of what you think of them. 2) The congregations shrink as parishoners are faced with too costly a commute to service, much less mid-week activities. Our church is much too far away from our home for convenient participation in mid-week activities but that wasn't something we considered heavily when visiting around.

In the context of this thread, shrinking mega-churches would be considered a good thing... but what of the churches faced with a sudden influx of new folks, perhaps of different denominational backgrounds, etc.? Is that necessarily a good thing? What do you all think? (sorry for the over-long comment!!)

Dead Theologians said...

jamison,

Thanks for your comment.

I'm not sure what gas prices will do to the mega church. I think as long as entertainment is the order of the day and as long as little Jr. tells Mommy and Daddy that is where he wants to go the mega church will continue moving.

The problem for the mega church is that they have to stay fresh. The services and events need to keep the same "pop" so they have to change to keep up. This is a problem in itself.

DT

JSU said...

We talk about the mega-church being a machine and staying fresh, I'd prefer to call it a business. Businesses need to be innovative, up to date, and competitive. I'm seeing this same mindset in the mega-church. They are always in search of the newest way to spice up, season, and sugar coat our 2,000+ year old Bible so that we can appeal to today's culture. On top of that, mega-churches are scared to death of decreasing in size (that sounds like a business).

Since when did God say that if we weren't growing in numbers, then we were doing something wrong. Like aduladi said, we are to preach the Word, He'll take of the details. I don't think Paul and Peter were keeping a roll of how many were in attendance every time. I'm also quite sure that if their attendance was down, they thought, "Man, we got a find to get the people in!" When did the church change from the ministry profession to the business management?

Dead Theologians said...

Good point JSU.

There are very few churches that are genuinely churches that want to honor God and not themselves.

I am not saying that churches have to be perfect to be a church. I just think that we get so caught up on the externals at the expense of the internals or shall we say eternals.

DT

stappage said...

Most of the time it is just "tickling to the ears" only. Hence the term "mega-church."

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