There are mega churches all over America. There are some who accuse these churches of deliberately stealing parishioners from smaller churches and that it is the pastor's celebrity these people are drawn too. Do you think this is a fair blanket statement to make? Are small churches failures?
well....i don't really know about mega churches.....sounds like mega dollars being brought in with large numbers...kinda like walmart or other big box orgs and various ways in which they sway people away from the local shop
ma mere attends a small church...for years now and hasn't switched because she is quite happy with it and how it operates and besides her social network is there...
I don't think that mega churches can steal anyone. I think that some peple are drawn to larger crowds for various reasons.
The small ones have no choice but support the larger ones do they? It is just individuals choices and although I like a smaller church I don;t like it to be so small it is hard to keep it afloat and I do not like to see members out after members more for financial gain than soul concern so it isn't an easy question.
I believe the megachurches are a natural draw for certain people. Those new to the faith may be attracted by the large churches high visability. People who simply want a place to attend sevices without being particularly active or attached may be attracted to them as well.Sometimes it is a personality draw. Also, there lies the bandwagon effect. People might think 'if 10,000 attend that church they must be doing something right'. I think that at least some mega churchesgrew the old fashioned way: preaching and teaching the Gospel.
I was raised as a Catholic, I have memories of being bored while attending mass. I have attended a few mega church gatherings with friends who had their son baptized. While I am not eager to change religions I can understand the draw to a modern church. They are more relaxed, one can attend one of these churches and not hear the same sermons and readings over and over. They make more use of modern topics to relate to scripture. They are more interesting and alive during sermons rather than being dull and lethargic. I could drink a cup of coffee and not have to go through ritual standing and kneeling and singing of the same songs over and over again. I can even have my children in a day care or religious based class while I am attending mass without having to keep my children quiet and occupied during the mass as I have to in a Catholic church. Children sitting in a Catholic mass get very little from going to church until they understand what is going on which may not be until they are in their early teens. They also ask for collection money and sometimes discuss why a collection is being taken. The Catholic church sends me envelopes and an expectation to give to the church simply because they hand me a basket. It is an obligation to an entity that does nothing for most of its members. Pastors are much more lively and make people feel like they are getting something out of attending. Most Catholic masses are nothing more than a ritual and most of the time I do not get anything out of going to mass, in fact I usually only remember what my kids were doing at the Catholic mass. It has been almost five years since my visits to a Mega Church and I still remember what the pastor spoke about during his sermon. I cannot remember what the catholic pastor said this past Sunday during mass.
Oh my I was so sad to read this- no wonder people are deserting the church. Church should be a mixture- fun, friendliness and devotion. Kids are the church of the future without them it dies. We have a small church maybe 30 people and 8 kids- most of whom do not have parents in the church. We have a sunday club where they learn about christianity and do crafts - we can hear them enjoying themselves in the service. We dont have a church, we meet in a local bar (before it is open) and the service is varied and topical- a transcript is always available at the end of the service if you want to read what the vicar said! It does not have to be a big church, just a church which loves children!
Mega churches are the Walmarts of religion. They are a natural by product of the transition we have seen over the years from tight knit communities into a mental distancing of ourselves so we don't have to consider the needs of our neighbors. There is nothing personal about them, except for the personality of the charismatic preacher. You don't know the person sitting across the aisle and you don't want to.
They are the last gasp of a dying way of life. The least likable thing about the whole process of displayed faith. People were raised to believe they were Christian, believe they are supposed to attend church and feel obligated to do it; yet don't have the interest or the time to 'be Christian'. The Mega church allows them to check off a block and not evaluate the contradictions.
Not to mention the whole need to feel that Christianity unifies America. Somewhat along the lines of the need to have English defined as our national language. I think the mega church member probably subconsciously believes they are standing for the historic 'American way'. It's been drilled into our heads from childhood that God has blessed our nation. This naturally means financially blessed. This is the easiest and least time consuming way to remain a part of the club and keep the blessings coming.
To address the second part of your question - as a pastor of a small church I'm confident of God's call on my life. We may be small, but it's the church God has given us. I don't think size has anything to do with a church being a failure. Noah only had eight church members and they were all his family. I don't think that's failure at all.
Noah didn't have any church members. He was the patriarch of his family. By your assumption every father who claims to be a Christian is in charge of a church. What do they need you for?
I guess maybe my terminology was wrong. I was just likening Noah's 120 years of preaching to a church. I realize he didn't pastor a "church". The only ones that were saved out of that whole time was his family members, and so often I hear of preachers reaching out to others while their own families perish. As a Christian leader and as a Christian father, after God, my first responsibility is to my family. Thanks for clarifying my point, Emile R.
Exactly right, a man was to be head of his family and lead them righteously, and a pastor definitely had to have his family in order to be respected and able to lead. I think a christian family might be likened to a church, why not? The same rules apply.
A mega church would be the last place I would wish to be a part of. Though I've not been a member of one, I've been to plenty 'mega' services hosted by a charismatic leader. They are 90% showanship, ranting and raving for effect, with little meaty substance. They come with loud shouty rock n roll praise worship because they believe the devil is intimidated, and this 'devotion' scores brownie points with God. They love the quiet plinky plinky piano music designed to stir emotions at the 'heartfelt' 'deep and meaningful' altar calls. They think that the size of the church is evidence of God's blessing, that he has rubber stamped all that they do and all that they are. People love the showmanship, the emotion, the sensationalism, the belief that the Holy Spirit as come to town.
I think they are empty, shallow, devoid of meaning, pointless, and provide away for people to avoid the World.
Disappearinghead, I know the type of church you are talking about. There are plenty out there, but there are MANY mega-churches not like that at all. I think one has to be discerning no matter what size the church is. I've been to small country churches that were out and out out of control and doing just what you said.
Churches don't own people, there their people cannot be "stolen".
I believe it's the exact opposite. Smaller churches are being formed by believer's who are dissatisfied with the commericalized mega churches.
I think there might be some truth to that, but I think a lot of people find a large church overwhelming and feel kind of lost in such a large amount of people. Some people go to these large churches because it is so easy to get lost in and they don't have to get connected. I go to a small country church, and I've been to medium, and mega churches. I have enjoyed them all. If you go to a big church and you want to feel connected with people you need to take the time to get involved in small groups or serving in some capacity. I enjoy the smaller church best because of the intimacy of knowing everyone, a closer knit family, so to speak. But I've always loved the larger churches I've gone to too.
I believe most mega churches are dog and pony shows.
If I attend a church, I prefer smaller ones where you have more fellowship and the members are closer.
Unfortunately they don't have any here.
God bless you.
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