Mega Church Temptations

mario

by Mario Vega

In the same way that there are certain advantages with mega-churches, we can not be totally honest without talking about the risks. The pastor of a mega church pastor could end up considering himself a powerful and a socially influential person. Such dangerous ideas could lead the pastor to distance himself from other believers and forget the servant position that every Pastor should have.

Another danger is the challenge of political parties. The pastor of a mega church can be pursued by politicians who will want to exploit his influence in order to gain support of the church members. The pastor also might be tempted to wield his church’s influence for political gain in order to gain political power.

The political influence that a mega church can have is almost inevitable. The gospel establishes the pastor to take a stand on slavery, injustice, war, corruption, death penalty, abortion, etc. A mega church that defines its position on these issues will be exerting a political action in society.

The size of the church doesn’t change the gospel message, but from a human point of view, the mega church does have a strong influence on society by its sheer size.

Comments?

Mario

Translation in Spanish

Tentaciones de las mega iglesias.

De la misma manera que existen ciertas ventajas con las megas iglesias no se puede ser totalmente honesto sin hablar de los riesgos. El Pastor de una mega iglesia puede llegar a considerarse poderoso y socialmente influyente. Tales ideas son peligrosas pues pueden conducir a un alejamiento de la posición de siervo que todo Pastor debe tener.

Otro peligro es el de los retos de la poltica partidaria. Un Pastor de una mega iglesia puede ser buscado por polticos para aprovecharse de la influencia que tiene sobre sus miembros y la sociedad. También puede ocurrir que el Pastor mismo se sienta tentado a aprovechar el caudal poltico que representa su iglesia y decida cambiar su ministerio por una posición de elección.

La influencia poltica que una mega iglesia puede ejercer es casi inevitable. El evangelio establece posturas ante temas como la esclavitud, la injusticia, la guerra, la corrupción, la pena de muerte, el aborto, etc. Una mega iglesia que define su posición sobre estos temas estará ejerciendo una acción poltica en la sociedad.

No hay duda que el tamaño de una iglesia no hace más o menos agudo el mensaje del evangelio en la sociedad; pero, desde el punto de vista humano, causará mayores preocupaciones si se trata de una mega iglesia. Sólo por razones polticas.

6 thoughts on “Mega Church Temptations

  • Great article Mario. Even on our (Western Branch Community Church, Chesapeake, VA) infinitely smaller scale I’ve seen a difference in the way politicians treat me since we edged into “mega-size.” For example, the mayor gave me his personal cell phone number and insists I call him by his first name. The Chief of Police attends our services from time-to-time and often calls to say hello. I was tapped last year to officiate at the funeral of a city police officer killed in the line of duty. The city newspaper calls for quotes on topics… etc. etc.

    My question to you in this forum is this. Is it appropriate to leverage this attention into influence around moral causes we care about? If so, what’s the line?

    I don’t believe the solution to man’s woes lies in the political arena… it lies in Christ. But I also remember a day (yes I’m old enough to remember) when the church was a primary influence in the community rather than be relegated to obscurity as it so often is these days.

    I don’t know if I’m articulating my conundrum very well.. but can any of you help me sort this out? I want to get it right…

    • Hey, Jim, I’d like to hear from Rob, Steve, and Mario. Having been in your church and seen what God is doing, I can see why the mayor and others are interested in you. It’s great that you are a friend to these people and that will go a long way. I think there’s a fine line between those in politics wanting to influence you for their means (popular vote) and your God-given role to prophetically influence them and be the salt of the earth. I will pray for discernment to know the difference. Keep up the great work, brother.

  • Hi Jim – praise God for the influence he’s given you! I have not had the mayor of Pittsburgh give me his cell number 🙂 so I haven’t been in your shoes. Though others may be led differently, I have always believed it best to minister to the person who holds the office, then let that person lead in their realm of influence.

  • I would have to disagree with this statement & say simply this.

    If transpenacy exists in the church through top to bottom with effective communications & if church constantly develop leadership systems, we do not have to fear that.

    In reality US Church does not follow the principles of Unity & gifts that were declared to us almost 2000 years ago. We have Liberal Churches who allow Homosexusuals to become pastors & promote Democarts. Conservative churches who make people live in fears & promote Republicans. Other Churches that sing Haliluia or preach Prosperity message only. Fortunately we have a lot of True Churches in this great country (of deseptions & misconceptions).

    I’d like to start from the definite influence of both extremes in the Church or lack of it on the poilitical process.

    Nixon: Watergate Scandal & extreme arragonce.

    Carter(former Pastor): Hostility towards Israel. Bad Economic times.

    Reagan(former Actor) Obesity in this country started to go up & never stopped since. Economic professor (who never been in the real economy) Alan Greenspan nominated as Fed Reserve Chairman & stayed there until 2006 or 07. Support of Osama Nin Ladin on one side & support of Israel on the other side. Very bad decisions on credit & financial markets that became foundation of artafitially inflated economy of sales that we are paying very high price today.

    Bush Sr. Did not end the war with Iraq.Endorsed Reagan Economic & Foreign Trade Policies.

    Clinton. Endorsed & extended Reagan economic & Foreign Trade policies. Did nothing about Terrorism.

    Bush Jr. was a son of his father. Proclaimed himself a Christian. Was He? Created 2 wars under the leadership of Cheney. Continued Reaganomics under the Leadership of Greenspan & others.

    Obama tries to fix it all, making number of mistakes on the economy & making real progress in world politics.

    What are we doing:

    Joining our traditional political parties & argue with each other having no real representation of our Faith in Washington. Is this A Christian country that Pilgrims were dreaming about?

    What our faith is all about. I can not say it better than my compatriot in Russia. He has to translate the text since I do not want to violate his copy rights. I translated the verses in the Bible.

    Утверждение того, что Святой Дух является Богом, можно проследить во многих библейских текстах, включая Деяния(Acts) 5:3-4. В этом отрывке Петр укоряет Ананию за обман Духа Святого и говорит ему: «Ты солгал не человекам, а Богу». Из этого становится понятно, что ложь Свя тому Духу – это ложь Богу. Святой Дух является Богом, так как Он обладает характеристиками Бога. Например, то, что Он – вездесущий, упоминается в книге Псалмов (Psalms 139:7-8) 138:7-8: «Куда пойду от Духа Твоего, и от лица Твоего куда убегу? Взойду ли на небо – Ты там; сойду ли в преисподнюю – и там Ты». Далее, в 1 Коринфянам 2:10(1st Corinthians 2:10) говорится о всезнании Святого Духа: «А нам Бог открыл это Духом Своим; ибо Дух B 2се проницает, и глубины Божии».

    Мы узнаем, что Святой Дух действительно является Личностью, поскольку Он владеет умом, чувствами и волей. Святой Дух думает и знает (1 Коринфянам 2:10), Он может быть оскорблен (Ефесянам 4:30;Ephesians 4:30), Он ходатайствует за нас (Римлянам 8:26-27;Romans 8:26-27), Он принимает решения по Своей воле (1 Коринфянам 12:7-11; 1st Corinthians 12:7-11). Святой Дух является Богом, третьей «Личностью» Троицы. И только являясь Бого=D 0, Святой Дух действительно может действовать как Утешитель и Наставник, которого Иисус обещал нам (Иоанн;John 14:16,26; 15:26).

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    Кто такой Святой Дух?

  • Your points are good but I don’t think they are the biggest disadvantages of the mega-church concept which I would suggest are:

    1) An increased disconnect between the pastor and each individual in the congregation, not due to poor pastoral commitment but due to the vast numbers involved.

    2) Decreased community within the congregation as even those who try to chat to those around them are likely to encounter different people each week, making the establishment of firm friendships that underpin and support faith more difficult.

    3) Environmental issues which revolve around the need for large numbers of people congregating at the mega church for each service. Instead of a smaller number of people going a shorter distance to a local church, they travel further to a place where they cause traffic problems and require huge dedicated parking lots.

  • In response to Vincent…

    All of your concerns with the mega-church are valid UNLESS it is a cell-based church. I’ll respond to each of your concerns:

    – Pastoral Care: I have struggled on a personal level with my inability to interact directly with every member. I finally asked myself one day, as long as the members are being ministered to effectively, why do I have to be the one providing the care? Our Zone Pastors and Cell Leaders don’t have teaching responsibilities I have. They are focused on providing pastoral care.

    – Community: Sunday services are not designed to produce intimate community. They are designed to create an environment in which attendees can experience God and be taught the Word. The cell is where community forms. In our church, every family is in a circle of seven families (max) with a leader caring assisting them in caring for each other. That’s far more intimate than most smaller churches, that don’t have cells, with which I’ve been associated.

    – Environmental: Our people do drive in from a wider circle than some. However, they only come to the campus once a week. The rest of the time they are ministering via their cell group that meets in their immeidiate locale. Those cells become islands of ministry in each neighborhood.

    I hope this helps you see the mega-cell-church in a slightly different light.

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