Building Mega Churches


by Mario Vega

There are several models of church planting that cell churches follow. In our case, we have opted to set up mega churches instead of many churches. In fact, when the cell work was adopted, we had about 22 churches in the capital city. As part of the adoption of the cell model the decision to close those churches was taken to centralize the effort into one mega church.

Since then, Elim has been focused on a few churches that have become quite numerous. In a country like El Salvador, we only have about 40 churches. This is a small number when compared to the Assemblies of God which has more than 1,100 churches in the country.

One reason we chose to become a mega cell church is to unify forces. By doing this, we have been able to achieve great goals such as television, various radio stations, land, buildings, etc. If the efforts were scattered in several churches, each one would have its own projects, and it would be very difficult to achieve something that would impact the country. For example, Elim owns a TV station which broadcasts 24 hours a day and covers the entire country.

A mega church also has considerable political impact within society. It allows the church to influence decision making, the enactment of laws, etc. The church can become a protagonist and a speaker before the State. Of course, this power can also be a temptation, but if the equanimity is maintained, the influence can be used to exercise an exemplary and ethical influence.

Some of our church plants have built the largest buildings in the interior of the country, and this allows them to develop a wide variety of projects to benefit their communities.

Obviously, we are not opposed in any way to the policy of aggressive church planting. I would not even dare to recommend our strategy for others to follow. However, our policy has its reasons, and that is what I have tried to explain here.



Translation into Spanish

Edificando mega iglesias.

Existen varios modelos de plantación de iglesias que siguen las iglesias celulares. En nuestro caso, hemos optado por establecer mega iglesias en lugar de muchas iglesias. De hecho, cuando se adoptó el trabajo celular, tenamos alrededor de 22 iglesias en la ciudad capital. Como parte de la adopción del modelo celular se tomó la decisión de cerrar esas iglesias para centralizar el esfuerzo en una sola mega iglesia.

Desde entonces, Elim ha estado enfocada en muy pocas iglesias pero que llegan a ser bastante numerosas. En un pas como El Salvador, solamente tenemos unas 40 iglesias. Si eso se compara, por ejemplo, con las Asambleas de Dios que tienen más de 1,100 iglesias en el pas, resulta ser una cantidad muy pequeña.

Las razones son varias. Una es que solamente unificando las fuerzas la iglesia ha podido alcanzar grandes metas como la televisión, las radios, los terrenos, los edificios. Si las fuerzas estuvieran dispersas en varias iglesias, cada una tendra sus propios proyectos y difcilmente podra alcanzarse algo que impactara el pas. Impactar como la televisión, por ejemplo, que transmite 24 horas diarias cubriendo todo el pas.

Una mega iglesia también desarrolla una influencia poltica considerable dentro de la sociedad. Eso permite que la iglesia tenga los elementos como para influir en la toma de decisiones, promulgación de leyes, etc. La iglesia se convierte en una protagonista e interlocutora frente al Estado. Eso supone la tentación de capitalizar la fuerza en un sentido partidario; pero, si se mantiene la ecuanimidad, la influencia puede usarse para ejercer una influencia ética y ejemplar.

Otras de nuestras iglesias han construido los edificios más grandes en el interior del pas y, eso, les permite desarrollar diversos proyectos de beneficio para sus comunidades. Obviamente, no nos oponemos en ninguna manera a que otras iglesias sigan una poltica de plantación agresiva de iglesias. Ni siquiera me atrevera a recomendar que se siguiera nuestra poltica. No obstante, esa poltica tiene sus razones y, eso, es lo que he tratado de exponer.

1 thought on “Building Mega Churches

  • This is very interesting, and I was wondering if you have studied churches like the Redeemed Christian Church of God in Africa and Igreja Universal do Reino de Deus in Brazil that have tons of churches that aren’t huge (but all large) but have what they call something like “single account” where all the offerings and tithes are administrated from one central church, therefore giving them the buying power of a HUGE church but the accessibility of the smaller local churches (not to mention the ability to handle all the people in a Sunday service).

    Another ministry that has started changing over to that type of model is Igreja da Paz in Brazil or see the mission organization affiliated with them They have had tons of success with this new model. Oh, and the Igreja da Paz is 100% cell based and has one-on-one discipleship for everyone in the church.

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