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Posted: 1/5/2006 12:01:58 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/5/2006 12:08:31 PM EDT by Wdsman]
Scagnettie asked in another thread:

If you don't mind I would like to ask you a question that has bugged me to no end about modern day American Christians. I am asking you since you seem to be willing to talk in a reasonable tone about your faith and I think you are honestly trying to avoid hasseling people with your outreach program. Do you feel that these giant churches that are being built right now are proper? Seems to me that the more Christian thing to do with the money it takes to buy the land and build the buildings and pay for their up keep would be to help those less fotunate than others in that area. Help the sick in the congregation and the surround areas. That seems more Christian to me. I would think Jesus would want people doing that rather than building giant churches in his name. What do you think? Sorry to deviate from your topic but like I said you seem to realy want to talk about things in a nice manner.

This is a question that is on more people's minds every day.

Some churches are drawing flack from other Christians' and the secular media. SeeJoel Osteen

Here's my opinion and a rather wishy-washy one it is.

Pro:

1. Remember to some degree economy of scale applies to churches. While the money for the land and building for a church of 1,000 may seem excessive it might actually be less than what it takes to buy the separate parcels of land, separate buildings and separate utilities for 12 churches of 80 or so.

2. Large churches allow members in the congregation to specialize in areas that they are particularly talented (gifted in Christian speak). This allows a congregation to minister in more areas and in more ways than a smaller church. For example, my church at only 120 people can't have divorce recovery, AA meetings and grief counseling, etc. We have to focus on one or maybe two needs. We are also much more limited in what we can do in the area of benevolance. Churches of 1,000 can have trained lay ministers caring for all kinds of people in all kinds of circumstances.

3. The reality is there is a shortage of trained preachers in the country today. Having one preacher for 1,000 or 10,000 people makes some sense in that environment.

4. Another benefit to larger churches is the anonymity a first-time visitor can enjoy. A skeptic or church-shopper can attend several services and evaluate whether the church is for them or not before they make any commitment or are even noticed. Some smaller churches by their very nature put every visitor on the spot.

CON

1. Just because larger can be more efficient doesn't mean it is. Also, if the larger church is saving money where is that money going? I know some churches that are funneling it into outreach ministries aimed at helping their communities. I also know some that are funneling it into the minister's pocket.

2. Again, just because larger allows for more (and presumably better) ministries doesn't mean that it produces them. Some churches take an opportunity to help others and turn it into an opportunity to help themselves. "Ministries" get started around people's pet hobbies that do little to help the community or the church.

3. Some Christians believe the whole church-building thing is wrong-headed. The largest church in the world in Seoul, Korea (over 1,000,000 members) meets primarily in homes. When the whole congregation does get together they rent a stadium and still have to have multiple services. From their perspective, we ought to sell ALL the buildings not just the big ones and go back to meeting in homes.

Edited because I accidently hit submit before I meant to.

Bottom line, I believe churches are like people. Some big ones are trying to do the right thing and some are just the class bully. Some small ones are trying to do the right thing and some are just like a bratty little sister.

Also, I try to be very cautious critiquing how someone else spends their money (though if I'm a member of the church I speak up). They might turn around and say, "All that money you spend on firearms could feed a poor family for weeks!" Remember one of the first to say, "Hey, this money could've been spent on the poor!" was Judas (John 12:5) and that's not company I want to be in.
Link Posted: 1/5/2006 1:08:29 PM EDT
Wasn't Jesus against the establishment of all the religious brouhaha like huge temples and church power heirarchies?
Link Posted: 1/5/2006 1:14:25 PM EDT

The only thing I have to say about Joel Olsteen's big church is that the leadership is either his relative or family friend.

What I do like is small independent churches and lots of them. The city I live in has several independent baptist churches. They have different styles of worship and some are KJV only and some are not. What I appreciate about this is that these different churches have come to the same conclusions on doctrine and scripture free from any influence of any denomination or group think.

Shok
Link Posted: 1/5/2006 3:46:38 PM EDT
Most big catholic churches are big because they have been there a LONG time.

We also build schools, hospitals, parks and so much more.

So the money gets spread pretty evenly.

As far as some of these "newer type" churches I think it is to attract attention to themselves.
Link Posted: 1/5/2006 3:47:19 PM EDT

Originally Posted By dolanp:
Wasn't Jesus against the establishment of all the religious brouhaha like huge temples and church power heirarchies?



No
Link Posted: 1/5/2006 3:54:06 PM EDT
I attend a mega-church and it is alive with the spirit of God. My church is heavily involved in the community both with normal outreach (i.e. food pantries, upward basketball, etc...), and church planting. We are also very into missions, both home based (Navajo, inner city areas missions, etc...) and foriegn (including a new clinic we helped establish in Baghdad). A large church brings a very diverse group that allows the church to be more broad based.

I don't think that Jesus would frown on a large church vs. any other type as long as The Word is preached faithfully. God has blessed our church and will continue to as long as we follow and trust in Him.
Link Posted: 1/5/2006 4:39:54 PM EDT
What is "church planting"?
Link Posted: 1/5/2006 4:51:49 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/5/2006 4:52:54 PM EDT by cnow]
Today's churches are just putting people in the ground(proverbs 7:9-27). Find the connection between the place where the Beast ascends from and a double minded man. Figure out the time of the establishment of God's kingdom. Find out where you get a trumpet from. Think about why John, when he was on the isle of Patmos for the revelation of Jesus, why he had to turn around to see the voice speaking to him. Why was the voice behind him?
Link Posted: 1/5/2006 4:53:11 PM EDT

Originally Posted By DarkHalf:
What is "church planting"?



We get people from all over attending our church. When there is a sufficient need/desire in an area that might be outside a reasonable radius (say 40 miles, just as an example), our church helps to start a church in that area with all the support needed. Kind of a mini-missions if you will.
Link Posted: 1/5/2006 5:51:24 PM EDT

Originally Posted By ToddB:

Originally Posted By DarkHalf:
What is "church planting"?



We get people from all over attending our church. When there is a sufficient need/desire in an area that might be outside a reasonable radius (say 40 miles, just as an example), our church helps to start a church in that area with all the support needed. Kind of a mini-missions if you will.



Oh. I thought all churches did that.

no?
Link Posted: 1/5/2006 6:55:40 PM EDT

Originally Posted By DarkHalf:

Originally Posted By dolanp:
Wasn't Jesus against the establishment of all the religious brouhaha like huge temples and church power heirarchies?



No



I think many churchgoers today have become like the Pharisees, being hypocritical in their actions and more concerned with ceremony and rituals than the spirit of the teachings. Jesus made company with sinners.
Link Posted: 1/5/2006 7:46:31 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/5/2006 7:47:48 PM EDT by Big_Louie]
My outlook on the matter is the following.

A church is a gathering of Christians, not a building. What they do with the resources at hand is what matters. I've visited a fractured, dissenting, and lost congregation that was meeting in an abandoned movie theater and I've visited a very large one that was meeting in a huge stone cathedral, yet the priest knew every name and there was a strong sense of community. Likewise, I've visited a large congregation that had no guidance and have found that some of the most cohesive congregations are those in small towns.

I've noticed what I think is a trend. The stronger the cohesiveness and shared purpose of the congregation, the more programs they will participate in. This has nothing to do with building size. I wouldn't say that building larger churches is wrong. There are advantages and disadvantages to both aspects, as you pointed out, and a large building doesn't mean that the resources devoted to other projects will be lessened just like a small building doesn't mean that the resources devoted to other projects will be increased. A larger building certainly provides more facilities, if they are going to be used. Of course, I come from the Roman and Anglican Catholic tradition, where larger buildings and congregations are the norm, so I have some built in bias in my experiences.

I guess my point is that the congregation should make this decision, for the right reasons, and choose what will work for them. If they make the decision for the wrong reasons, it doesn't really matter.
Link Posted: 1/5/2006 11:15:42 PM EDT

Originally Posted By dolanp:

Originally Posted By DarkHalf:

Originally Posted By dolanp:
Wasn't Jesus against the establishment of all the religious brouhaha like huge temples and church power heirarchies?



No



I think many churchgoers today have become like the Pharisees, being hypocritical in their actions and more concerned with ceremony and rituals than the spirit of the teachings. Jesus made company with sinners.



True, Jesus did keep company with sinners. He also kept company with the 12 apostles he had called, and established his church through them. He commanded them to go into all the world and convert as many as would listen and obey. They of necessity had an organization - all things in wisdom and order.

As Jehovah, before his birth as Jesus, he instructed Moses to build a tabernacle. This was done to provide a sacred location for ordinances and artifacts. Later on Solomon was instructed to build a temple, which at the time was one of the most impressive buildings in existence. No doubt it was done with the finest of materials and workmanship.

Many churchgoers have become as the Pharisees, but going to church is a bit like fertilizer or gasoline - some is better than none. Better that they go to church and strive to improve themselves to some degree than that they stay home and distance themselves from others and the Lord.

As I said, some is better than none.

-grommet
Link Posted: 1/6/2006 2:38:20 AM EDT
Popular theology, like popular culture, is a dubious guide.
Link Posted: 1/6/2006 7:52:27 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/6/2006 7:52:58 AM EDT by WildBoar]
I used to go to a huge church. They did lots of good things for the community. The reason I left was because they have such a high turnover you end up hearing the same exact sermons that are designed to entertain more than teach.

Seeker sensitive churches are all about the ego boost of an altar call, They flood em in, the members goad friends into going, they push them into making an altar call and the church puffs itself up as having saved a soul. Many tmes the person doing the call just did it to shut up family or to make a friend feel better. Many times they have had an emotional outburst but since the church teached the sugar coated theology, no one gets the meat they need and many fall away thinking they can live as the unsaved and get away with it.

Some times the mega church ends up being a localized small scale version or the popery that many Protestant denominations long ago sought to escape.

If I were to attend a "mega church" in history I would like to go back to 1886 at the Metropolitan Tabernacle and hear Charles Spurgeon preach. Up to 20k people flocked to hear him preach and there was no sugar coating in his preaching also no AC, No PA system, no power, just his booming voice and driven by the Holy Spirit convicting the elect unto repentance.
www.spurgeon.org/mainpage.htm
Link Posted: 1/6/2006 9:31:54 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/6/2006 9:33:55 PM EDT by Tonster]
I think most mega churches got "Mega" due mostly in part to the "feel good" message they preach.
Read/Teach/Preach the Bible word by word line by line (and not out of context) and see how many people get their feathers ruffled and bail.
I find it interesting to watch some of the mega church preachers spout a sermon for an hour and mention not one verse from the Bible.

WILDBOAR you sir hit the nail on the head!!!
Link Posted: 1/6/2006 10:07:48 PM EDT
Alot of these chruch's are more business than religion. The owners live in some big old mansions. I'm not sure that's what Jesus had in mind when he said to cloth the naked until you don't have a shirt on your own back.

www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,2763,1677557,00.html?gusrc=rss
Link Posted: 1/7/2006 12:49:16 PM EDT
Link Posted: 1/9/2006 5:08:45 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/9/2006 6:13:31 AM EDT by John_Wayne777]
A big church is not a bad thing and a small church is not a good thing, though some seem to think so in modern Christian circles.

The questions asked about any church should be:

What do they stand for?
Do they teach sound doctrine?
Do they have a heart to reach the unsaved?
Do they preach the truth without wavering?

If the answer to the above is all yes, then it is a good church if it has 10 members or 10,000. If the answer to the above is no, then it is a bad church no matter how many members they have.


Or to put it as I did in a thread a while ago:

"I would remind people that the 1st century churches were "mega" churches by our standards. There were 5,000 people saved in Jerusalem alone in ONE day. The kingdom spread rapidly and the burdens of the churches got to be so much that the Apostles had to set up comittees and create the office of deacons, etc...

"Mega" churches , in my rather considerable experience in the ministry, can be the sites of powerful moves of God where the word is preached in its full glory. But there are usually great problems that pop up in those churches with immorality, lying, gossip, division, etc...

The size of a church has nothing to do with its spiritual condition. Some small churches have more of God than churches 40 times their size. Some large churches I have been to have 40 times more of God in them than some of the smaller churches I have been in.

Larger churches tend to have more problems simply because of their size. The bigger your wheat-field, the more tares you will see. Churches like John Haggee's Cornerstone have done well thanks to a pastor who is uncompromising and the cell approach which organizes the whole congregation in levels of authority that can shed light on problem areas pretty quickly.

I will say that it is MUCH more difficult for my idea of "pastoring" to happen in a mega-church. It requires a full-time staff and music leaders and so forth. All sorts of divisions and sin can come from these areas if the pastor is not on his toes. If you have a spirit led pastor and a group of spirit led elders and deacons, it can be managed VERY effectively.

As to whether or not you should go to one, that is a no brainer. The actual fact is that you do not CHOOSE where you go to church. God has a place and assignment for every member of the Body of Christ. If he places you in a Mega-church, then go and fufill your calling there.

But God cares just as much for the smaller churches, so fufill your calling in one of those churches if he places you there."
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 5:10:48 PM EDT
I have not personally been to Lakewood Church
the one in the old Summit, so I cannot say
about the spirit one way or anaother.
I have watched it on TV for close to 20 years
or so it seems, I liked John (his father) a bit more
than I like Joel, his Dad was the real deal and you
got fed by hearing him, Nice for when you have to
work on sunday
I think a well staffed Mega church can be as good
as a well run small church but you need true Elders
and and true Bible based Messages.
BTW I want to feel good as much as the next guy
but I need the teaching and brotherhood that will keep
me out of Hell.
Link Posted: 1/16/2006 5:18:26 PM EDT

Originally Posted By 1GUNRUNNER:
What I have learned by about church.



Apparently you didn't learn grammar...


Link Posted: 1/16/2006 5:32:03 PM EDT

Originally Posted By rick458:
I have not personally been to Lakewood Church
the one in the old Summit, so I cannot say
about the spirit one way or anaother.
I have watched it on TV for close to 20 years
or so it seems, I liked John (his father) a bit more
than I like Joel, his Dad was the real deal and you
got fed by hearing him, Nice for when you have to
work on sunday
I think a well staffed Mega church can be as good
as a well run small church but you need true Elders
and and true Bible based Messages.
BTW I want to feel good as much as the next guy
but I need the teaching and brotherhood that will keep
me out of Hell.



Too many "feel good" sermons there these days.
Link Posted: 1/17/2006 2:55:52 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Tonster:


Too many "feel good" sermons there these days.




Huge +1.

Many churches are too concerned with being "visitor sensitive" and avoiding offense.

How often do we hear a serious sermon on sin and repentance?
Link Posted: 1/17/2006 3:23:48 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Brohawk:

Originally Posted By Tonster:


Too many "feel good" sermons there these days.




Huge +1.

Many churches are too concerned with being "visitor sensitive" and avoiding offense.

How often do we hear a serious sermon on sin and repentance?



You should visit Cornerstone church. I believe there are 18,000 members not to mention visitors (I think they have 4 services on Sunday alone...) and Hagee never demures about anything.
Link Posted: 1/17/2006 5:06:32 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/17/2006 5:12:20 PM EDT by Tonster]

Originally Posted By Brohawk:

Originally Posted By Tonster:


Too many "feel good" sermons there these days.




Huge +1.

Many churches are too concerned with being "visitor sensitive" and avoiding offense.

How often do we hear a serious sermon on sin and repentance?




True,
I heard Joel O once say they if you experienced suffering you were living outside of God's will....
I wonder what Job, Paul, Stephen, and J.C. thought about that one

Not to mention his favorite saying"The Bible says"....
Maybe a pet peeve of mine but if your gonna quote the Bible please give the address and please use the verse in the context it was meant to be used.....
Then again that would mean actually opening up the Bible and maybe wanting more than milk.
Link Posted: 1/17/2006 6:23:04 PM EDT
I think his Dad was Special He didnt leave out the Brimstone
Link Posted: 1/17/2006 7:30:26 PM EDT

Originally Posted By rick458:
I think his Dad was Special He didnt leave out the Brimstone



I liked his dad as well. I heard him on many occasions. I think he preached a good message..I think he learned alot from his early days as a Baptist pastor.
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