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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Can a Mega Church Be a Missional Church?

There are many people asking the question if a mega church can actually be a missional church. My friend Ed Stetzer just started a blog series on the subject.

In all the discussion people on every side have a tendency to take the issue personally. I understand this and want to weigh in as objectively as I can.

I have several friends who lead mega churches and I respect them and trust them. There are many in the micro church world that do not trust any leader in a large church, I am not one of them. There are abuses on both side of this aisle. There are very unhealthy mega churches and very unhealthy house churches. If I had to choose between being part of a dysfunctional mega church or a dysfunctional house church I would choose the mega church which would have more places to hide and perhaps be a little more entertaining while I wade into the mire. At the same time, a very unhealthy mega church affects, or should I say infects, more people so it may not be the best choice. I would prefer to not have to choose either. In the next few posts on this blog I will address this issue.

8 comments:

Dan Benson said...

quick off the lip answer to your question: Yes. But it doesn't make disciple-making disciples very well. Too many hurdles for new disciples to learn to follow Jesus. To consumer-driven.

Pal said...

Neil, it seems to me that it is not so much missional vs mega as it is bottoms up versus top down. It's about being truly empowered to reach your greatest potential vs the false sense of being truly empowered. It's about all moving about freely and spontaneously in the spirit vs control and domination by a few where the spirit is stifled and oppressed.

Neil Cole said...

True. As I will examine in coming posts, there are advantages to both sides but the issue of grassroots disciple-making and leadership are necessary and better found in micro. BUT there are a whole lot of micro churches that are just as unhealthy as some mega churches.

Ted Rondeau said...

If being "missional" means Mt 28 "making disciples" and truly facilitating Eph 4 "to equip His people for works of service, so that the Body of Christ may be built up"...then I don't see how size matters over obedience & discipline to just do it. Since we readily admit that both mega and micro churches register equally unhealthy (thus inferring that SOME micro and SOME mega are indeed healthy), it seems that size would not be the defining/discerning factor. Really be interested in the basic best practices that missional churches engage resulting in fulfillment of the Biblical calling for our time. Just thinking outloud...looking forward to the blogs...

spiritualsavant said...

I'm sure you'll cover this but having been on staff at a relatively large church, I can say that of necessity, the larger your church, the more overhead is required to stay in business. In short, mega churches pull resources (time, attention, money, etc.)inward to meet the bottom line. On the other hand, missional churches push resources out into the world in order to make disciples and spread the fame of Jesus. So we might say in magnetic terms that missional and mega are polar opposites.

Chris Jefferies said...

Although I am very much into small and organic forms of meeting together, I have also been part of a home group run by a New Frontiers church, 'Open Door'. We have very few mega-churches here in the UK, but this is similar on a less mega scale.

It has been a great experience, I've been made welcome and been asked to share my thoughts and experiences often. A couple of times I took them through some of the seven signs of John and they were excited to see how those could be used to reach open hearts and minds.

Open Door is not afraid to encourage their small groups to be active and Spirit-led.

I'm certain the Spirit wants me to continue with them for now. He is leading us together, he knows what he plans for us and it will be good.

Kathleen Ward said...

Neil, I believe there are strategies that even very large churches can use to empower God's people, and give them a voice and a value. As far as I know, no "maga-churches" are using them yet, but I'm aware of a number of medium sized churches which are experimenting with new approaches to learning and communication, with powerful results. I look forward to your new book and following blog posts to hear more from you.
Blessings,
Kathleen Ward

Stefan Korth said...

Strategies, organization, church, minister, argh. Ever since Christians became organized, growth of the body of Christ has dramatically slowed down. I would go as far as to claim that the reason why Christianity is not diminished and turned into a dead cow religion is due to the fact that there are always some Christians who refuse to become organized and instead just lead an authentic life that attracts sinners. Those Christians usually get kicked out of church pretty soon if they attend one at all.

If you equal community with friendship (and I know that it is not the same, but community is rather friendship than church), then organizing, leadership, planting must look much different than what we do now...