I live in the "Land of the Mega-churches" -- Atlanta has a nice big share of them. I've often wondered if it is a result of the explosive population growth in the North Georgia Area. Sometimes Mega-churches are just lumped together in a one really big box, but the truth is each seems to have it's own flavor. The ones in my personal experience really are ALL different. The each have their own emphasis, their own ways of doing things and their own maximum size. I have found that for the large majority of them, money is not a huge issue (I think we all have the stereotype of the Mega-church begging for money.) I also have found that there are groups within the Mega-church who have very high expectations and a very developed sense of spirituality. I have worked at a baby Mega-church and have found it to be more like a cooperative collection of small groups; each of which I would call "church."
There are others reflecting about this today:
But on a personal note, I will say this -- if it was a convention about small churches, I'd feel the urge to defend the larger church model -- that said; the press makes me want to defend smaller churches. A LOT of good comes from smaller churches. I have an urge to defend small church. It's a part of my personality to always defend the underdog.
It does makes me think of some questions:
- What exactly is church?
- Is the true apostolic model of a church a House Church?
- Should we spend our money on buildings and possessions as long as there are places we can use the money in mission?
- Is evangelism just getting more people in the pews? Getting more young people to go into the ministry?
Edited: I want to spend more time talking about effectiveness, integrity and intentionality than size. Mega-churches in Atlanta work; mega-churches outside of Atlanta may not work that well. There are so many different factors -- I think a better question to ask about a church is about it's health -- is it healthy? Some churches are going to be Mastiffs and Great Danes; some churches are going to be tea-cup poodles or 3 pound chihuahuas. Each size of church is going to have different health issues -- but isn't it all about the effectiveness and the wellness of the church that really matters?