Several weeks ago I received an email from the pastor of a mega church. I had only met him briefly at a conference, but have tons of respect for him. In his email he voiced concerns that my blog was leaning toward the negative when it came to talking about mega churches or mega church pastors. The email was very kind and thought out…not malicious at all. My first reaction was shock…shock that I was on this guy’s radar and shock that he felt like I had a problem with mega churches. Nothing could be further from the truth. However, I know that perception is reality and if this guy thought there was negativity…then there were others that read my blog that probably sensed negativity also. For the past two weeks, I have been praying about this issue and reading back over my blog to discover how this “mega church misunderstanding” occured.
Let me state for the record….I have no problem with mega churches and mega church pastors. During my comedy days and through my work with Prison Fellowship I have had the privilege of meeting a bunch of mega church pastors over the years. The majority were kind, humble and just trying their best to keep up with what God was doing through their church. I always enjoyed the stories about the “early days” of their churches and was inspired by their faithfulness to God over the years. It was through those “chance” meetings that my heart to plant a church began to take shape.
In carefully reviewing my blog postings for this year I can see where mega church pastors would be offended by some of the stuff I write. Please understand…that is not my intention at all. I do not desire to tear down one church style in favor of another. My goal is simply to put forth ideas of what churches need to be in order to reach the disconnected of tomorrow…the young 20-somethings. Many times those ideas fly in the face of what modern churches….mega churches…are doing today. It is not my desire to say that mega churches are wrong…they are not. I am just trying to convey a new way of doing things if churches want to remain relevant tomorrow.
Studies are beginning to show that the two main things that attract a young disconnected person to church is authenticity and community. Most of today’s top churches are attractional only, multi site and video venue driven. There is nothing wrong with any of that….it is working well for the Kingdom of God. The only trouble is….many young 20-somethings…tomorrow’s disconnected…are running like scalded dogs from that style of church. It is hard to convey authenticity from a video screen and diffcult to create community when there are 5,000 people in a room. However, to ignore the positive influence and innovation of mega churches would be pretty ignorant in taking our next steps to church planting creativity.
At this moment mega churches are our greatest source for knowledge because they are like an “experimental church lab”. They are branching out…trying new things….spending money innovating…pushing the edge of the technological envelope….and being honest through blogs and books about their results. For new church planters or soon-to-be church planters watching today’s mega churches is beter than reading any book or attending any seminar. What they are doing today may not necessarily work tomorrow….but it will be a catalyst…a starting point…for what will work in the future.
As a pastor and a fellow brother in the Lord, I do not feel any ill will toward mega church pastors or mega churches. I apologize if it has ever been assumed…or misundertood…that I do. We are all in this thing together and there is much we can learn from each other. It is only the foolish that limit themselves to one idea…one style…and one set of influencers. Reaching the disconnected for Christ is only going to get more difficult in the days to come! Multiple styles to reach multiple demographics by multiple churches is the only way we are going to see the Great Commission fulfilled in America.
For those of you that regularly read this blog, please understand…when it comes to a church’s style or missiology…there is no right way or no wrong way…there is only the next way.