Ed Stetzer talked with about 60 staff members from three megachurches.
What do you think of when you hear the word megachurch? Maybe polished productions, big personalities, an expansive building, stellar programs (lots and lots of programs) and crowded parking lots with orange-vested attendants, come to mind. Maybe a great worship service that leaves you laughing, crying or both. Or perhaps a creative children’s ministry–kind of a Jesus-meets-Chuck E. Cheese type of place.
To most people, the word mega suggests bigness and power, not necessarily missional ministry and sacrifice. (It combines nicely with well-known words like megalomaniac, megaphone and mega-millions. Words like mega-service, mega-sacrifice, and mega-witness, well … not so much.) Although mega is not exactly a word we think of when subjects like Jesus, the Bible or the early Church are discussed, it definitely grabs our attention.
But what’s next for megas besides the infamous big productions and headline-making numbers? People have been criticizing the practices and predicting the demise of megachurches for more than a decade now, and some of their criticisms are valid. Many megachurches are not living with a Kingdom focus–unless that kingdom has the megachurch pastor as the sovereign. At times megachurches have been shallow, ego-driven and less than engaged in their community.
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