Keep watch over yourselves and over all the flock, of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God that he obtained with the blood of his own Son. (Acts 20:28)
One of the most difficult parts of becoming a minister was admitting all the things I didn’t know. Worse, that there are no easy answers in life or in faith. I began my ordained ministry at the end of denominational Christianity’s power and the beginning of megachurch dominance. Denominational Christianity showed its weaknesses over time and people were tired of its limitations. Sadly, far too many people jumped into the megachurch reality without realizing it had even more limitations.
The megachurch model requires enormous popularity to remain effective. In order to remain afloat, the megachurch often had to adopt a consumer model based on popular marketing strategies in order to sustain its popularity. There was no room for complexity or prophetic challenges because they have the potential to create the dreaded idea of controversy. Any form of disagreement could lead to lower numbers at worship, and that could threaten the mega, in megachurch.
While there remains a large number of megachurches dominating the Christian landscape, including in our own community, I believe their days, too, are numbered. Like denominationalism, the megachurch model has been around long enough to expose their shortcomings. The financial overhead, the impact of the irreplaceable celebrity pastor, and the changing culture that demands an evolving social ethic of justice is chipping away at the popularity of the megachurch. It is getting harder for any one church to be the spiritual one-size-fits-all!
Today, pray for the Christian Church. God has called us to live in community, but that community can take on many forms. Perhaps we will become house churches without any professional clergy, but that too will have its limitations and abuses. There is no perfect Church, because all human institutions are limited. Yet, we must continue to worship in community, in some fashion, because that is what God has called us to do. As long as we continue to faithfully respond, God’s Spirit will bless and guide our path. Keep reaching out in community, so we can honor God and make a positive difference in God’s holy name.