T.D. Jakes, Eddie Long, Creflo Dollar, Charles Blake, and many others are a part of a trend towards Mega Churches. Many African American preachers look toward these churches as models of where they wish to be. But is a Mega Church a good model of church health.
Week after week, you hear of churches closing their doors because the new mega church has opened a satellite in their neighborhood.
I don’t have a problem with mega-churches. I do have a problem with their approach. The problem is their lack of attention, publicly at least, to a biblical or doctrinal foundation in what they publish and what they preach…I have been disappointed with the neglect of central truths of the Christian faith, such as: who Jesus is, why Jesus came, why Jesus died, what salvation means, the problem of sin, and the importance of conversion.
These mega churches, often non-denominational, have reduced the resources available in many of the smaller more traditional black churches that are connected often to denominations. These mega churches have often set up their own “denominational-like” structures where they publish their own materials, have their own camp meetings, etc. Sometimes these mega churches have accountability even for their leaders.However, often leaders have no checks or balances to their leadership. They are accountable to no one. Such a situation can cause abuse and corruption. We see it in the likes of the financial irregularities of Bishop Eddie Long, Creflo Dollar and others. The community church is slowly evaporating, allowing mega churches to become super businesses.
World Changers Ministries, for instance, operates a music studio, publishing house, computer graphic design suite and owns its own record label. The Potter’s House also has a record label as well as a daily talk show, a prison satellite network that broadcasts in 260 prisons and a twice-a-week Webcast. New Birth Missionary Baptist Church has a chief operating officer and a special effects 3-D Web site that offers videos-on-demand. It publishes a magazine and holds Cashflow 101 Game Nights. And Lakewood Church, which recently leased the Compaq Center, former home of the NBA’s Houston Rockets, has a four-record deal and spends $12 million annually on television airtime.
Emergent church theorists have turned against the mega-church as a model for attracting people today, and traditionalists have always been leery of congregations so huge that the pastor and his people hardly know each other. Mega-churches are also under serious economic pressure, due to their vast facilities and big payrolls. Obviously, small local churches still exist. But do you think their time has passed? I’d be curious to hear what you think.
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