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Modern Mega Church Movement An Examination. Modern Mega Church 2 The Community Church (mega church operation)  has been developing over the past couple.

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Presentation on theme: "Modern Mega Church Movement An Examination. Modern Mega Church 2 The Community Church (mega church operation)  has been developing over the past couple."— Presentation transcript:

1 Modern Mega Church Movement An Examination

2 Modern Mega Church 2 The Community Church (mega church operation)  has been developing over the past couple of decades  have sprung up in almost every area of the country  growth is exceedingly fast  attracts local and national media

3 Modern Mega Church 3 Questions About the Mega Church Operation  what led to the emergence of the mega church operation?  what tactics are used to propel the movement?  is it a sound movement?  what effect on churches of Christ

4 Modern Mega Church 4 Founder  Donald McGavran born in India 1897 –after completing college in US he returned to India in 1923 –disturbed at slow growth –studied 145 missions over 17 yrs. –published his research in “The Bridges of God” (1955) church needs to embrace what actually produces discipleschurch needs to embrace what actually produces disciples effective evangelism will produce numerical resultseffective evangelism will produce numerical results

5 Modern Mega Church 5 Some of Today’s Foremost Leaders of the Church Growth Movement  Bill Hybels, Willow Creek Community Church  Rick Warren of Saddleback Community Church

6 Modern Mega Church 6 Some Good Components of the C.G.M.  press for prayer –1 Thess. 5:17  high premium on leadership  pursues involvement of all church members –Eph. 4:16 –members teaching group studies –Christianity is not for “pew potatoes”; not a spectator’s sport

7 Modern Mega Church 7 Some Good Components of the C.G.M.  worship services need to be critically excellent –conveys that we are serious –however, CGM stresses on giving people what they “want” rather than what they “need” –what does a visitor think when they visit?

8 Modern Mega Church 8 Some Good Components of the C.G.M.  integrating new converts into the work and life of the church –members should have close relationships –Acts 2:44-47

9 Modern Mega Church 9 Some Good Components of the C.G.M.  keep up the physical surroundings of the building –classrooms –landscape –professional look –would your home or business be okay if it was in the same shape as the house of prayer (Hag. 1:3-11)?

10 Modern Mega Church 10 Some Good Components of the C.G.M. should make us reevaluate what we are doing and why or why not?

11 11 The Dangers of the Church Growth Movement Satan’s Sweet Subtleties

12 Modern Mega Church 12 Dangers  letting the world set the agenda for the church –giving the world what they want  giving special attention to selected scripture that deals with growth and ignoring or placing the rest on a lower par

13 Modern Mega Church 13 Dangers  tremendous emphasis on what the audience THINKS as relevant, “the audience, not the message is sovereign” (George Barna, Marketing The Church) –“In fact, it is possible to be so relevant that one becomes irrelevant because you are merely telling people what they already know, and not what they need to hear” (Kirk Wellum, An Evaluation of the Church Growth Movement)

14 Modern Mega Church 14 “The CGM wants to see the worship service used as a critical evangelistic tool because it believes evangelism should be the great priority of the church. But what it does not understand is that by allowing the unchurched to commandeer the worship service, they are smothering the holy fire that drives all true evangelistic efforts” (Kirk Wellum)

15 Modern Mega Church 15 Dangers  whatever works is right –success is not always measured in numbers (i.e., Noah, 1 Pet. 3:20; 2 Pet. 2:5) –“growth for growth’s sake is cancer” –a technique may work, but that doesn’t mean it is right

16 Modern Mega Church 16 Dangers  be a “user-friendly” church –the gospel has bad news for those who will not conform (2 Cor. 2:14-17) –regardless of how the word rubs people, it is what they need to hear –too many “transformers” are in pulpits today rather than “translators” –was the early church “user-friendly” (Acts 5:1-11)? “So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things” (v. 11)“So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things” (v. 11)

17 Modern Mega Church 17 Dangers  overemphasis on “perking” attendance and catering to the unbeliever who enters the assembly –we ought to be concerned with the unbeliever who enters (1 Cor. 14:23-25) –but not to compromise the message –the early church did not “perk” attendance by having drama acts with light and laser shows and staging wrestling matches and ball games

18 Modern Mega Church 18 Why the Emergence of Community Churches?  a rejection of the “establishment” traditional church services –traditional or whatever the current establishment is –“At Last! A new church for those who’ve given up on traditional church services” (Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Church)

19 Modern Mega Church 19 Anti-traditional  Rick Warren’s tradition is to be against traditional worship –traditions of men that conflict with God’s word must be rejected (Matt. 15:3) –traditions in culture that that do not conflict with God’s word should be recognized & regarded (Acts 24:16; 1 Cor. 9:19-23; 10:32, 33; Rom. 13:7) –traditions of the apostles must be reverenced

20 Modern Mega Church 20 Apostolic Tradition “But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us” (2 Thess. 3:6) If having congregational singing, preaching, prayer along with partaking of the Lord’s Supper and giving on the first day of the week makes me a traditionalist, then so be it! The only alternative is being a “disorderist”

21 Modern Mega Church Why the Emergence of Community Churches  downward spiral of denominational churches “The growth comes as overall church attendance has slipped nearly 20 percent in the past 10 years, according to Barna research, a polling firm that focuses on religious issues. Barna says 40 percent of the nation goes to church on a typical Sunday, down from 49 percent in 1991” (God on a Grand Scale, Mega-Churches Grow Bigger and Bigger, Oliver Libaw,

22 Modern Mega Church 22 Denominational Downward Spiral  as denominations decline in membership, they begin to compromise to sustain numbers  extending fellowship to homosexuals; condoning abortion; etc. has turned off many  mega churches usually have a higher moral message than mainstream denominationalism in key areas membership & morality

23 Modern Mega Church 23 Tactics of the Community Church  a strong dynamic leader –parallels the beginning of mainstream denominational churches

24 Modern Mega Church 24 Dynamic Personalities of Denominational Churches  Martin Luther  John Calvin  John Wesley  Joseph Smith  William Miller  Lutheran 1530  Presbyterian 1535  Methodist 1729  Mormon 1830  Adventist 1831

25 Modern Mega Church 25 Tactics of the Community Church  adopt a neutral name –name that suggests no denominational tie Saddleback Community Church (Mission Viejo, CA)Saddleback Community Church (Mission Viejo, CA) Willow Creek Community Church (Chicago, IL)Willow Creek Community Church (Chicago, IL)

26 Modern Mega Church 26 Tactics of the Community Church  adopt a neutral name –a little research will reveal their denominational roots when build new facility do a name changewhen build new facility do a name change i.e. “Little Flock Baptist Church” to “Little Flock Ministry Center” (Shepherdsville, KY)i.e. “Little Flock Baptist Church” to “Little Flock Ministry Center” (Shepherdsville, KY) appeals to more people in communityappeals to more people in community

27 Modern Mega Church 27 Tactics of the Community Church  “Attraction Evangelism” –grew out of denominational concept of chicken dinners, ball teams, etc. –attractions in Mega Churches are much grander

28 Modern Mega Church 28 Mega Church Mega Attractions “large outreach events...contemporary Christian concerts, creative presentations that utilize drama, multimedia, and the’s breakfasts, women’s luncheons, leader’s dinners” (Bill Hybels, Becoming A Contagious Christian, pp. 207, 208)

29 Modern Mega Church 29 Mega Church Mega Attractions “Mega-churches also often have a virtually complete social environment, featuring sports and recreation facilities such as basketball courts, pools, or roller-skating rinks. Some have movie theaters and retirement homes built into their complexes” (God on a Grand Scale, Mega-Churches Grow Bigger and Bigger, Oliver Libaw,

30 Modern Mega Church 30 Mega Church Mega Attractions “The list of activities can sound like the offerings at a Club Med or a small liberal arts college: poetry workshops, creative writing, singles groups, job fairs, vocational training, musical lessons, and even auto repair clinics. ” (God on a Grand Scale, Mega-Churches Grow Bigger and Bigger, Oliver Libaw,

31 Modern Mega Church 31 Mega Church Mega Attractions  “For reverend James Meeks who is planning to convert 23 acres of vacant land at 115th & the Bishop Ford expressway, into a $40-million dollar complex...for 10-thousand parishioners to worship in on Wednesday and Sunday. And for all of the surrounding community to enjoy the rest of the week, with plays, concerts, lectures, and sports activities. Made possible by removing the convertible seats. There will be three regulation basketball courts with the main court being in the center, and we would build a 500-seat hockey arena that will also have an indoor track....” (Andy Shaw,

32 Modern Mega Church 32 Positively No Authority From God’s Word  use of passages like Luke 14:15- 24 to justify church sponsored feasts –ignores the spiritual connotation –if literal food in Luke 14, why not a literal dress code in Matthew 22:1- 14)?

33 Modern Mega Church 33 Romans 14:17 “For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” If eating and drinking is not a part of the kingdom of God, how can the kingdom use such as a “seeker-sensitive service” (Bill Hybels) to attract unbelievers? How can it be used as “Attraction Evangelism” (Rick Warren)?

34 Modern Mega Church 34 The Cross—God’s Attraction for Evangelism “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself. This He said, signifying by what death He would die” (Jn. 12:32, 33)

35 Modern Mega Church 35 Preaching—God’s Mode For Attracting Sinners  attracts those who are being saved (1 Cor. 1:18)  the cross can be made of no effect when we place emphasis on something else  wisdom of words (1 Cor. 1:17)  “human wisdom” (1 Cor. 2:4)  “wisdom of this age” (1 Cor. 2:6)  “man’s wisdom” (1 Cor. 2:13)

36 Modern Mega Church Where Will The Frolic End? Metroplex Fellowship Church of the Nazarene, Oklahoma City “Then they rose early on the next day, offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings, and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play” (Ex. 32:6)

37 Modern Mega Church Where Will The Frolic End? Metroplex Fellowship Church of the Nazarene, Oklahoma City “And when he came near the tents he saw the image of the ox, and the people dancing; and in his wrath Moses let the stones go from his hands... And Moses saw that the people were out of control, for Aaron had let them loose to their shame before their haters (Ex. 32:19, 25; BBE)

38 Modern Mega Church Where Will The Frolic End? Metroplex Fellowship Church of the Nazarene, Oklahoma City “In like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation...which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works” (1 Tim. 2:9, 10)

39 Modern Mega Church 39 Tactics of the Community Church  non-threatening services “To draw people, they use an inviting, informal approach, with well-produced dramatic shows, sermons relevant to their congregants' lives, and catchy jazz and pop music. When it was founded in the early 1970s, Willow Creek set out explicitly to research what people did and didn't like about going to church, and tailored their services accordingly. The low-pressure atmosphere of Mariners Church helped convince Lorraine Hanson to join, she says. "In some ways you can maintain a sense of anonymity if you want to," she says. "It's very non-threatening." (Libaw,

40 Modern Mega Church 40 “Non-threatening”  non-threatening services “Don’t hit them over the head with everything they’re doing wrong. A lot of their sins will be dealt with after they come to Christ” (Rick Warren, Purpose Driven Church, p. 216) –Isn’t the purpose for coming to Christ to deal with sin? –“Repentance” was at the core of first-century preachers (Luke 13:3; 24:47; Acts 2:38)

41 Modern Mega Church 41 “Non-threatening”  Would Rick Warren approve of: –Stephen’s preaching (Acts 7:51, 52) –Peter’s preaching (Acts 2:23; 8:20-23) –Jesus’ preaching (Lk. 4:18-30) did Jesus fail to teach His audience “anger management”?did Jesus fail to teach His audience “anger management”?

42 Modern Mega Church 42 “Non-threatening” “impact” more important than “information”  “storytelling” over “instruction” –“Stories stir our emotions. They impact us in ways that precepts and propositions never do. If you want to change lives, you must craft your message for impact, not information” (Rick Warren) –“I believe it is a sin to bore people with the Bible” (Rick Warren) –criticizes preachers who say, “We are not here to entertain.”

43 Modern Mega Church 43 There is a Place For IMPACT!  Eze 6:11 ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: "Pound your fists and stamp your feet, and say, ‘Alas, for all the evil abominations of the house of Israel! For they shall fall by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence. IMPACT WITH INFORMATION!

44 Modern Mega Church 44 I Wonder... –“...Paul...continued his message until midnight...And in a window sat a certain young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep. He was overcome by sleep; and as Paul continued speaking, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead” (Acts 20:7, 9)  who would Rick Warren think was at fault?  Did Paul use too much “info” and not enough impact?  whose preaching saved more souls?

45 Modern Mega Church 45 Real example of “IMPACT” Void of “INFORMATION” We don't care about religion! your attention. What we do care about is relationships - your relationship with God and others, including family, friends and work colleagues. Jesus said that's what being a Christian is all about - God first, others second. Keep that simple principle in mind, and you can cover all Ten Commandments. Arlington, TX

46 Modern Mega Church An “Impact” of NONSENSE! We believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God - if it's not in there, then we don't place much weight on it. We try and make everything we do conform to the Bible. Arlington, TX BUT ON THE SAME PAGE... We believe that all that's needed to get a pre- paid ticket to heaven and have the power of God in you is to pray a prayer similar to the following and really mean it: WHERE DOES THE BIBLE TEACH IT?

47 Modern Mega Church 47 An “Impact” DEVOID OF THE NT! We believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God - if it's not in there, then we don't place much weight on it. We try and make everything we do conform to the Bible. Arlington, TX We invite you to visit us at our 31-acre facility! There's something for the whole family, at one location. 60,000 sq. ft. facility - Athletic Fields - Tennis Court - Gymnasium - Swimming Pool - Fishing Pond

48 48 What Effect On Churches of Christ

49 Modern Mega Church 49 An Actual Church of Christ Web Page "Moonlight Masquerade" Teen Prom, 2003 We are excited to announce the first annual Teen Prom! This year's theme is "Moonlight Masquerade". Each person/couple is responsible for designing their own mask. The evening should be a night to remember! We will have a full, sit-down dinner, pictures, dancing, the whole works! Time: 6:30p-11:00p Place: Hyatt Islandia, Mission Bay Date: Saturday, February 15th Cost: $35/person (dinner included!) - pay at the door

50 PRETEEN CAMP, 2003!! is a sneak preview of Preteen Camp, 2003... Our theme for Preteen Camp has been entitled "No Rules"...that's right..."No Rules"...can you believe it! We will be learning alot [sic] about how our relationship with God is not about rules and regulations, but about loving Jesus from our hearts and how much He really loves us. We will learn about "Who Really Rules in Our Lives" and how "God's Rules" lead us to make wise choices that will make our lives happy!! Ya know what else...we will be having our Bible Bowl right at Preteen Camp! It will be called The Proverbs Bowl, 2003! Get ready because we will be passing out quiet times just for you on the Book of Proverbs real soon.... San Diego Church of Christ

51 ...We will be having our 'Formal Dinner', tons of Mud Wrestling, our Princess Party and so much more! This year our camp will be at Idllywild Pines...and ya know what...they have a HUGE POOL! We may even be able to do some Horse Back Riding on the camp grounds as well. Get ready for some Mountain Climbing! Let's also begin praying about the great spiritual messages and discipleship groups that will be happening throughout each day at awesome! Keep checking this website for more camp information. Your awesome Preteen Leaders will also have all the info that you need. Would you like to send your son or daughter to a church that boasts on “NO RULES”? DANGER!

52 2 TIMOTHY 3:1ff “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: for men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters...unholy...without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God

53 Modern Mega Church 53 Effects on Conservative Churches?  VBS geared toward “fun” instead of “Bible instruction”  food is served  plays worked on and acted out for audience  basket ball goals popping up in church parking lots

54 Modern Mega Church 54 Other Signs:  advertisements advertising secular events (camping, games, etc.) with spiritual  churches changing names to be more ambiguous  tolerant attitude toward those in error; intolerant toward those who expose error

55 Modern Mega Church 55 Other Signs:  changes in preaching –non controversial messages –emphasize positive –do not identify names of false teachers –emphasis on personal stories –no application of scripture  change services to accommodate sporting events

56 Modern Mega Church 56 The Mega Church  is appealing  is growing  is influential  IS DANGEROUS –only give lip service to truth –emphasis is on the natural man –emphasis is on entertainment –has no regard for the authority of the Scriptures

57 Modern Mega Church 57 Isaiah 8:20 “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” God’s word is our guide God’s word shows who is of light and who is darkness

58 Modern Mega Church 58 A Religion like Jeroboam (1 Kin. 12:25-33)  Jeroboam sold his religion by appealing to “convenience” rather than the law of Moses (v. 28)  CGM appeals to programs, entertainment, catchy phrases, etc. to sell their religion rather than the N.T.

59 Modern Mega Church 59 SIMILARITY TO Jeremiah 5:30, 31 “An astonishing and horrible thing has been committed in the land; the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule by their own power; and My people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end?”

60 Modern Mega Church 60 Simply Put... “They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error” (1 Jn. 4:5, 6)

61 Modern Mega Church 61 True Growth  doesn’t come from some larger church feeding off of smaller and dying churches  comes when God’s people are at work in the field –“I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase” (1 Cor. 3:6)

62 Modern Mega Church 62 Zechariah 4:6 “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts.” We better never forget it! “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts.”

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