This is just a warning; your definition of a mega church will determine how you take this post.
Like always I was greatly moved by a beloved teachers post about the times we as the body of Christ are facing- however as I scrolled through the comments I saw where one individual stated “watch out for the mega churches” I didn’t think much about it but as that comment rolled through my mind, the Spirit started roaring in my soul.
If you would define mega church as too liberal, too contemporary or even going against biblical authority, I want to make a confession; I used to think the same thing. Honestly, they scared the daylights out of me. Biblical literacy is what makes my heart keep rhythm, I would get the sweats just thinking about it. After all, being Baptist to the bone, coming from a church of 200 strong (on Easter) I knew what the word said, that in the end times people would flock to false teachers, and I was sure that’s what was happening. That was a few years ago now. I’ve become more comfortable in what I believe and why I believe it. I know now that’s why I was so scared of “them”, I wasnt sure I really “knew” what I thought I “knew”. In hindsight, this “Mega Church” awakening made me evaluate by belief system. So I challenge you, if your perspective of these large contemporary churches is a negative one than I want you to consider this definition that the researchers of the Heartford have constructed:
The term megachurch generally refers to any Protestant Christian congregation with a sustained average weekly attendance of 2000 persons or more in its worship services, counting all adults and children at all its worship locations.
Likewise, there are significant numbers of megachurches throughout the world, especially in Korea, Brazil, and several African countries, although no exact count exists for this worldwide phenomenon. Visit Leadership Network’s non-USA megachurch list for more information on these. The largest megachurch in America averages 60,000 in attendance; however, many global churches are much larger including one church in Korea that claims over 250,000 attenders.
Although very large congregations have existed throughout Christian history, there has been a rapid proliferation of churches with massive attendance since the decade of the 1970’s. As such, some researchers suggest that this church form is a distinctive organizational response to cultural shifts and changes in societal patterns throughout the industrialized, urban and suburban areas of the world.
While size is the most immediately apparent characteristic of these congregations, the Protestant megachurches in the United States generally share many other traits. Virtually all these megachurches have a conservative theology, even those within mainline denominations. ( If this is true, there goes the ground for ANY opposition.) A large number are nondenominational but the majority are affiliated with a denomination.
According to these stats, the church in Acts would match up pretty close, after all it grew by 3000 in just one day at Pentacost. Yes, some dispersed to there home region but what they took with them rocked the known world.
“A worldwide phonemenon” is what the article calls the “megachurch”, that’s a remarkable statement. Isn’t that what the disciples were accused of doing? Turning the world upside down for Christ?
Think about this…if you lived in the time of The Acts would you embrace this rising church or oppose it??
What does it matter what your definition of a Megachurch is? Why do I even care that this woman maligned this part of the body of Christ? I guess I answered my own question in my question; they are the body of Christ. Yes, I totally understand and see in the latter days false teachers will arise. We have got to be grounded in scripture, times of seduction are at a all time high. Deception is at our doorsteps but let’s not get so fixated on that aspect of the end of days that we forget the glorious promise of Acts 2 referring to the prophecy of Joel…that the Spirit will poured out on all people’s. We absolutely need to be on guard for the enemy knows his time is short (Revelation 12) but let’s not get cynical. From what I have witnessed Cynicism can be a cover up for unbelief. Don’t let the threat of evil steal the joy from the promise of the Spirit. Discernment is key. Not opinion but discernment. Too many times, if we will be honest, we let opinion stomp out any discernment we have been given. God have mercy on us. If we really believe Gods word is powerful and that the gospel message is life changing, why are we shocked to see so many flock to the church?
The last time God came and fulfilled prophesy about His coming to earth, He received the same response I think we are seeing now. Rejection by some, acceptance by others. The Spirit is God, that’s a foundational truth that must not be thwarted. And just like the Father promised to send the Son, He also promised that at the end times He would pour forth His Spirit in a new way. Yes, the Spirit is here now, living in us. But a time is coming when He will be poured out on all flesh. I’ve taken some classes on end time events, heard countless preachers opinions, read several books and honestly at the end of the day none of us know if this is the end of times and how exactly they will play out, but we can all relax because we’re not suppose to know. But we are suppose to be prepared, scripture makes that clear.
I couldn’t help but get a bit riled up thinking about this. How exciting! What an honor if we are, if we are chosen to be apart of the outpouring!
Many of us good church people have probably considered what it would’ve been like to live during Jesus’s earthly ministry. Of course we would be one of Christs followers-no doubt. Yet, we would never abandon him like Peter, or take Him for granted like Philip, or be irreverent like James and John (Sarcasm intended) but what if the Spirit was poured out right now-today- before our eyes, doing the like wonders and marvels they saw in that time frame, how would we respond? Like the religious leaders or like the “commoners”?
The Sadducees were students of the word, they clung to the authority of Gods written word. (I’ve read where they would’ve been equivalent to a Scholar or Seminary professor today. Yet in the time we live in, with technology at its zinth a layman can have the knowledge of a seminary student. We have a entire seminary library at our fingertips.) Yet, the Sadducees missed Him. The very One they sought, they crucified. The very Word they hung their life on, they hung on a tree. How could this be?? Jesus told them plainly in Matthew 22:29 “But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God.”
The word for wrong is the Greek word plano and 24 other times in the KJV it is used for deceived. Their pride had deceived them. It had told them that they “knew” exactly how the messiah would act, what he would do and not do. They THOUGHT they had him figured out-but they were wrong. They searched the words of Moses yet missed the One he spoke of….because they thought they knew.
What scared me most about this passage is, it was the well read ones who missed Him. The pious. This shakes this girl, who was born and raised in the church, to my core. This is what I’m scared of: that tradition will rob us of revival. That pride will blind us to Gods work, that the staleness of our worship will suffocate the fire of the Spirit and we who should’ve known, will miss Him. Oh, how that thought slays me. For what if we miss the outpouring of His Spirit because He overshadows what we think we know- and with pious pride we will call the very coming of The Spirit-Hersey. The religious leaders marked Jesus as a blasphemer, the Word made flesh, they believed was a heretic. Tradgicly ironic.
Maybe we don’t know the scriptures like we think we do or maybe tradition has such a grasp on us it drowns out truth. ( like the Pharisees) I pray not. Oh, Lord help us.
I’m not claiming the end times are here, but I do believe we are closer then we were 100 years ago-we have to be. So, I want to be ready. I don’t want to miss it because I thought I knew what it would look like. I’m a simple woman, with simple thoughts. Nothing too profound happens between these ears. But it doesn’t take intellect to see that the Spirit is stirring. It only takes a moment, when we pull back from tradition and loosen the noose of pride, that we see something is being shaken awake. Heed the warning-don’t sleep through revival. Test your heart now, for sometimes the only way we know we are asleep is when we wake up and then it’s too late.
I know some won’t agree, that’s fine. My finger has hovered over the trash button all night. But this word has been bubbling deep within for weeks and today it erupted. My hearts motive is never for division in the body, never. Christ destroyed the barrier of division on the cross. However, my heart is bleeding with this plea to the entire body…don’t miss the new because your focused on the old. Please. I’m not saying the Spirit is only being poured out on the “megachurches”, that simply is not true. I just don’t want any of us to miss the New because we are holding onto the old. The leaders of Jesus time fixated on the old, the law, and missed the One who fulfilled the law. My heart aches at the thought of the body of Christ, the one He died to make one (Ephesians 2) tearing each other to pieces. I guess what I’m asking is that maybe us who tend to side with the traditional outlook should not be so hasty to label the contemporary and maybe the contemporary not so ready to scold the traditional. There is but ONE body and yet ONE Spirit that unites us all in the family of God. Don’t be scared to embrace different. Unity doesn’t mean sameness, it means oneness. Maybe if we all laid aside our pride, we could learn from each other. For what I have noticed is that we all got some right, but none of us got it all right. And if we think we do know it all-that friends is a Sadducee at its finest. Unity will be vital for the gospel in the end times. The enemies strategy can already be seen; divide and conquer.
Embrace this time, for YOU we’re appointed to this generation for such a time as this my friend. Embrace Jesus, not tradition or man taught beliefs, but Jesus…only Jesus and you will find yourself unified with the body.