Wednesday, September 29, 2010

There's no point in having mega churches

Chaplain Mike just wrote an excellent post about why he doesn't see the need for big/mega churches.

I fully agree with what he's said. But, to be fair, mega churches aren't exactly a new thing that's only occurred in today's modern society. In fact, you could probably say that the first mega church appeared almost 2000 years ago! And it didn't take months or years for the church to expand - All it took was one sermon. Overnight, the size of the early Jerusalem church exploded by 25 fold, from 120 disciples to about 3000 members!

Listen to these passages in Acts 2:

So a little bit of Christian trivia, for those who might be interested - What happened to the early Christian church, and how did it become such a split of churches and denominations as we know it today?

Well, the early Jerusalem church quickly grew in size to 5000+ members over the weeks after the Pentecost, and administration became more and more difficult. To make things easier, the church itself was 'split' into groups. These groups, however, lived as one church with one faith, one baptism, common dogmas and very closed rituals throughout the whole world for about five centuries. It was only later in 451 AD that a true split occurred, in terms of teaching and practices.

You can read more here and here.

So, do we really need mega churches? I would compare the Jerusalem church to the Catholic church today, where people are given more individual attention, but basically follow the same set of teachings. Like Chaplain Mike, I too do not see the need of having huge congregations worship together, like a multinational corporation. It becomes too commercialized for me.

I grew up in a very small church. Because it was small, it was very personal and very close knit. Everyone knew everyone, and could support each other in a very personal manner. I'm not saying that this can't happen in 'small groups' in mega churches, but is there a need? Or is it pure publicity and commercialization at work?

Perhaps the only other 'advantage' to having a mega church would be the fact where there'd be a huge pool of talents to harvest and put to use. There'd be no shortage for musicians or sound crew, no shortage of people to take charge of bible study groups. But then it also becomes a pseudo corporate ladder for the people to climb.

Having served in the worship team previously, I'd like to pose this question to my readers: Which do you think is better - A worship team that sounds great and is professional, or a worship team that's not really that good, but with team members who are sincere and committed to Christ?

We humans like to complicate things, don't we? As our thinking becomes more individualistic, so does our faith - We start to live by our own rules, and to interpret things by our own thinking.


  1. Yo Hui Hui :DD i like the post! finally get to put down my thoughts on it. there was a big article dedicated to the rise of mega churches in Singapore in the Straits Times recently, about 2 months back i think :D

    the underlying assumption here seems to be that big equals insincere, or superficial relationships towards one another and towards Christ. is that really true? being from gmc myself, I can understand and identify with you on the benefits of coming from a smaller church, where the size allows everybody to know one another. And I think there's always a problem as organisations in general grow bigger: it's harder to coordinate and control the organisation to move in the same direction, as it is with businesses.

    That aside, I'm not sure if a person who has grown up in a mega church would agree with all that we say. He might have the same emotional bond to his church (or at least, the people who make it up) as we do. Can we really say that the majority of the members don't feel closely knitted to the church?

    I don't think its all that bad. As you've said, mega-big or mega-small, we are all the same body of Christ, and have a mandate to shine the light of Christ to the rest of the world. With a mega-church, we can have access to greater resources to do so, not just from having a better sound system, but like having financial backing for missions outreach, etc. The collaboration of small churches together to achieve the same aim might not have the same economies of scale that a mega church has from its resources. With its influence and reach, mega churches are actually in the position to bless others greatly. Of course, that assumes the fact that the believers are truly walking in the light of Christ, otherwise all the money in the world won't help us.

    (typing this in my level 3 mno module class cuz its getting boring)

    can't wait to see you again!



  2. Hi Josh! Nice comments :P

    I agree with your statement that big doesn't mean insincerity, but I just feel that coordination and administration is much tougher, and you aren't as able to care for each individual in the same depth, from a macro perspective.

    I actually don't agree with resources for financial backing though. My birth church was really small, but the percentage amount which they dedicated to missions was huge, something that you don't see as much in a megachurch because a lot of these resources get poured into the flashy stuff. (Liken it to paying money for commercial advertising to go to a megachurch - something that a small church doesn't do.) Sometimes, I think the amount my very small birth church dedicates to missions (while scrimping on other comforts like a great sound system) exceeds that of medium sized churches.

    Pay attention in class! :P Who's your lecturer? David Lehman?


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