Megachurches and their ties with the homebound


#1

I was just thinking this today on my training ride. (cycling allows for some serious deep thought) I belong to a multigenerational old Catholic Parish. I live in small town midwest and when I go to church on sunday (attendance is around 250-300) I can glance around and see that my parish is made up of about 50% of parishoners who are 3rd and 4th Generation members. I can see entire multigenerational families spread throughout the congregation. we have a handful of great grand children in attendance at the same Mass as thier Great grandparents and grandparents. IT is so commonplace that oftentimes the families don’t sit together…since it is that way every week. The rest of us “newcomers” most become indoctrinated into one or two of these families. There are many parishoners who have been members of our parish for 80-90 years and are either homebound or in the Nursing home. Our connection with them is good and they are visited by many from our parish. They usually are picked up for parish events and then taken home by someone. My brother belongs to a Mega evangelical church in Dallas texas…I visited his church and didn’t see a single person over 65 years old. I asked him about their members who were homebound or living in a nursing home…he told me that they didn’t have any members like that. It just struck me as very very ODD. I sincerely think that is a serious missing piece in these mega fast food like churches.

Thanks thats all.


#2

A number of megachurches seem to target young adults and families with school-aged children, and are thus unlikely to have a large population of the types of people you mentioned in your post. Before I converted to Catholicism, I attended a relatively large church that was part of an independent Baptist tradition, and many of the folks had been there from the foundation of this church in the 1950’s. Therefore, we had a significant population of senior citizens, and we had a pastor dedicated to congregational care ministries. I remember one kind old lady who received rides to church from someone in the congregation, and she was there every Sunday from what I can remember.

Now, this church is moving in a more evangelical ‘seeker-sensitive’ direction, and the age of the congregation has shifted downward as a result. The traditional worship service - the one accompanied by the organ and a more traditional Protestant hymnal - was relegated to 8:30 am, while all later worship services became ‘contemporary,’ with modern praise-and-worship songs accompanied by a very loud band. Before the transition to a ‘seeker-sensitive’ focus, the traditional service was the one with the largest attendance, and it was well-balanced between older folks, young families and twenty-somethings. More and more, the older folks are seemingly getting shoved aside so they can minister to younger, more affluent populations. It is a sad reality, too, as most of my favorite people at the place were older, more traditional folks.


#3

Many of the megachurches are relatively new. As a result, they may not have any people in their congregation who are senior citizens yet. It would probably be interesting to see if the congregation ages or diversifies in another 20 years, or if the members leave as they get older.


#4

We have a very large Assemblies of God church in our city that would qualify as a megachurch. It’s been around for over 30 years, and was the first church I know to have a nursing home, school, etc.

There are lots of old people there.

I think we have to give it time. Young people get older. And one reason why there aren’t as many old people is that many young people move away from their extended families, and they’re in the megachurch all alone.

One of the men who went through our RCIA and was received into the Catholic Church last year was an “escapee” from the true non-denomination megachurch in our city. He said that eventually he realized that there was no depth to the teaching.

One minister of a small church in our city (these churches are particularly threated by megachurches) told me that the megachurches are a great place for people who have been “hurt by their church.” They can hide out for a year or two, then as they heal, they can find their way back to more established churches. I can see that.

I also think that the megachurches are a great attraction for the artists, musicians, and theater people in any city. The megachurch in our area hires stage managers, sound engineers, light engineers, professional singers and actors, etc. Many of these people would never step inside a “traditional” church (although many would!), so perhaps the megachurch is a way to “ease them into the Kingdom of God.”

I see megachurches as a stepping stone into more serious churches. Even the Assemblies of God church in our city loses a lot of people to the “teaching” evangelical churches.


#5

These points are very good. There is a mega church (although smaller than US ones) but alot of people there are from churches who someone has hurt them or the church has fallen out over the usual topic of music (which is a bone of contention between young and old) or politics of the church club.

They still want to worship God and recognise the gathering of believers as important so go to the Mega church. Now once inside they can come and go and not get involved or join smaller groups and get involved to their hearts content. Its like smaller churches that get together for worship on Sunday.

Also, resources are easier than for smaller churches, they only need 1 building, can share materials etc. There is some advantages.

Then like you said if they feel they have grown then they can move to a smaller church. Oh another reason for the younger familes is the kids. In small youth groups maybe 10 - 20 kids in the mega 50 Im not sure. So for a teen more chances to actually find friends and do activiites rather than sit and be the only 2 in grade 9.

And when you have 20 - 30’s same thing, better chance to not only socialize with those your age but to identify with those your age. My son and his wife finally left the mega church and went to a Baptist and found a number of young couples so were happy. Now they both are teaching Sunday School, maybe “practicing” for grandbabies :smiley:


#6

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.