Rise of the Megachurch


#1

There have been so many of these evangelical churches popping up in my area (Midwest). They seem to rely heavily on emotion. My question is what keeps people coming back to these week after week? They aren’t liturgical (so no real sense of different seasons and feasts to look forward too…the exception being Christmas and Easter typically). They seem to offer communion infrequently. I read an interesting article recently that suggested that there was a “dopamine fix” involved with these types of worship centers. Thoughts?


#2

Don’t forget - those people own Mega-houses too.
They own private airplanes. Cars. Jewelry and Art. Property.
Some claim it’s money from the books they wrote.

Me ? It’s way too crowded at a mega church.
Catholic churches are much more intimate.


#3

All mass gatherings that people enjoy, such as concerts, sporting events, election rallies, parades, protest marches, and megachurches, involve coming together as a community for a shared participatory emotional experience. It’s common, and not hard to figure out.

It’s easy to feel a connection to Jesus at a big event with hundreds of other people, everybody singing some rousing music and listening to an exciting speech by a preacher trained in public speaking.

It’s a lot harder when you’re home alone looking at your own life problems again.


#4

I figured as much but what happens when the “fire” fades? Do they church hop to get their fix? I wonder what the retention rate is for these huge “community” churches. I wonder if most people who go do them don’t give a hoot about the doctrine and go b/c they believe in the Bible and the basic tenets of Christianity. Most that I’ve discovered are rather anabaptist.


#5

They are “feel good” preaching, entertainment and making those there believe that they are saved no matter what. Just feel good and be happy.


#6

I don’t think most people sit around thinking about “doctrine”.
They read the Bible, God is Love, Jesus died for you, He forgives your sins and takes you to Heaven when you die.
That’s about it for most folks who bother.


#7

I agree…the faith gets watered down so much and replaced with a heavy dose of emotion. I don’t doubt that the people there love God however.


#8

In some of them you never even hear the name of Jesus. Of course that is understandable because in those Churches it isn’t about Him.


#9

I went to one - a few times.
It was more out of curiosity.
I do suggest visiting one - just to get an idea of it.
There’s a big time entertainment factor too -
And you can meet believers of the opposite sex - and your age - etc
People definitely over dress - lol
Keep an eye on your wallet - they tend to sell many things - in booths -
( from music cds to books - to wall posters , etc )


#10

People want community. They want encouraging messages they can understand. If a church is large and prosperous then that looks good to people. Christianity is still the predominant religion in the US, so there aren’t many mega Mosques or mega Temples.

I really don’t see that the Catholic Church looks appealing to an outsider, or even some insiders, who are Christian. I do see that mega churches look appealing.


#11

I think its more due to the fact that a large church can offer a lot more than a small one can for the members.

More classes, more activities, more groups- a local megachurch, Mt. Ararat, is building a new community center maybe a mile from their church here in Pittsburgh. In addition, large churches usually have dynamic speakers leading them, in a religious tradition that has really appreciated great sermons.

A lot of large Catholic parishes have a wide range of things too, as compared with smaller churches


#12

My in laws go to churches like this. They switch every few years because they say the pastor gets too negative.


#13

Interesting…I’ve only been to a few non denom churches around here and they’re NOT my cup of tea at all. I love anything ancient and these are all about modernism.


#14

I’ve read statistics that at some of these places, most in attendance are baptized Catholics.


#15

Yep, I think that’s pretty accurate. I know several people I went to Catholic school with who were alter servers and pretty active as kids who now go to these churches.


#16

I find that profoundly sad. Yet, perhaps there’s hope in that they’re seeking Him. Our culture today needs Jesus so much.


#17

From a doctrinal perspective I think they’re the natural end-game for rampant protestant denominationalism as most will cling to a very loose and unemphasized set of beliefs.

Don’t get me wrong - there’s usually a core theology that most staff must accept (my local mega church was Baptist before dropping the label, but all staff are Baptist seminary graduates). But the only theology taught is typically stuff that enjoys little dispute in broader protestantism.

“Do I need to be baptized to be saved?”

“Well, we should be obedient to Jesus and his word so we should be baptized regardless of it saves us or not”.

“What if I die after getting saved, but before my scheduled baptism?”

“I doubt that happens much, and all I know is that nothing is bigger than God’s love”.

Bear did a great job addressing why they form from a perspective of group dynamics. We love feeling a part of a greater whole.


#18

I feel the same way! I was wondering why I felt so sad about this but I think this sums it up nicely :slight_smile:


#19

I’m not a huge fan. The emphasis on music and hands in the air prayer doesn’t do much for me.

I’m a cradle catholic, well catechized by my grandmother.

I can’t get around that the ones I have been to are so utterly focused on their sola scriptura view of the new testament that it just seems… truncated.

I might leave with a catchy tune in my head, but missing the body, blood, soul and divinity of Him for music?

I might go to a Catholic Church that has a bad homily, lousy music, and a slow pace (I don’t, but for the sake of argument). In the end, when the Priest consecrates the bread and wine… Heaven touches earth and we see and partake in a miracle.

Almost reminds me of the incarnation. Don’t look for Christ coming in glory in a big city. Look for him coming quietly and humbly.


#20

I’m sure that’s true in some places. But I think that large growing churches are more of a danger to small protestant congregations than to the Catholic Church.


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