Recently I visited two fairly large churches. Both of which I spent the entire service watching a television screen. While there are a lot of people that have particular biases against mega-churches, I can’t say that it’s not biblical, but I just don’t feel engaged. What can this church provide me that I can’t get on YouTube? I’m already looking at a screen. I don’t go shopping on Black Friday because I hate crowds. So why would I voluntarily put myself through that every week if I could just stay home and watch a service on my computer in my PJs?
Now there are others who love the big productions. The bigger the better. I’m not one of them, and I can’t speak for the majority. I just don’t enjoy the super-church experience. I want to be able to talk with the pastor without him looking over my shoulder for the next person he has to shake hands with. There are some large churches that are able to maintain a level of intimacy and even develop strong leaders. This is not a diatribe against big congregations. While I wouldn’t feel comfortable in a mega-church, I will defend their right to exist.
The question I am asking today is who is your church reaching? Are they focused on the masses? Are the focused around those who have the money? Are the reaching out to the poor and downtrodden? Are you simply looking for the elite? Are you reaching your community?
I’m a church planter and my model reflects an optimistic, missional mindset. You can take it or leave it, but I think if we would focus on reaching communities, we would be able to successfully spread the gospel at an astounding rate.
Plant a church in, or close to, the busiest part of your area. Rent for as long as you can. Once the church is able to sustain itself, find out where your members are coming from. If they are traveling to your church from another community, start focusing on their community and seek to plant a church there. People should be encouraged to be and do church in the community in which they live.
When I was growing up, I could drive past three Baptist churches on the same street. After spending my Christmas vacation in Virginia even I was sick to my stomach at how many Baptist churches I drove past. Yet none of them were working together for the redemption of their communities and the saturation of the gospel? Instead, many of the members were driving out of their communities as much as 45 minutes away to get to their particular church.
When we put away the inconsequential differences and start working together, we might be able to reach people with the gospel. I suggest that we stop focusing on celebrity pastors and we start reevaluating doing church in our communities. I think there ought to be a church for every thousand people. If your community has two thousand people, it can do with two churches – working together.
Call me an idealist, but I really think that if we would focus more on growing out instead of growing in, we could potentially make a serious impact on our society.