Solus Christus Sola Scriptura Sola Gratia Sola Fide Soli Deo Gloria Solus Christus Sola Scriptura Sola Gratia Sola Fide Soli Deo Gloria Solus Christus Sola Scriptura Sola Gratia Sola Fide Soli Deo Gloria Christ Alone Scripture Alone Grace Alone Faith Alone Glory to God Alone Christ Alone Scripture Alone Grace Alone Faith Alone Glory to God Alone Christ Alone Scripture Alone Grace Alone Faith Alone Glory to God Alone

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Would You Like to "GIga-size" That?

Who hasn't been through a fast food establishment and after placing your order, asked if you would like to "up-size", "mega-size", "go large" or "king size" the order? What this usually means is an upgrade to a half a gallon of soda and a bucket of french fries. That can't be good for you.

Now, in being honest here, I've gotten the larger portion a time of two, but just found out that, to quote my mom, "my eyes were bigger than my stomach". I usually ended up really full and feeling sick afterwards. Pouring all of that sugar and fried food into my body had an adverse effect.

I was recently reading an article on "Gigachurches". Yes, you read that correctly; not megachurches. Gigachurches. Those who are familiar with computers know that "giga" is a LOT more that a "mega" anything. It means more speed, power, etc. and is better, but is it the same for churches?

The following list of the Top 10 largest churches is from the previously mentioned article.

Top 10 Largest U.S. Churches

1. Lakewood Church, Houston Texas – Joel Osteen (47,000)
2. Willow Creek Community Church, South Barrington, Ill. – Bill Hybels (23,500)
3. Second Baptist Church, Houston – Ed Young Sr. (23,198)
4. Saddleback Church, Lake Forest, Calif. – Rick Warren (22,000)
5., Edmond, Okla. – Craig Groeschel (19,907)
6. Southeast Christian Church, Louisville, Ky. – Dave Stone (18,013)
7. North Point Church, Alpharetta, Ga. – Andy Stanley (17,700)
8. Thomas Road Baptist Church, Lynchburg, Va. – Jonathan Falwell (17,445)
9. Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. – Bob Coy (17,000)
10. The Potter's House, Dallas – T.D. Jakes (17,000)

While I don't discount the hearts or passion of these churches, for me, it raises a red flag... Numbers do not neccessarily mean Christian converts.

Other churches like Elevation Church in Charlotte, N.C., pastored by Steven Furtick have seen their congregations experience viral growth. Elevation has experienced a growth of 444 percent.

To quote from CH Spurgeon,

"It is a serious injury to a person to receive him into the number of the faithful unless there is good reason to believe that he is really regenerate. I am sure it is so, for I speak after careful observation. Some of the most glaring sinners known to me were once members of a church; and were, as I believe, led to make a profession by undue pressure, well-meant but ill-judged. Do not, therefore, consider that soul-winning is or can be secured by the multiplication of baptisms, and the swelling of the size of your church. What mean these despatches from the battle-field? "Last night, fourteen souls were under conviction, fifteen were justified, and eight received full sanctification." I am weary of this public bragging, this counting of unhatched chickens, this exhibition of doubtful spoils. Lay aside such numberings of the people, such idle pretence of certifying in half a minute that which will need the testing of a lifetime. Hope for the best, but in your highest excitements be reasonable. Enquiry-rooms are all very well; but if they lead to idle boastings, they will grieve the Holy Spirit, and work abounding evil"

- Spurgeon, What Is It To Win A Soul, Chapter 1

I'm not saying that large churches are bad, but one has to be very careful of "claiming a number of salvations" as well as making sure that all of these people are properly shepherded and discipled.

Because Truth matters,

1 comment:

Diana said...

Here I am just trying to wrap my mind around Mega churches and they come out with Giga churches.

Maybe I am just to simple to get it. I don't know if bigger is better. Growing up I have been in and out of big churches and little churches and churches of many denominations. The same is true as an adult. How big can it get before God stops being the one focused upon and the glory is in the number of baptisms instead, or glory is in the entertainment of the masses, the flashing lights, or the perfect sound and video systems and the band plays and the singers sing and there is just so much attention getters that God never gets the attention.

To me it's like having a baby and so much attention is poured on a baby at one time we call that sensory overload. I think these mega and giga churches count on that concept to bring people back, but it isn't gonna save them.

I guess for me, is while we are here on Earth, where is the accoutability? Accountability should help ensure that the Truth is being preached, and although they preach about accountability somehow many times the preachers are becoming a genre of music egual to easy listening. Mega churches can become clickish and have a very hands-off attitude when it comes to shepherding people and making them "fishers-of-men." They are run like a business and forget that their boss is and should be God, not the head of the church or the church itself, How good is a title or position to God if you didn't do with it what you were asked?
I have no fear with churches this size simply because in the end God holds them accountable, I can question it, but it's not my fight.

Love you
Love me