There is a lot of discussion lately on blogs about the reveal study. I was planning on writing about this as a continuation of yesterday’s post. Today David Fitch has written an extensive post questioning if it is possible for a mega-church to change.
While I think it is beneficial to examine these systems and structures, what I would like to talk about is the trickle-down effect that occurs at the local level.
Watching the Bono/Hybels video and hearing from those who attended the leadership seminar this year, it seems that Bill has had a genuine change of heart concerning the focus of ministry. I see him as sincerely desiring to use his influence to steer his church and others toward more of an outward focus.
The trickle-down effect in our church is the first attempt that I have seen from a pastor in this community to encourage and inspire a mentality of service outside of the church beyond one-time special events. The broader conversation within the small groups reflects their desire to find avenues of service. People are brainstorming about programs and projects.
What I see is a national pastor with a desire to see the church have a more outward expression of service, a local pastor attempting to communicate that message, and sincerely good-hearted people seeking a vehicle to fulfill that expression.
I believe that individuals are being encouraged toward missional engagement. In fact, those who are already engaged are being noticed for and supported in their service within the community.
Let me take a few minutes here to comment on a couple of the points that David addressed:
1. Consumer mentality –
If this is mentality being taught, it should not be a surprise that members are passive. It has been said, “What you win them with, you win them to.” Passivity is a big problem in congregational-style churches. Training people to be consumers simply makes it even harder to overcome the strong tendencies toward passivity.
2. Institutional sustenance –
“The fact is it is incredibly difficult to make any change to the mammoth machine that might disrupt its ongoing capital performance.”
This pretty clearly reflects the dilemma between sacrificial giving and the priority of maintaining the institution. It is likely that the needs of the organization will always have highest priority.
In his saga of all things missional, Brother Maynard explained,
“The shift toward missional engagement entails a reconnection of the church with God’s mission and with his Kingdom, not as a single doctrine, idea, or value among many, but as fundamentally at the core of it’s being, connected inseparably with its raison d’être.”
My expectation is that the mega-church will continue to be an attractional evangelistic organization with potentially fruitful mission programs and projects.
While they perpetuate the problems inherent in the attractional/institutional model, there is no denying that the mega-church holds vast resources in terms of both money and manpower that have potential to be directed in amazingly beneficial ways.