A place for discussion of living out our faith in the context of public service, having a Christlike influence in our offices and on those we serve, and responding to religious persecution at work.
Church growth problem
August 4, 2010 at 1:35 am #107199
My church (attendance of about 375) is undergoing rapid growth. The Pastors and elders have decided to build a mega-church. The members voted and approved. The pastor said God told him to build a church of 2,000. They are trying to immediately raise $1.5m with a long term goal of $3m.
I, a member, suggested just building another church in an area of the city (Colorado Springs) that might need one. That head pastor could take charge of that one and the associate pastor can stay at the present church. I know one church would keep the cost down, but I’m sure we could start one at under $1m, and they could share administrative costs. Half or more of the current members could pledge their offering and attendance at the new church until it gets on its feet. That way we could act in a missionary capacity.
But that doesn’t seem to be the thing to do in these days of the Rick Warren/Peter Drucker business church model. Colorado Springs, unfortunately is a town of church attendance competition. Everybody wants to build a mega-church. My church is located a mile from the 10,000 member New Life Church.
I haven’t been vocal about it. They are going to go through with it, and I don’t need to poison the waters. But we are thinking about leaving.
Has anyone else gone through this?
August 4, 2010 at 1:55 am #107217
Jason. Thanks for sharing your heart. I just realized that I love the title of this forum. “Christians in Government”. And without even noticing the name of our forum group, I have shared with my Sunday school superintendent that God was leading me to teach a class called Christians In Government. Another subject, and chapter for another blog. But I attribute my engagement with OGD for this recent revelation.
If you want to see a mega church look at http://www.alfredstreet.org My church averages 25-30 people every Sunday and perhaps 10 on Saturday evening services. My point in sharing this information is one, to let you know that your decision will be prayerfully led by the Holy Spirit. Going to a church, or leaving a church should always be about whether the church is impacting lives, empowering community, and growing families or not. The church that is not has produces evidence or (manifestations) as to why the church is wandering and not growing.
Again, thanks for sharing,
Bless you and your family during your journey as you seek and find.
August 4, 2010 at 2:04 am #107215
Jason – My church is growing really rapidly as well, and I love our church’s model: we are not building new churches. Rather, we’re finding innovative spaces for church plants throughout our region. In fact, our pastor eshews the mega-church model.
We have one main building (a warehouse), located in the middle of the Triangle NC region so that we can be readily accessible to the most possible people (but we used to meet in a school gymnasium!) As we were seeking to expand into Durham, we learned about a struggling church with dwindling membership and partnered with them to share their building (a more traditional church structure). The key was that they were located in a neighborhood close to Duke, so we could reach more college students…and there happens to be a high school nearby as well where we draw a lot of new members. Our pastor has a vision to plant 1,000 churches across the world (domestic and abroad) in the next 35 years…huge international planting activity underway in addition to the stuff here at home.
It’s a cool model…let me know if you’d like to learn more.
August 4, 2010 at 2:12 am #107213
It appears from your throwing yourself out here that you are seeking support for your actions. I’m not so sure you need support but your heart and investment is with this church even though they are choosing do something not so popular with you and your views and perhaps core values. Consider what you and and those important to you have to offer. You will hate yourself and regret not stating your opinion. Your voice means much to this congregation or at least find out .
Consider what you have to offer . If need be consult your Savior Jesus Christ through prayer which transforms and guides us when we’re not so sure what our next step or action should be.
August 4, 2010 at 2:17 am #107211
sarah yanti mapalieyParticipant
Hi Jason. My name is Sarah Yanti from Tana Toraja, a small region in Indonesia. I am a member of a church that has same problem with yours. Everyone have decided to build a mega church then build thousand small curches. I think is just a building. It is more important to build our heart. Even that, we sure need a comfort building to make us comfortable in our religion activities.
And i agree with Mr. Keith Moore’s statement that going to a church, or leaving a church should always be about whether the church is impacting lives, empowering community, and growing families or not.
God bless us.
August 4, 2010 at 3:58 pm #107209
It’s good that you asked others about this. I have recent experience in this area because 5 years ago, the small church that we were going to, (notice were), decided to do the same thing. There is a lot of background to this which is better left unsaid, but after the upheaval of all the congregation and at least 2 if not 3 million dollars later, the church is about the same size as when it moved and is very much in debt.
I personally brought to the leadership my concerns about how this transformation was being done and got the line that: “Well, that’s the direction we’re going. Too bad if you don’t like it.” We now go to a church that meets at a high school cafeteria and it is very freeing.
I guess just speaking personally, unless the Lord has REALLY made it clear to the entire congregation of believers that He wants this done and that He will provide, then it’s probably NOT from Him. My verse to lean on in this circumstance is: Psalm 127:1a. “Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain.”
My approach would be to confront them in a loving way and say you’re really not comfortable with this and go from there. It’s often not easy to do, but you’ll feel better in the long run.
I will be praying for you.
August 4, 2010 at 11:51 pm #107207
Thanks to everyone, especially Matt.
I think we are going to end up leaving. I have been feeling uncomfortable in the direction they have been taking for a while. I raised a stink over the winter during a leadership course run by the church (which I was invited to) because they used a bunch of books that centered around the self-ability/self-esteem gospel. I am not the subtlest person, so I have don’t want to engage them again. We are just going to slowly and amicably fade out.
I just don’t understand this whole mega-church thing. Remember the two churches who received no condemnation in Revelation (Smyrna and Philadelphia) were the two smallest churches!
Pray we find a good church!
August 5, 2010 at 2:51 pm #107205
William H. Devereaux, IIIParticipant
Wow! That seems a little ambitious! From 375 to 2000? That’s a 533% increase. When I was in the Air Force stationed in England, I belonged to a church that were very much involved in church planting, using couples that had the “calling” and launching them out into new locations around England and beyond.
One thing my pastor said that sticks with me up to this day….”when you transplant a plant from one pot to a larger pot, you make the larger pot only slightly larger than the present one. You don’t move it a much larger pot since it won’t fair as well until it’s strong enough for the much larger pot.” Basically a gradual change is better than a dramatic change.
This is especially true, when the reality is you have a “mega” church close by. Why burden your congregation and pastor with a financial expenditure that is beyond the capabilities of your congregation right now. Kinda like our own personal finances. We don’t buy the home that is more than our budget or the size our family needs.
Go ahead and speak your heart, led by the Holy Spirit, to only who he directs you to speak to. That’s why you are there!
August 5, 2010 at 8:43 pm #107203
My church tried planting other churches and continues to do so, but not enough people were willing to leave. Rather than continuing to expand the building we were in, we’ve branched into campuses and we currently have 2 campuses in addition to our central location. I wouldn’t be surprised if those campuses become independent churches at some point, likely if/when our pastor leaves.
If you aren’t comfortable with the direction your church is heading, then it sounds like it’s time to move on. It’s a tough decision though, I’ve been there before and don’t envy you.
March 9, 2011 at 4:55 pm #107201
I would pray for God’s direction. However, speaking from expereince if you and the leadership (church/job/community activity) doesn’t have the same values that you do, leave. Leave now. It will just impede your grown and tear you down if you stay.
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