Many people have a strong dislike for megachurches. But here at MMI; we don't think all megachurches are bad. Nor do we think that just because a church is huge, that it is better than any other church. We do like to sink our teeth into this trend to see what there is to learn from larger churches (because, quite frankly, many of them are doing things that are effective). You'll find those kind of resources in this section.

What are We to Make of Mega-Church Foreclosures?
What are the common links here? It seems to me that these megachurches cited are not the typical megachurches, but those that are currently enveloped in some type of scandal. All three involve blatent and public sin of the leaders.

The narrator says that mega-churches are 'one scandal away from forclosure'. My question: Isn't this the case with every church, though? If the pastor of a 200 member church openly sins, let's say he punches his wife in the local Wal-mart parking lot, or if he divorces his wife, does that not put the church in danger of having many people leave? And if people leave and offerings plummet, that 200 member church is in the same boat as the 20,000 member church. My theory is that this is more of a problem of theology rather than size. Most of the larger churches that have had huge breakdowns over the past year are the more pentecostal word-of-faith churches (no offense to my pentecostal friends). I see more similarities there than I do with church size.

What think thee?

imageMega-Church Pictorial
Joe Johnson, from Columbia, MO is a photographer with a love of 'mega-church' photography. Seriously, he has taken some great shots of mega-church facilities across the country that you can view at his website. Unfortunately, all of his photos are tagged with the city, but not the name of the church. For instance, this church (in the picture) has a 'plasma pulpit'. Honestly can't say that I've seen one of these before!

In an interview at FeatureShoot.com, Joe says: "It was physical and wholly alien from what my idea of organized worship had been. Christian iconography was either stylized into abstract obscurity or altogether absent. The subject had tension. It was visual, topical, and coolly secular. Once I realized that I had relocated to a part of the country where big- box mega churches seemed to sprout forth weekly along the highways of Midwestern ex-urbs, my new project was immediately clear. So I began to search the internet for churches within driving distance that had a weekly attendance of at least 2000 people and I called their public relations representatives. It was easier to gain access than I had expected and once I’d exhausted the possibilities within a two hour drive of my home, I began to organize multi-state driving trips’..."

More On Megachurches
New Mega-Church Study Finds Some Interesting Results
A new study by Leadership Network and Hartford Seminary's Hartford Institute for Religion Research shows that U. S. megachurches continue to strengthen their foothold in the American religious landscape. According to the study, megachurches are having huge impact in all kinds of areas of church life, including: Christian education literature, worship resources and music materials; pastor-training conferences; planting new congregations and spinning off affiliated satellite locations; and hands-on mission trips. Here are more really interesting findings from the study...
imageNon-Evangelical Mega-Church:  5,500 Members Blend Science & Religion

An interesting article over the weekend at the Denver Post. It's about Lakewood, CO's Mile Hi Church. According to The Post: "It has 5,500 members, a modern auditorium, loud contemporary music, jumbo screens, a media store and a child-care center.

The trappings are the same. The message is not.

It is not evangelical Christian.

The motto under Mile Hi's big, domed sanctuary, a $10 million, 1,500-seat hall that opened in April, is "It's different here."

"We use some of the same approaches and tools as megachurches, but Mile Hi is profoundly unique," said senior minister Roger Teel.

Mile Hi Church teaches the science of mind and spirit. It seeks to blend science and religion — drawing from elements of all the world's great faith traditions. Christianity is just one of them... imageWithout Walls Sells Mega-Church Building to One of It’s Own Campuses

Last week we told you that Randy White was putting a couple of his mega-church "Without Walls International" facilities on the market for sale. Well, it turns out that he has a buyer... none other than one of Without Walls campuses that currently meet in one of the locations. Here're some of the details from a recent newspaper article. In summary... the campus will split from the main church (on paper, but not relationally)... this has been in the works for a couple years... the campus will buy the facility... 700 people attend at this campus that holds a few thousand people and will be in debt bigtime (the facility was valued at $6 million in 2005). imageGranger Opens Community Center for Low Income Residents

Once housing a liquor store, Dee-Kens lounge and Ko-op 65 food pantry, storefronts near downtown South Bend in Indiana are being renovated into Monroe Circle Community Center, which will offer an alternative high school, after-school tutoring and mentoring, GED classes, life-skills training, a food pantry and a coffee house. The project is a collaborative effort by the 7,000-member Granger Community Church, Ko-op 65, Feed the Children, Erskine, Inc. and Sweet Home Baptist Church, which once ran a five-and-dime store among the early-1900s stores. The building on Western Avenue and Taylor Street is across the street from the largest mass of public housing in the city... imageBest “Green” Church:  Prestonwood Baptist

Energy efficient isn't the typical way to describe a megachurch, but it fits Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, TX. Almost a year ago, the church's 700 staffers took a simple approach to cutting energy use. It has won them thousands of dollars in savings and the title of "Best Green Church" at a WFX worship facilities conference awards ceremony in December. The movement aligns perfectly with the church's religious beliefs... imageChurch Seven Nights a Week!

I find this remarkable... The Church of Pembroke Pines has some problems with growth. They just didn't have enough room in their small worship center to accomodate all the people attending (if I heard right, their main meeting room only holds about 500 people). Their solution: Let's have church seven nights a week!

Megachurches Resources imagePastors In Transition: Why Clergy Leave Local Church Ministry

Why do pastors leave the ministry? Several common issues emerge from the research of Dean Hoge and Jacqueline Wenger: preference for another form of ministry, the need to care for children or family, conflict in the congregation, conflict with denominational leaders, burnout or discouragement, sexual misconduct, and divorce or marital problems. Of these factors, which form the basis for the central chapters of Pastors in Transition, two are especially important: conflict and a preference for specialized ministry. A close third is the experience of burnout, discouragement, stress and overwork. As the authors explore these factors, they provide significant insights into what can be done to help people stay in ministry. imageEat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading

The bestselling author of "The Message" challenges believers to read the Scriptures on their own terms, as God's revelation, and to live them as they read them. imagePracticing Greatness: 7 Disciplines of Extraordinary Spiritual Leaders

Based on his extensive experience as coach and mentor to many thousands of Christian leaders across a broad spectrum of ministry settings, Reggie McNeal helps spiritual leaders understand that they will self-select into or out of greatness.