Existential Challenges of A Mega Church
The challenges of a megachurch are not a few. But, the most disturbing challenge is the challenge of defining what true "shepherding" really is. One "church" in the south of India uses membership card swipes to track attendance of church members. If a card is not swiped, the member will get a call from the church office the next day to inquire if all things are fine. There are also various plans and prizes being offered all the time to attract financial involvement. On the member's birthday, gifts would be sent to them to express how personally valuable the member is. In a way, this group tries to make sure that the members are active, at least in attendance and financial contributions.
Another pastor of a fast growing congregation confessed the dilemma that he experienced. He met a young man during the week who expressed how happy he was to finally find this church. The pastor wanted to hear more. The young man replied that he was trying to find a church in which people would not ask him any questions or try to bother him with anything, a place where he could just go in and come out. This mega church offered him the very thing he wanted: attendance, enjoying worship and sermon, but no personal member identity. Of course, no pastor will be happy to hear such a "happy" confession from anyone. The services from this assembly are also live streamed so that those who cannot attend the services can watch them online and also pay offerings and tithes online.
The questions to ponder upon are:
- What does it mean to be an overseer of God's flock?
- What does it mean to make disciples and teach?
- Is it just about opening an office and preaching from the pulpit?
- What does it mean to be a flock?
- Should churches follow corporate business organizations in their patterns of employee or customer relations?
- What does it mean to comfort each other and edify one another (1Th 5:11)?
Probably, the answers to some of these questions are not in any textbook or seminary classroom but in the heart of a true shepherd.