Monday, November 8, 2010

The Corporate Church:

It is a little obvious to my readers that I am not a supporter of the modern corporate church model. I am not alone. Authors Thomas White and John M Teats of the book “Franchising McChurch.” Tony and Felicity Dale of the book “the Rabbit and the Elephant, Why small is the new big for today's church.” First we need to clarify what is the modern corporate church model. Just a few short decades ago in fact the corporate buffet of the 90's was a time when corporate America was at its peak. Mega corporations buying out other mega corporations became the primary news feature each night. With that also came to view the birth of the mega-church. The bigger is better attitude for a new generation of Christians. These churches existed long before the media took notice. The push for more came with the media wave of influence. Suddenly the non-profit corporation of the new face of Christianity was looking much like corporate America. That is exactly what happen. We quickly went from seeking redemption to seeking ratings. From worship to entertainment. Growing even bigger today.

So D. C. what is wrong with that? More are coming to Christ right? With numbers in the thousands you would think so. It is agreeable that a mega-church begins with a congregation of 2,000 or more. Many support congregations of 5,000 to 50,000. On the surface that is something to celebrate. With that comes the sucking sound of small local community churches forced to close their doors for lack of funds to keep the lights on. We see a similar effect on the down town districts of towns and cities when Wal-mart opens its doors. The local mom and pop stores which have been family owned and operated for generations fall like dominoes. Call it an ending of an era. Might want to call it the ending of our neighborhoods as we once knew them.

So what is your problem D.C.? This is a world of progress. The church needs to grow just like the world right? There is the problem. The church conforming to the world when the world needs to conform to the church. Is bigger better? Did not the church grow in the Book of Acts with the same numbers of converts that we are talking about within the mega-church? Yes, I would have to agree, but that is where the similarities begin to separate. How so?

A business owner, an accountant, or even a CEO would look at today's modern church and see little difference between the American Corporate Business model and today's corporate church model. To conform to IRS regulations the hierarchy is the same. Committee members are formed from people within the congregation who's only real experience is with dealing with corporate America. Therefore the result is a church run like an American corporation. Expecting profit and loss. Wait a minute! We are Christians. We are not producing some type of widget or product. We are in a battle that is in fact life or death. How can that be put down on a balance sheet? Does the church have expenses? Absolutely, the bigger the church the more the costs are to operate. Not much head scratching on that. So what is our goal? What is our purpose?

That is where we have taken a wrong turn some where. I agree with Pastor Ray Comfort. (Way of the Master, Living Waters Ministries) Today's modern gospel has become about life enhancement and not about repentance.

Let's talk turkey. Let's get down to brass tax here. Should we dismantle our mega-churches and return to small community churches? No. Let me put it this way. Noah built the boat, but it was God who gave it to him. By doing so saving all of us. We built these mega-churches, but it is God who gave them to us. Is our purpose to save the world? It should be. Seek and save the lost. Sounds simple and with these mega resources we should be more capable of doing just that for God. Are we?

One of the problems with mega-churches is the disconnect problem. Being so big one can easily hide if not be lost in the crowd. Crying out for help among the roar of others. One can easily be left behind. That is the difference between the church in the Book of Acts and today's modern corporate church model. The focus was on the needs of the people and not of one's self. This is extremely hard for us now since we live in a materialism based culture and society. We have become backwards and upside down.

Let us talk about solution then. OK, let's say a mega-church of 2,000 sets a goal of each member witnessing to others for at least 3 new converts each. By the end of the year the church would have a congregation of 6,000. Do it again for the following year and you would have 18,000 members. Sounds great on paper. Witnessing and revival are not the mainstream we are seeing. Keyword here: “Witnessing.” Being a witness for Christ. Simple, straight forward and obeying the Great Commission.

Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
Matt 28:19-20 (NLT)

Therefore our focus should be on witnessing for Christ. We need to teach it. We need to practice it. We need lead in doing it.

The goal should not be “Bigger is Better.” The goal should be to witness better and for His Kingdom to become bigger here on earth.

Team up, Set-up and get into the fight. <><


Anonymous said...

Very, very good! Excellent work brother!


Anonymous said...

"Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you."

I think this is the part that gets neglected. And yet, it is the actual end goal of what Jesus commanded.
And it takes a lot more separation, focus, effort, time and mutual accountability than most are led to believe.
Many are actually taught to resist such dedication, being taught to reject it as "evil legalism!" As if "teaching the new disciples to obey all the commands Jesus has given His disciples" is somehow a bad thing.

But what we seem to be left with today are half-obedient church-goers working to bring in more half-obedient church-goers, few of whom concerned that God wants faithful obedience to "all the commands Jesus has given us." God sent His Son Jesus Christ to the Cross for this very purpose. If obedience was not such a big deal to God, why did He require the Cross to deal with our disobedience?

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