“And He called the twelve to Himself, and bean to send them out two by two and gave them power over unclean spirits.” Mark 6:7
I have seen churches grow very big, greater than 500 members, I once thought it was wonderful that so many people were learning about Jesus. After becoming part of the leadership of one of these mega-churches serving as a Bible Teacher and leading a Helps Ministry I got to know more about the people associated with the church. One of the most disturbing things I discovered were people who had been a part of the church for more than a year and did not believe in heaven and hell. There were also incidents of individuals who had attended the church for months and were no closer to making Jesus Lord of their life as they were the first day. It is a sad testimony to Senior Pastors who take great pride in revealing the number of attendees they have on any given Sunday.
Today there are many ways a person can learn about God without attending a church. Because on any given day one can watch: Les Feldick, Andrew Wommack, or ______ (just to name a few television Bible study ministries)fellowship becomes a very important component in church attendance. What I noticed is the cliquish nature of Small Groups, people get to know the leader and the regular attendees a new person may be welcomed and still not feel like part of the group.
Communication is done via email, text messages and social media. It was a loosing battle for me to constantly remind leadership that not everyone utilizes technology AND it is important for someone to make sure the traditional senior members of the community were acknowledge in a way they can appreciate: telephone calls and home visits. Yes, some churches do this; an advantage of a smaller church is the Pastor takes it upon himself to personally visit contact the body whenever possible.
Pastors who believe a growing church is a sign that there needs to be a bigger building are under the assumption that they are the only ones who can share the gospel with the people. Assuming mega churches have on hand Children’s Pastor, a Young adult Pastor and other associate Pastors it is the Senior Pastor’s responsibility to shepherd the people. I believe it is better to have twenty churches with 100 members than to have one church with 2000, even ten churches with 200 members.
Jesus chose and trained twelve individuals to do what He did. Jesus is the Chief Shepherd and if the Son of God felt it necessary to have leaders go out and minister to people instead creating a centralized location then why are so many Church Leaders doing so? The first time Jesus sent the disciples out it was two by two then He gave them the command to go (Matthew 28:16-20)into the world as individuals.
I considered the book of Acts that mentions the “church” growing. When the Bible speaks of the church it is not referring to a building but the group of Believers.
“And I also say to you, that you are Peter, and on this Rock I will build My church and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18 NKJV
Jesus said He would build His church a group of people. Today we refer to the building as a church and the people as Believers. Our focus should be on building Believers, a.k.a. the Church.
People in mega-churches are neglected. Many supporters of mega-churches suggest that people do not have their needs met because they do not speak up; this is true. Like sheep number 100, some people will go astray and it is the shepherds job to go after him (Matthew 18:12). That one sheep that has gone astray could serve as a testimony the world sees as evidence of why churches are not good or simply give up because no one saw his need.
The advantage of a mega-church? There are usually multiple services that accommodate busy schedules. There are lots of G-rated activities for young people and many churches have missions programs and community outreaches. Mega-churches have lots of busy things to do.
For me the bottom line is the commission Jesus gave his Disciples:
“And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”” Mark 16:15 NKJV
There is no “great commission” to build mega-churches for people to come to you, quite the opposite! Jesus says we should go into the world. If there were lots of little churches with leaders who preached the gospel it would be easier to shepherd the sheep.
Why do Senior Pastors believe that they are the only ones who can lead a body of believers? Why do successful Pastors believe they cannot teach someone to do what they do? Jesus said: