I just came from a one-on-one meeting with a well-known mega church pastor. This may have been one of the most encouraging traditional-church-related meetings I have had in a while. The pastor expressed a strong desire to plant churches on a global basis with a focus on small/organic/house-church methods and outcomes like we have in Church Planting Movements (CPM). He expressed an understanding of the need for small, rapidly multiplying churches that will reach those who would never darken the door of a mega church, or possibly any other established traditional church.
We also discussed leadership capacity and requirements for the various styles and sizes of church. There are more leaders capable of starting and maintaining small churches than there are leaders who can start and maintain mega churches. We need to allow leadership to function at the levels required and not expect everyone to have the same training or ambitions. We need to value the contribution of each leader, wherever the Lord has called him or her to serve.
From my perspective as a champion for rapidly multiplying small church planting, I do see a need for and appreciate mega churches. Mega churches could be the nexus for information, training, networking/connecting, strategy, and resourcing of all kinds, including human, vocational, business, educational, and financial. Please do not hear me say that mega churches should drive all this. They should be facilitators and servants who connect God’s people with the needs of those who work very hard to serve and reach the lost, wherever they may be found.
We must never forget that a church with 10,000 members is as much the Bride of Christ as a church with 10 members. Both are highly valued by God. Both have calls from God. Both have the same purposes and functions defined by the Word of God. All are needed if we are going to reach the +5 billion lost people on our planet. When we criticize any church, we criticize the Bride of Christ. As a husband, I am not too happy when someone criticizes my bride. How do you think Christ feels when we criticize His Bride?
All strategies are welcome if they equip God’s people to do works of service and reach the lost, near and far, for the cause of Christ. Whether our churches are large, medium, or small, all are needed to meet the varying needs of people everywhere, and through ministry and evangelism establish relationships that declare to everyone that the Kingdom of God is near, and please let us show you The Way into the Kingdom.
Some of us are called/commanded to go and make disciples, baptize these new disciples in order to establish churches in places not home, and teach these new disciples how to obey the Lord. The rest of us are called/commanded to make disciples as we are going about our businesses every day, establish and/or grow churches through baptism, and teach every disciple to obey the Lord.
Together we are stronger. Perhaps this is what Paul had in mind when he wrote in 1 Corinthians 1:10, “I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.´(NIV)