I have a lot of friends who go to or are pastors at mega-churches. In particular, I have friends who go to or work at or are lead pastors at churches were the preacher is beamed, via satellite, to other church campuses.
I don’t like this approach.
First, kudos to the pastor who draws in regularly several thousand people. But, I think ultimately that risks it becoming about the pastor and not the Word.
Over time, it can become a business.
A friend who was a deacon at a mega-church came to me a while back to say he had gone, with a group, to their pastor. The pastor seemed to be waffling on cultural issues currently at play. They thought the church needed a clear statement on marriage being between a man and woman. The pastor looked at this group and said, “Do you know what doing that would do to what we’ve built here?”
These large churches can often become so invested in the success of the pastor and the success of the business that they look at the bottom line instead of the souls saved.
That in turn breeds a shallow faith where people come, think they are Christians, but don’t have any experience in the depths of doctrine because the pastor needs to do feel good, self-help sermons to keep people coming.
Then there’s the via satellite mode of preaching. That suggests the pastor is the indispensable person and, but for that pastor, people wouldn’t show up. That’s problematic because it circles back to focusing on the pastor, not the Word.
Now, I know there are exceptions and, again, I have friends who work at, attend, and are in some cases the lead pastors at massive churches. And I don’t mean to hurt feelings. But when I see the Willow Creek stuff, etc. I have to wonder about the church model that becomes a business model.
I guess a good rule of thumb would be on whether a church has its pastor focused on being in the pulpit preaching the Word on Sundays or cranking out books and self-help specials and multimedia extravaganzas to keep people coming. The former is what everyone should be striving for.