Monday, June 28, 2010

Mega Church Formula

I found this on Patrick Madrid's FB page. I wasn't going to post it at first because it was so very cynical.  I couldn't get it out of my head. It has been rolling around, and peeking through my days. So, I want to save it here so I can find it later. I decided to include some of the comments over on Patrick's page.

I used to go to a mega-church and then go to Mass because I felt that the "uplifting service" added more Christian fellowship to the day. In the beginning it did feel OK to do this. Our nearby Mega-Church is indeed MEGA but I started worshiping there when it was a group of believers in a school gym. It felt like a "praise and worship" session - like a bunch of friends getting together for a Bible study or prayer group with the added benefit of really good music and fellowship.

I knew that I had not gone to church unless I attended Mass. So, of course, I went to Mass, too. Except for communion at the mega church (which I never participated in) it all seemed copacetic. I got real church (Mass) and Christian entertainment (mega church)

I eventually became a camp counselor for the mega church - I completely bought into the whole "non-denominational-coming-together-to praise-God" thing.
I was subsequently asked to go to their training class for Fellowship Leaders.
That was a bit less, shall we say, "non-denominational."  There was a clear focus on recruiting people. AND, they targeted Catholics who had fallen away and those who were not satisfied with the fellowship at their parishes. Suddenly it hit me --- it was all marketing in the upper echelon.

My image of the "non-denominational-coming-together-to praise-God" was shattered by the reality. Get behind the scenes with the movers and shakers and you learn a lot.

I am just so grateful that God lead me home.
I have heard friends who attend mega church say, "I go because church should make me feel good and they always have a great message. I want to be uplifted and motivated."
All I hear is "Me, me, me, me, me -- make me feel good'"

This funny (and sad) clip strikes dead-on accurate from my personal experiences with our nearby non-denominational, mega churches.



Some of the comments:

  • That was my church before I became Catholic three years ago. The emptiness was profound.
  • People leave Jesus in the Eucharist for this? CRAZY! 
  • People leave Jesus in the Eucharist because 1) they don't understand its significance because eucharistic theology has been downplayed in their Catholic experience, and 2) people in churches like these know how to reach people at a personal level - too many parishes fail in that respect. It doesn't surprise me in the least. Properly formed Catholics would never leave for something like this.
  • Really good!!!!! those churches just play on people's emotions and hope that is enough to draw them in.... but in the end it is meaningless worship.... not grounded in real faith and the Eucharist!

  • That tattoo was the Name in God in Hebrew, the Tetragrammaton...just noticed that
  • By the way, there's a little joke in here. The Hebrew tattoo deliberately incorrectly spells God's name. Instead of God's name (יהוה ), it says, ויהי , translated, "And it came to pass" or "And it was so." Of course the joke here is that people who get Hebrew tattoos really do not know how to read Hebrew at all.   From a great article here: http://www.thesacredpage.com/2010/05/worship-entertainment-vs-liturgy.html

  • Yet we have to be careful how we engage evangelicals... we're not gonna convince many of them to come home by calling their services empty... and even the Catholic Church in recent years has acknowledged the truth these ecclesial communities profess... just not in its fulness, and thus never totally fulfilling like the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass!
  • The funny part is that they were trying to make a point about their own services being too cookie cutter, but ended up showing what the are missing something . . . the Eucharist!
  • I was up at EWTN last weekend, I met a nice fellow in the gift shop and we had a great discussion. At one point he had mentioned a protestant friend of his who was a pastor at one of those mega-churches, and he told me something interesting. It seems that you need to have a BUSINESS License to run one of those churches. I don't know, but I find that rather odd.
  • Yep it's scary isn't it?!?!?!? I'm also a cradle Catholic but one of my best friends goes to a mega non-denominational church and invited me once.... (Daughtry goes there!).... and that's how it was... trendy music... pastor playing on people's emotions.... people welcoming me and talking and reaching out to me, offering me information ... See Moreand stuff... but after the music and the preaching that was it... I felt like I had gone to a conference... not to a "service" and certainly not to "mass" or anything remotely close!
  • I posted this several weeks ago and took sooo much heat from some Protestant friends. Hit too close to home I guess. 
  • I felt empty in those pews. I don't know what anyone else felt, but it prepared me for the Catholic church so I can't exactly say it was all bad.
  • So thankful to be free of this! 
  • Unfortunately, many of the 'Life Teen' Masses I've attended are similar to this megachurch format in their music choices.
  • We are all aware of this megachurch, underground Christianity phenomena. It will no doubt be recorded as yet another heresy...
  • What is even more intriguing are the Catholics who actually stand up for their faith! Let's do it, folks, in all charity, always begging the Holy Spirit for His words not ours! Let's give ourselves fully to God, and He will write straight with crooked lines!
  • I was a worship leader in a church in that vein though not a mega... The pastor wanted us to sing some songs for 20 minutes to bring the "Spirit" down.... I guess the more "worked up' people were, the more the Spirit was present. When we had communion ( maybe once a month) he would always say , "How should we do it this week". The closer I got to the Church (it took me 3 years), the more it bothered me. When I fully believed that the Eucharist is the body and blood of Christ, but had not left the protestant church yet, I couldn't even bring myself to participate in taking communion there. It was a total circus..

  • I can't get the opening song out of my head.
  • This type of church helped me get back my faith, but something was missing. I figured it out, and couldn't be happier.
  • I was a worship leader as well. We reached a point of no return when we were correcting our former pastor during communion. "No. It doesn't say 'represent.' It says 'is!'"
  • To be honest I don't know how I feel about this video. As a convert from an evangelical background, having attended a 'megachurch', and was studying to be a minister; I found many of the people very sincere. I have found some of the same problems in Catholic parishes that try to go contemporary with the Mass. I personally enjoy contemporary Christian music outside of worship but haven't felt very comfortable with it in the context of the Mass outside of my time at FUS. The challenge is that for Catholics we know (or should know) that worship is centered around the Real Presence of Christ in our midst and so we have an innate sense that worship should have sense of the sacred. For evangelicals they only have the spoken and sung word and so the emphasis is on these things. I guess I struggle with the video as it seems to imply bad intent or that the megachurch phenomena is just a performance. I may agree with some of the observations but not the spirit of it. my 2 cents.
  • As a recently confirmed Catholic convert, I came right out of a mega church right down to the video mentioning CDs at the store and lattes at the coffee shop. What's so sad to me is how now I know the presence of Christ in the Eucharist that was never quite clear at this mega Church. I always felt cheated in a way cause I didn't understand how and why it was so random was communion at this church. I had been to Mass before and NEVER took communion at mass but at the megachurch i felt obligated to do so. I must say I am so much happier at Mass and my conversion was and still is the most amazing point in my life. I like the sweetness of a little Catholic choir that doesn't get all the notes right. We still must teaches those of the megachurches and little ones to come home and come home soon!!!
  • This video was on youtube and was removed because the owner (North Point media) claimed copyright concerns. Obviously, it is in the Catholic perspective, a protestant service/church. Here is the original link, along with discussion   http://www.vimeo.com/11501569
  • Really funny, but sadly true....Aren't some non-denominational mega-churches franchising now? (I won't mention the name of the one I'm thinking of.)
  • I loved the Starbuck's coffee cups being held by some of the people and the credits at the end (Edgy T-Shirt Award, Papyrus Font Award, Informally Dressed Pastor Award....LOL!!!).
  • Yeah, at Mom's church the emphasis is on fellowship, small Bible group meetings. MyGroups they're called, but there's a whole book on the cell church. What I love is the pastor makes it a point to say that there's no heiarchy to enforce rules. Yet, Mom's MyGroup meets on a Sunday afternoon, something her church doesn't like. Yep, no rules. Just a pastor who's a dictator, it's his way or the highway.  
  • I posted this on my page and had a few people angry at me. They say they enjoy this type of service and "why can't I be entertained while worshipping God?" I agree with many on here that this video is true in most respects and it's very sad. Would the Apostles recognize such a service if they walked into this concert?
  • It's all about the 'fellowship'...and believe it or not, I think they do fill a need...people are so lost.
  • Certainly contemporary Christian music helps people get closer, while at a Mercy Me concert or in their car. But when it's the Sunday service that puts a greater emphasis on a performance that's a problem.


  

1 comment:

~Joseph the Worker said...

I would love to share this post with my Godfather who does the double church thing but he might be a little too sensitive for the sarcasm!

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