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February 23, 2006

Mega Churches and the depth of faith

Conversations at the current World Council of Churches gatherings seems to be hitting some important marks, although I'm not sure that today's report will make fans of mega church all that happy.

WCC general secretary Samuel Kobia has been reported to have expressed concern that the spread of megachurches around the world "could lead to a Christianity that is two miles long and one inch deep". He is reported to have said that "It has no depth, in most cases, theologically speaking, and has no appeal for any commitment.

"It's a church being organised on corporate logic. That can be quite dangerous if we are not very careful, because this may become a Christianity which I describe as two miles long and one inch deep."

Apparently the number of megachurches has doubled since 2000, with the following characteristics: based in the suburbs, mostly run on a business model, low on call to commitment, and - the major concern it seems - disconnected from the historical christian message, but more turned towards populism.

Arguably the danger is not so much that such churches exist, but that they are self-sufficient, breaking their nexus with the global church. One strength (which it seems is cited by the WCC as a weakness) is that it breaks through denominational barriers.

My own reflections on megachurch leave me with the impression that they are the pinnacle of modernity, but also at the hub of a transition which we are numbly sensing in the winds of change: which God's Spirit is stirring. It might be easier to point out the weaknesses in "megachurch" and miss the ones in the settings from which we view. A third way????

Posted by gary at February 23, 2006 07:52 PM

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