Tullian Tchividjian got me thinking yesterday about megachurches. His main point was that megachurches have a tendency to foster an inward focus rather than promote an outward going:
As I travel to churches around this country, I’ve noticed a growing trend: traditional places of worship are turning into sprawling campuses—cities within cities. Many churches now have their own restaurants, nightclubs, gymnasiums, bookstores, food courts, cafés, fitness centers, game rooms, and baseball fields. They provide their own sports leagues, exercise programs, and yellow pages. I understand the benefit of some of these things, but when churches provide a substitute activity site for everything under the sun—effectively setting up a parallel universe—we run the risk of abandoning contact with the very world God has commanded us and equipped us to change.
How true. But his post also reminded me of Stephen Prothero's excellent critique of contemporary evangelicalism in American Jesus: How the Son of God Became a National Icon. Prothero says this about the Jesus of the seeker-sensitive megachurch:
The Jesus they preach isn't just seeker-sensitive, he's boomer-sensitive. To a generation suspicious of organized religion, he offers friendship rather than membership. To a generation skeptical of dogma, he accents experience. To a generation obsessed with the first person singular, he offers self-realization as well as salvation. This is the upbeat Jesus of John 10:10 ... who comes "that they may have life, and have it abundantly." And that abundant life begins here and now rather than in the by and by (151).
Praying that our churches become far more God-sensitive.
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About Mike Pohlman
Mike serves as the senior pastor at Immanuel Bible Church in Bellingham, Washington. Mike is a former church planter in the Pacific Northwest, and served for three years as the executive producer of The Albert Mohler Program, a nationally syndicated radio show dedicated to Christianity and culture. Mike has a PhD in American church history from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Mike is husband to Julia and father to four wonderful children: Samuel (12), Anna (10), John (9) and Michael (4). When not pastoring, Mike loves sports, music, and hanging out with his family.
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