Not long back I had a shocking experience. I was speaking to a woman who was sharing with me about attending a mega church in my city. She is attending this church for many years and finds it exciting to be a part of its service. And then she shared with me that there is also a bible study being conducted every week in her house by another group.
Do you know who they are? Jehovah’s Witnesses.
I was shocked to hear this. I asked her whether she knows who Jehovah’s Witnesses are. She has no idea about them. This woman is attending an evangelical mega church since many years, yet she didn’t know that JW is a cult in which many sincere people are entangled by its false teachings. The members of JW have penetrated her house to digress this family from some of the cardinal truths of the Holy Bible. When I explained to her who JW's are, she was taken aback.
Now this woman is passionate for God and sincerely loves to follow Christ. But she is part of a mega church in which she could not have the opportunity to get discipled by someone towards spiritual maturity, even finding help to get strongly rooted in the Word of God. She didn't even know that being discipled is essential for Christian growth. This I find to be a mega problem with mega churches.
Please don’t get me wrong. I am not completely against mega churches. I am not saying there is nothing we can learn from them. I find the services of these churches quite exciting, which is good. They constantly conduct special programs and concerts, have exciting youth gatherings and provide good facilities for the attendees, which is helpful. I see there is a great emphasis on evangelism and church growth, which is wonderful.
But here is a mega problem with mega churches—there is a great lack of personal attention and mentoring of those who are newly born-again. Even those who would like to grow more in the Lord, they lack proper guidance and motivation. And the equipping of the saints for ministry is largely absent, for the necessity of body ministry is not recognized by these churches.
What I have observed is—mega churches are more service and program oriented than focused on discipleship. For this reason, the faith of many members of these churches is found quite shallow. Much worse, there would be many having no salvation experience and I wonder what focus is given to personally lead them to Christ Jesus! Of course, this pathetic condition could also be found in micro-churches if believers are not properly nurtured and discipled.
Is it not our Lord’s command to make disciples rather than have nice Sunday services and programs?
Need for Discipling
I have observed that those who grow well in the Lord in a mega church setting are those who have a passion to grow in Christ with a self-disciplined spirit, taking initiative to stay on the cutting-edge. And some who grow well in these churches are those who receive inspiration to grow from other fellowships or bible studies or ministries. An active member of a mega church agrees with me that, although the churches are mega in numbers, we find few people testifying their immense growth in the Lord and in depth understanding of His Word due to the contribution of these churches.
But those who are not self-disciplined and have no proper guidance from outside and could not take initiative to find help—they remain in these churches for years without personal, evidential and influential growth. They may appear emotionally spiritual but show no true signs of solid biblical understanding and spiritual maturity. O, how such people can be wonderfully transformed and used by the Lord to impact the people around them if an initiative is taken to mentor them in the Lord!
To resolve such problems, since it is practically impossible to pay attention to all the crowd in a mega church setting, some have adopted cell group method, appointing cell group leaders to lead. This is at least better and somewhat helpful, although there is a fear whether these cell groups may cut off from the mother church and become an independent church.
However, even to such cell groups many do not seem to consistently attend, for to them church is a Sunday service to attend, not a close-knit community to grow in the Lord and to impact the world. Such people may be more transformed through personal discipleship.
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