Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Did I mention that DVDs of my sermons are now available in a boxed set?

Between pastors' meetings, vacations, and school Christmas programs . . . well, something had to give, and this blog was it. But now that this blog has been mentioned in Ministry magazine, I guess it's time to climb back on and start riding again.

So . . . let's start things with a link to an article in the Washington Post about a 13,000-member megachurch that's planting "satellite" churches in the DC area. The music will be local, but the sermons will be digital TV broadcasts from the mother church.

Three questions:

1. A legitimate extension of one church's ministry . . . or megachurch megalomania?

2. Why broadcast sermons from a church? Why not use a TV studio? And why produce sermons, when you could do dramatic series, historical epics, or even sit-coms?

3. How long before SDA Conferences realize that it's easier (and cheaper) to let churches download 3ABN for Sabbath mornings than it is to pay a pastor's salary?

Click on the title of this post for the article.


Eric said...

I came across your blog and wanted to comment on the "franchised Church". (before I get started - I grew up in Oregon; Eugene/Springfield/Florence)

Anyway - when I first moved to the D.C. area I was still very active in wanting to have a church home, knowing that the growth we seek to have in Christ can not be obtained alone.

Little did I know 5 years later I'd be on the verge of putting churches on the backburner of my life.

My first encounter was with McLean Bible. (http://www.mcleanbible.org/pages/page.asp?page_id=4029) This church is monsterous in every shape and form. I refrain from bashing any church because no one truly knows the true will of God but it is extremely difficult for me to believe that He wants His people to worship Him in the way that McLean asks people to worship.

Here is how your day will go, as a visitor of this church. Drive into the parking garage area and will be guided to an area that isn't full. The garage itself is bigger than some malls I have been to. Seriously.

As you find your spot, put a flag on your car so you will recognize it later (sarcasm there), and walk into the building you are immediately struck by the mass amount of people standing in the hallway. This is because if you don't get there before the previous sermon is over - you are going to be in a satellite room - I always refused to go to a room to watch "my" pastor on t.v.

If you are so "lucky" to get a seat you are blasted by what many outside of church would call a concert .......... I am getting filled with the Spirit ......... and going deaf at the same time - Praise the Lord!

After a good 30-40 minutes of rocking out you are then given permissiong to say hello to those standing near you. It is good that they do this because in Northern Virginia, even at church, no one is talking to you unless the Pastor tells them to. MMMmmmm - God is working well in these people.

As the sermon starts you realize that you forgot your binoculars and only see a figure up on a stage, I feel connected with my pastor - I just wish I knew what he looked like. -rolling my eyes-

After the sermon, if you are new, you are encouraged to go to the new visitors lounge where you will be "honored" by the Pastors presence welcoming you. He will give you a 5 minute speech about how great God is, how the ministry is hear to help you, and he is so glad that you are attending ------ in two and a half years that was the only time I saw him face to face.

After that you are ushered out and asked to leave ASAP so they can bring in the next group. Wait, what, did I just go to church ... why are you pushing me in the back - what do you mean I need to exit the building right now? -continue to roll my eyes-

So - there are thousands of people that go to this church and I "know" roughly 10 of them. How do you get to know, and become brothers & sisters in Christ??? Home groups - yeah, the elders, staff and Pastor - never met any of them outside of that very first day. Praise Jesus for the teachings of these men and women, for their mentorship, for their direction .......... oh, wait, that never happened.

So I eventually realize that I'm becoming bitter towards the environment and need to seek out wisdom in another body of believers. Two more years go by of finding churches that are huge and where there is no chance that the body of believers are going to truly be a family because there are too many of them.

Now I am at a point where I am cynical towards churches in the entire D.C. metro area. If you want to go to church and not feel like it is led by politicians making money hand over fist then don't come to a church out here.

I don't know how this has happened but how can a church be fulfilled if the staff is not part of the congregation as well - how is a Pastor serving God if he doesn't take time out to know the sheep of his pasture? How can individuals be fulfilled, live up to their spiritual gifts, if they are only serving and being served by a television set?

I hope that your church learns something from your conversation about this topic - there is very little rewarding in being part of it.

May God be with you.

Eric Ridgley

Marty said...

Now who would mention your blog?

Pastor Greg said...

Marty Thurber and Josue Sanchez's article on Blogging in the February 2007 issue of Ministry magazine.