Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Small or Big

No I am not talking about waist lines, but about church size.

There seem to be two movements in the church these days. On the one hand are the mega-churches, sometime meeting in multiple locations with one minister doing all the preaching and teaching, othertimes holding many services at different times in one large venue.

The second movement is characteristic of the emerging church movement. These churches meet in small informal and intimate environments and many of the people will be participative in the worship. There is a belief that these churches are more "biblical" than mega churches.

Let me make some comments and open it up to some discussion. It is clear that the early church met in both homes and at temple worship and so there seems to be some biblical model for both styles. Secondly Jesus spoke to large crowds, sometimes significantly bigger than some mega churches. Peter too at Pentecost preaches to thousands of people. There is clear evidence of both styles of meeting.

The move towards smaller churches is caused by a number of factors and I dont want to enter into all of them here. Some are around accontability and community which I value very highly and agree with completely.

But one of the issues is the centrality of the preacher. Whilst I firmly belive in conciliar leadership (leadership by a council of leaders) and that the only person the church should be build around is Jesus, there are gifted men and women who are called to preach and others who whilst called to lead should not be allowed near a pulpit :) In many of these post-modern smaller churches there is no specific preacher and the baton of bringing the message is passed around from one Sunday to the next. And I just don't agree with that. Not all elders are teachers/preachers, they may have wisdom, integrity and maturity of faith, but some really should not be allowed to teach up front.

Personally I do not like being the center of attention and get annoyed when people focus on me rather than the subject of my message, Jesus. but I also realize that by God's grace I do have the ability to expplain the scriptures in an engaging way. Not all the elders I have served with have that ability.

So there is my opinion (for what it is worth being a precher :) )


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