Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Nice Job Rob

Came across this interview with Rob Bell today on the Ooze. For those who don't know, Rob pastors a mammoth church called Mars Hill in Michigan. They draw in somewhere in the neighborhood of 10,000 souls on any given weekend...which makes this quote (by Rob) from the interview all the more intriguing:

I am as skeptical of the mega church as anybody. In fact I am more skeptical, because I have seen things that people who would say they are cynical of the mega church haven’t seen. So I am just as skeptical as anybody. When you get big and God together, there is trouble there. So you have to be very, very careful. We’ve just simply asked, “all these people have gathered so what are we going to do?” We are going to try to draw attention to all of the causes and people who have no voice and no one is listening to. So we are going to try to help single moms, people in poverty, people who have lost their job, people who nobody will listen to.

We believe that anytime a crowd gathers if you don’t immediately start asking “how can we use this crowd and this gathering to promote the kind of thing that God cares about?” If you don’t ask that question, it becomes about yourself. Then yeah, something really destructive is going on. I think when people say they don’t like mega churches, I think people are scared because they know that when things get big their natural arc is to be all about themselves, so you’re building bigger buildings etc. Like yesterday, I was talking about Marilyn Manson who said, “it’s all relative to the size of your steeple.” It just becomes this giant ego show. We just try to strip it all away. What is this beautiful thing that we are all compelled by? Then let’s pursue that.

What do you think? Can "megachurch" and the kingdom of God really co-exist in a healthy way? I think yes, perhaps, but only with great difficulty, and only if the megachurch fiercely holds onto a value to stay small on a relational level...e.g. the "tribal" value that defines the work we do at the Ascent Coaching Group:
Tribal Community--We are committed to work and live in the context of authentic, God-inspired community. We recognize that such community happens best within small tribes that are fluid, flexible and intimate. For that reason, we are committed to establishing and maintaining intimate, tribal communities within the Ascent Coaching Group, even as our organization grows.

Small, fluid, flexible, and intimate--that's community in the Kingdom at its best. My own pastor says that the advantages for going "mega" as a church--greater impact & cultural influence--outweigh the risk of losing that fluid, intimate, communal power. What do you think?

1 comment:

lyricalico said...

Whether mega church, mega government, or megalomania, large things are impossible to manage without being systems based. Systems are slow to change and somehow "matrixize" and become an entity unto themselves. And yet, we see in the book of the Acts of the apostles thousands of souls coming to Jesus through a single sermon preached. I think God makes laws to break them. I think He creates systems only to then color outside the boundary lines. Who can figure Him out? Learn to live by principles, and then you will learn to live by the exception to that rule. I like what Ed Young says (another mega man)... stay comfortably uncomfortable.