Thursday, June 25, 2009

Mega Church Vs Mini Church

I was at a conference helping in interpretation last month. A friend whom I have not seen for awhile came and had a chat with me. We were talking about the conference and then conversation turned to the church that she goes to. I knew that she has been to a new church to help several years ago.

Then she mentioned that recently she has “shifted” to a mega church. Surprised, I asked her why since she has the “burden” to help smaller churches.

She replied, “For my children’s sake. They learned a lot from the church.”

I was taken aback from that answer. Won’t you? What was she implying? Does it mean that all these years, in the smaller or rather mini church, the children learned nothing? What kind of message that she is sending to the children concerning church?

Then she said, “O yes, we have a very good program for parenting.” (She works in a Christian para-organization that deals with Christian courses). At that point, I am sorry to say that I was totally shut off because I don’t think I could trust someone who thought that children could learn more in a mega church is suitable for us. I was raised in a mini church and my children are raised and still are in a mini church and I don’t think they are learning anything less.

I am not against these mega churches. In fact I thank God for their generosity in inviting speakers where otherwise we will never get the chance to hear and offer courses at a reasonable price for those of us who can’t afford overseas trip to hear them. I also appreciate their effort to open all these seminars to benefit people like us from the mini churches.

But why do people have to think that we can learn more from mega churches? I guess the closest that I could think of learning is; we learn different things but not more. Where God has placed us is important. It is not the size of the church that determines our spiritual life. It is never because we came from the mega church and therefore we are more spiritual. If that is so, then where is the place of mini churches? Have the people forgotten that most mega churches gotten their members from other mini churches somewhere?

People like this friend of mine is ignorant of the contribution of mini churches to bring in souls and to disciple them till they are “of age” and then release them to the cities for further studies or work. I salute the work of the pastors from all these churches who are by the way, the majority make up of the percentage of churches here.

Our children need to learn that church is not a place for us just to learn to take and to receive but a place where they can learn to give and to serve. If the church teaches the bible and the people are teachable then we learn much but if there are bible classes, great speakers from half way around the globe but the people are too contented and remained in their comfort zone, then do you think learning is possible?

My recent trip to Cambodia had humbled me greatly. I saw the pastors who earned so little but gave so much of their time into saving souls whereas we saw a few ministries supported by the mega churches and besides giving money have rendered no help nor comfort to them. The pastors from the villages on the other hand have not complaint but humbly serving the community with the little that they have. Their churches are small and tiny (some without water and electricity) and handled by young ladies and young men who serve because they want to see souls saved. Do you think these people learned anything from these pastors?

We from Malaysia, especially in the Klang Valley are really fortunate (or do you call it “blessed”?) because we have so much more. Now we could choose which church to go to. Nowadays people don’t go “church hopping” anymore, I called them “church shopping” because there are so many churches around that allow people to shop from one church to another. This time because the church has a better offer and “on sale”, so we are here. The next month we may go to another because the deals are better there.

Let’s come back to the basics. Let us come back to the meaning of “church going”. Let’s be careful not to fall into the trap of being too selective. God is calling for COMMITMENT from his people; people who are committed enough to be disciples and not just followers. AMEN!