Why do people like mega churches?

For the record, I totally agree with you and dislike Joel Osteen quite a bit.

However, he did come back to correct his error.

I do believe he does more harm than good, however.

I whole heartedly agree. I’ll go so far as to say that most megachurches provide services that offer the inspirational trappings of Christianity while toning down all the stuff that might make people uncomfortable. At best, it results in a severe watering down of the Word; more typically, it also involves some pretty serious distortions.

I would not place all pastors of large churches in this category, though. John MacArthur is a notable exception, and he often speaks out against the typical megachurch mentality. Chuck Smith and Alistair Begg also shepherd large churches (though perhaps not “megachurches”), yet they also avoid these excesses.

I agree with this, as well. My experience with this type of church is limited, but I have attended various functions at Willow Creek Community Church, and have known lots of folks who are members there. I have found that it makes religion very, very palatable. They seem to focus on positive messages, they are very welcoming to everyone, and do not seem to mind a sort of make-it-up-as-you-go approach to spirituality. Most of the people I know who are members there were raised as either Roman Catholics or more conservative Protestants, such as Missouri Synod Lutherans. Invariably, the reasons they say they like it is that there is no judgment, that everyone is so friendly and it feels like a community, and that the services are uplifting.

ETA: This has had an effect on the efforts of the local Catholic parishes to keep people from “defecting.” For example, there’s a parish very close to Willow Creek, which was a brand new parish at about the same time that Willow Creek was gaining megachurch status (back in the 80s). The new parish built their sanctuary with stadium-style seating and no kneelers! Pretty out there at that time! :eek: And, sometimes they have multi-media presentations at Mass and that kind of thing, as well.

Sarahfeena - Okay, I read that as “keep people from defecating”, which I thought was pretty mean. And unhealthy.

StG

The nuns can be pretty strict, but not that strict! :slight_smile:

Sarahfeena - We have six or eight nuns in full long habits that teach at the school in my parish. They seem to strke suprisingly little fear in kids, and often get hugs after Mass. They must be doing something wrong.

StG

I attended a mega church sermon once. They gave out free Krispy Kreme donuts before the service started. That, and the large flashy music and lighting displays were about the only things I enjoyed (since I’m an atheist).

So are we talking about Christianity or are we marketing a used car dealership? It seems like they do the same things… :confused:

Well, I said strict, not mean! And I have to say, my personal experience with nuns has been 100 percent positive…they have all been wonderful, caring people, and the ones who were teachers clearly loved children. So, I’ve never quite gotten where they got their reputations for being hardasses, unless it’s that they earned that reputation a generation or two before mine, when times and the Church were different.

I’m impressed that the sisters at your parish school wear full habits! At my parish, there are only a couple, and they don’t wear habits at all! :frowning:

Sorry for the double post…forgot that I meant to address this, as well. I think that the megachurches are indeed in the business of marketing God. Way back when Willow Creek was gaining momentum, I commented as much to a member. She looked a little askance at me and said she didn’t really like to think of it as “marketing.” But she couldn’t deny that it was working!

Sarahfeena - Our nuns are members of the Nashville Dominican community. It’s an incredibly youthful and vital community, with the average age of the sisters 35. THey are getting so many postulants they had to add on to the motherhouse so they’d have room for them all. In the last 15 years, the number of women joining the order has gone from 3-4 per year to about 15 per year.

I’ve known mean nuns and sweet nuns. My great-aunt was the mother superior of her order before she died.

StG

Wow…that is awesome, that the community is havimg so much success. I have heard that traditional communities and orders are starting to revive. I have a soft spot for the Dominicans…my husband was taught by their sisters in grammar school, and their brothers in HS. They did a great job shaping him up! :).

Of course, nuns are like anyone…they all have their own personalities and foibles.

Sorry for the hijack, everyone!