November 1, 2012

Megachurches, "Non-Denominational" Christianity

Are Megachurches really "Non-Denominational"?


I grew up thinking that one's religion was a personal, private matter, and that it was not something you would flaunt in public. Certainly as well, I felt uneasy of praying in public, not because it was frowned on in society (it most certainly wasn't frowned upon, perhaps the opposite), but that pulling a Tim Tebow "hey, look at how Christian I am, I'm praying in public, look at me!" was essentially a form of vanity. It had very little to do with Matthew 6:5-6.

These are both beliefs that I continue to hold as an atheist, as I'm not one to give the public eye the obvious note that I'm an atheist, one t-shirt withholding, and feel uneasy even about advertising this blog or exchanging business cards. Thankfully, most of the audience has been gained from word-of-mouth.

I imagine that a lot of this has to do with that the church I did go to as a child was a very small one. We had a small parking lot, and neither the parking lot nor the congregation were ever packed-full. I don't know how many seats we had, but there couldn't have been 100 people in the congregation on days that aren't Easter or Christmas.

We also had a service that wasn't what you would call exciting. There were no tvs, no microphones, and the band we did have was pretty infrequent from what I remember. From most of my childhood, there was no band actually, and wasn't until 2006 that they were frequent.

ELCA Christ The King Lutheran Church
That big dome is where service is held, one side is the kitchen,
one side the daycare and washrooms

So it's of no surprise to me that they're in debt, and are putting the property up for sale. Actually, they've been in debt for a real long time. [And at the time I finally published this article, a space in the building has been rented out, and are no longer actively looking to sell]

You know what church has more than 10,000 seats for it's congregation, a flatscreen wall tv and camera crew, surround sound microphone, bands, and I'm assuming little to no debt?


Church on the Rock
No, that's not a mall. That's a church.




That is the larger of our three local megachurches (if going on no less than 2,000 members), Church on the Rock, or as my family calls it, "Cult on the Rock".
A "Megachurch" is defined[1] as a church with a very large regular attendance, and the Sydney Morning Herald[2] giving numbers of 2,000 or more as a megachurch. Church on the Rock has 4,900 regular attendants[3].


Church on the Rock, second building
Their other building is across the street.
I never went into this one.


If you remember, I wrote an entry regarding COTR before, and yes, I do feel my criticism on them is fair. And it's not just because of the cult-like attributes that my family and I see in them (seriously though, I don't think putting a sticker on a new person in order to signal them out as new so that people flock to them is healthy), but I also suspect that these "Non-Denominational" Megachurches are killing smaller churches[4] in the same way that McDonalds is said to be killing mom-and-pop restaurants. There also comes a point when "Non-Denominational" is of itself a denomination, especially when there's a rise in these Non-Denominational megachurches in the country. As I've said before, if you want to study the bible in a non-denominational way, study it independently instead of having a "non-denominational" pastor teach it for you, but don't preach it lest you want to become like these sketchy churches. Also, I call the church Non-Denominational because that's what every person I've ever met and asked has called it, so though COTR-International doesn't classify itself as Non-Denominational, I'm going with the colloquial term.

As well, at least the one day I went to this church, the sermon had very little to do with the Bible or Christ's teachings, but on personal morality and salvation, and how the Haitians made a deal with the Devil, which is why the earthquake happened, so don't be like the Haitians. Also, come up on stage and be born again!

I think these churches need to read the Bible just a little more closely. And not just the feel-good parts.

Also remember, these huge buildings are tax-exempt.




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