Sunday, February 4, 2007

Oh dear sweet God, why?

Church compared to Starbucks. This unchurched little girl says, "the hell?"

As previously mentioned, I have issues with megachurches. So, it was with great interest that I read this article at the Washington Post. A Washington, D.C. area church is expanding rapidly and rather than helping start independent churches in the area, they are going to build satelitte churches and broadcast their worship service from the central church to the satelitte churches. Franchise churches! FRANCHISE CHURCHES!

Yes, I was raised in a Restoration Movement church, and while I have a number of issues with the Churches of Christ, I'm in many ways a Restoration Movement thinker. Read as, I think congregations should be reasonably independent of each other. Not that they shouldn't work together, or that there can't even be a certain amount of an extra-congregational unifying structure (obviously, not a straight RM thinker here.). But each congregation should be able to function as a independent unit -- not simply as a geographically disjointed extra auditorium.

Depending on their location, different congregations have different needs. An inner-city congregation has vastly different needs than a congregation in a rich suburb, and a rural congregation has yet another set of needs. (BTW, there are even more differences, I know of rural congregations that need a kick in the seat of the pants more than anything, and of rural congregations that while I respectfully disagree, I find to be honest, and genuinely in search of the truth.) Franchising religion can't accomplish this! Religion is not a case of one size fits all. Nor does one coffee suit all.

The article brings up a good question at the end of the article. Is this plan intended to bring more people to Christ? (A goal, which while I, personally, wouldn't place pre-eminence on, is understandable.) Or is it to glorify the leaders of the megachurches and further inflate their egos.

Then there is my concern that ministers be able to minister to the individuals in their congregation. Or maybe just to keep the other ministers from harming the individuals within the congregation. But I already ranted about that.

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