Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Is church for flocking?

Many megachurches today are market driven. The process and planning in starting a megachurch is like starting a business with growth is projected if it will cater to the needs of the focus people mostly young moneyed married professionals. This is reasonable because these people can extend financial support to the church and could provide the needed expertise that the church will need in the future. Strategic plans about the growth of the church looks more like a business strategy than ministry. Its leaders talk about marketing and outreach plans. Its visions and mission statements sound like it belongs to a secular successful business establishment. The leaders themselves act more like executive rather than lowly servants of God.

I had seen churches like these. I had the opportunity to attend a mega church while I was in Manila. The church is identified to be the church of the rich and the famous. In fact some famous celebrities are attending the church. And I was not surprise at all to find out thousands of people were indeed attending the church but except for younger children, all the people were of the same age. I could not see older people around. The people all look the same to me (they are all good looking), they were all young adults, they wearing the same clothes, driving the same car, and talking the same language. This is not bad at all and although I felt uncomfortable around these people who are so economically different, they are Christians and they are wonderful. As I was leaving the church I can’t help but smile and thought of my own small church in the province, I can’t help but be glad as faces of wiser older people whom I come to love so much flashed before my mind and I could not wait to go home, see and be with them again.
In relation between the generations, the function of the Christian congregation is to build up mutual trust between the old and the young. But the necessary premise is that we also see our fellowship as a fellowship extending over the different stages of life, and so learn to understand others in what they were and as people as they can be, the possibilities they have lived with and the possibilities that are going to offer themselves in the future.

In modern society interest in past or coming generations is appallingly slight. We are experiencing breaches with tradition on the one hand… Awarenes of the present is losing a sense of the present’s origins and its future. That is already becoming plain from the fact that people prefer to meet with people belonging to the same age group. The Christian congregation must swim against the tide here, for it is in a position to do so. Of course it is valuable to have groups for children, youth groups, women’s and men’s groups, and groups for older people; but when the birds of a feather flock together, that is not yet a fellowship in the Spirit of God, which spans time. Fellowship in Christ begins first with the acceptance of other people, and interested participation in life that is different from our own.

Jurgen Moltmann, The Source of Life: The Holy Spirit and the Theology of Life, 98.

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