If you are like many pastors, some Monday mornings can be very blue. Your sermon did not go as well as you had imagined. A widow complained to you after the worship service that you did not visit her in the hospital. She figures she is not as important to you as she thought. Perhaps she needs to change her will and not leave a chunk of her estate to the church.
It rained, was cold, and attendance was down which meant the offering was down. Both the mortgage payment and staff salaries must be paid before another Sunday. Three laypersons turned you down for leadership vacancies saying they did not have time or were not interested.
While watching the morning news, and enjoying your coffee, you hear that a mega church in your state announced Sunday they are opening a new location less than a mile from your church. Everywhere they have opened a new site, it has sucked the young adult families out of the surrounding churches.
This mega church is known for investing more than a million dollars in start-up costs for each new location. They do what they do with high quality. You cannot compete with them even if you wanted to. You actually do not want to duplicate what they do because it does not fit your theology or philosophy of congregational ministry.
Maybe the pastor of the mega church will preach something many consider heresy like that the 10 commandments were just suggestions that need to be updated to fit modern culture. Nah! That would never happen.
Maybe the pastor of the mega church will preach a happiness and prosperity gospel so that anyone serious about following Jesus would realize that is a false gospel. Nah! That would never happen.
Maybe it will be discovered that the pastor of the mega church makes hundreds of thousands of dollars per year from the church, has huge book deals, and lives in a big house that costs more than a million dollars, while many of his staff with children make so little money that they qualify for government economic assistance. Nah! That would never happen.
Since none of these things would ever happen, how will your church survive this onslaught? Can it? Perhaps it is time for you to find another church in which to minister that is far, far away from any mega churches.
When this situation arises, what can existing churches do? First, they can try to change their style and compete. Talk about something that would never happen. They can change. But compete?
Second, they can do nothing because they know they are the true Church, and they do not need to stoop to the standards of the mega church. Their church may already be plateaued and declining so it would not change their future that much. Besides they only have a limited number of young adult families with children so they do not have much to lose.
Three, they can use this as an opportunity to redefine who they are under God’s leadership and refine where they are headed. A strong possibility exists they are truly a unique congregation within God’s community of congregations. They are composed of a group of people with a robust set of spiritual gifts, life skills, and personality preferences.
It is just that they have been unfocused in their vision for ministry excellence, and unintentional in the actions they take to meet the real spiritual life needs of real people in real time. They have the potential for a new journey. Their motivation to engage in significant change may be the new mega church. If so the mega church is actually doing them a great service.
The pastor later discovers many lay leaders in the church are motivated to engage in transition and change because of the coming of the mega church in a way the pastor has never been able to move them forward before. Perhaps this should actually be seen as a great opportunity to become focused and intentional. Hey, this may actually be a good thing. How will you respond?
The mega church is likely to reach a group of families your congregation has never been able to reach. So, a mega church is coming to your community. Good thing or bad thing? Which is it?