About Mega Churches
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Article Topic: 
Cell Church

Before you read further, let me assure you I am totally committed to the New Testament Church flying with two wings: the large group wing and the small group wing. The large group wing is not only valid, but required for balance. The issues I will discuss relate to “big churches” that attract attention because of their size.

Why are we so impressed by “big” churches? Where did we get the notion that if a church swells in membership it is extremely “successful” and should be copied?

We cannot find a “successful megachurch” anywhere in the New Testament!

Christian workers flock by the thousands to attend “Successful Pastor” seminars, learning how a megachurch gets so big. Thus, many pastors of multi-thousand member churches offer courses annually for those who want to learn how to get “big.” But they know nothing of a two-winged church that gathers the cell groups for the large group celebration.

I once went on visitation with a pastor of one of the largest churches in America. I observed his charming way as he dazzled the young couple who were awed to have such a famous man in their home. Both accepted Christ. As we drove back to the church, he said to me, “Ralph, the contrast between us is that you have a shepherd’s heart. You would spend a great deal of time with this couple, helping them to mature. I am not like you. I know how to practice “churchianity.” I know how to attract a large congregation. But for me, from now on they will just be members in the pew.”

I will never forget the sadness his comment triggered in me. Seen everywhere on billboards and on television, selling books compiled from sermons, and admired by the “lesser lights” in the ministry, he practiced “churchianity” (His word, not mine!) He didn’t have a clue about life in Basic Christian Communities.

Have you ever looked at Christian TV and realized how you are transported from one huge crowd to another? Consider what this describes to the viewers who are unchurched. How many of them gave up on “churchianity” that gave the impression that big meetings are all Christ has to offer?

The large, impersonal patterns of “churchianity,” the ornate buildings providing country club luxury for the “joiners,” is a far cry from the ecclesia (called out people) portrayed in the New Testament. Our generation is imprisoned by “churchianity” values which are a light year—plus two galaxies—from the Body of Christ desribed in the New Testament!

True Body Life creates a community of men and women who are baptized by the Holy Spirit to become hands and arms and inward parts for the Incarnate Christ. They do not gather by the thousands to listen to sermons. They meet in small groups.

They live in total transparency. By “transparency,” I am not talking about “honest confession of all our faults” to one another. Transparency is not necessary to reveal what we are inside. That’s already transparent! All of us have sinned. All of us have throats that are like open sepulchers. All of us have departed from obedience and have become depraved. That’s transparent without “transparency.”

No, something much more important is involved here. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 3:18,

“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”

Aha! That is what total transparency reveals—the Incarnate Christ, manifesting His inner Presence as we edify and prophesy and pray for healing and deliverance. 1 Corinthians 14:24-25 explains that when the true church exists, it will always be a small group of people who are formed to become a Body for Christ. Then, when the unbeliever or ungifted one is present, the transparency of every single part of that body reflects the Lord’s glory. Note that “all are prophesying!”

A cell group is the true Body of Christ, not five thousand sitting in rows observing one man’s charismatic activity. It is the Basic Christian Community where Christ can be transparently observed. To repeat: the Body of Christ is not composed of a crowd of people sitting in rows, watching the power of one man strutting on the stage! It is a gathering of transparent people empowered by Him, revealing Him to observers!

When those cells cluster, they can fill stadiums. In fact, in November of 2002 the Elim Church in El Salvador will congregate 150,000 people in a service that will be the largest mass meeting in the history of the country. But that meeting is composed of cells!

Do you know how many people in your community are longing for that? They are countless! It is far more important that we ask, “How small must we become to become the authentic church of the New Testament?”

 
Copyright © 2017 Harold Weitsz