Megachurch as Refuge

There’s a lot in here I think you guys will like, but I remain deeply moved by the idea of the megachurch as a reenactment of most people’s corporate lives, but with genuine niceness and people being able to choose to be there.

I get kind of creeped out by megachurches, but this has stuck with me all day and I don’t know. Seeing the megachurch like that–as a sacred drama in which the corporate life is enacted but in a way that goes manageably for the the participants?–it makes me feel… I don’t know… compassion might be too strong a word. But it makes me feel less snootily disparaging.

Which I guess is weird. And it makes me think a lot about what the shapes of my own holy life say about the things I feel out of control about, the things I need divine soothing over.

3 thoughts on “Megachurch as Refuge

  1. As a glass-half-empty kind of person by temperament, oh, how I loved that. I must have that book immediately. Somehow, I haven’t read any books by Ms. Ehrenreich since Nickel and Dimed, but have always had great respect for her.

  2. Megachurches can be refuges but then so can any form of church. In my own Presbyterian Church USA there are congregations that are highly insular in their membership for reasons that have everything to do with the image members hold of what the church should be. Some more liberal churches could be regarded as unwelcoming to anyone with a more conservative theology. Many conservative churches take this to the extent of trying to leave the PC USA for other denominations like the PCA.

    Let me suggest that the greatest appeal of megachurches is that they have become a replacement for ‘community’ in the lives of members. For many people neighborhoods are no longer the unifying places that they once were. There are doubtlessly many factors for this including more crowded lifestyles and safety concerns.

    Megachurches offer many aspects of community. From child care (mother’s day out to day care) to education to after school activities to supper clubs to Bible study to mission work, there is something for members of all ages.

    Smaller churches are more limited in their ability to offer some of these elements of community. Interestingly, one of these is mission work in the larger community. Megachurches have the resources in people as well as money to undertake projects that smaller churches cannot do without help. Size also allows megachurches to not rely on the same people all the time, something that leads to burnout.

    Megachurches are not perfect and they are not for everyone. But many of them accomplish a great deal of good that might not get done by smaller churches.

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