By: Neal Cole I believe that a mega church can be organic and missional…but not start multiplying spontaneously. Addition can certainly be possible for a healthy mega church and addition is far better than subtraction or division–which we all seem so gifted at. A mega church is far better at addition than the micro church, so if the choice is addition via mega church or not adding in a house church I would choose the mega church. But I would rather see multiplication than addition, which is far easier to find in the micro church than the mega church. This is the reason I am so invested in the micro church.
Why is this? Because simple things with no cost can multiply far easier than complex entities with a large price tag. That is just the plain truth of it. The larger and more expensive your church is the less likely you will multiply. Addition becomes easier with the momentum of church growth, but multiplication becomes harder.
Some of my mega church friends may not like this fact, but it is hard to argue with. So is there a solution? Yes, I believe there is, but it involves openness to starting something very different than the mother church.
In our book Church Transfusion Phil Helfer and I write about how a mega church can grandparent movements by giving birth to a form of church that can radically reproduce. So in that sense a mega church can indeed be part of catalyzing movements, but they must reproduce something very different. This has a tendency to violate the culture of many mega churches, but is nevertheless possible. Perceived success can be the greatest hindrance to movement in mega church world. What merits success (numerical growth via attractional ministry) in mega church world works directly counter to a multiplication movement. Logos and egos are the enemies of real movements, but are often central to a mega church. If a mega church can realize this, and start a different kind of church, it can grandparent movements. That is a tall order, but I believe it is possible, and some are doing it.
All that said, the reality is that many house churches do not multiply spontaneously either. You see the issue is not a church problem but a disciple making problem. As long as we view church as something important for us rather than seeing ourselves as important for the world we will not reproduce, in a home or a cathedral.
Too many of us pragmatic Western Christian leaders want a practical solution that will ensure success. This drives us to adopt models and methods for what only faith can produce. E.M. Bounds once said, “Men are looking for better methods, God is looking for better men.”