Brian Bailey Preface to the Revised Edition

Mega-Church Formula

The Ft. Worth Star-Telegram ran a front-page article this weekend on Fellowship Church called Ministering to the Masses [limited availability]. The impetus for the article was the release of the annual church growth report, which featured Fellowship as the 5th largest church in the nation. It is truly amazing to be part of such a dynamic place!

The article is well done, and features some excellent photos, but it does fall into the formula of nearly all mega-church articles.

1. Begin with a telling factoid that helps define how large the church in question is (ideally reference traffic jams, attendance or hospitality figures, or the size of the auditorium).

2. Compare to Disney World, theme parks, or other entertainment complexes.

3. Quote happy attendees who are amazed that church is fun.

4. Question the spiritual depth of something so popular, with the pastor's response.

5. Quote disgruntled seminary professor who thinks it's all bunk.

6. Depending on the writer's perspective, conclude with one of two sentiments, either you can't argue with success, or be warned, tele-evangelists used to be popular, too.

The fact is, each large church is unique and tends to share only superficial similarities. In my experience, particularly at Fellowship, the emphasis within the church is not on the size, but on the individuals, the families, and the life-change that happens each and every weekend.