Yesterday, I posted asking if you preferred a large church or a small church. Today, I want to quote a couple of paragraphs from a book I am reading and ask for your response. This quotation is taken from Ruth A. Tucker’s book, Left Behind in a Megachurch World. The quote comes from the introduction of the book on page 16. When you read “left-behind church”, it is the author’s way of describing the typical small church in America, which is under 100 members. Ruth Tucker writes:
Left-behind churches are in a unique position to reach out in community service with the love of Christ and to be countercultural – particularly in the area of materialism and self-centeredness. Left-behind churches can reach out in their neighborhoods more effectively in many ways than can the megachurch. They are part of the community themselves, and it is out of their poverty that they most effectively serve others.
That is not to say that megachurches are not concerned with caring ministries. Indeed, to suggest that megachurches do not give money to help tsunami victims would be mean-spirited and false. They sponsor mission projects and have access to volunteers and funds that no left-behind church could ever match. But in matters of lifestyle, the megachurch mentality promotes an outlook that embraces materialism far more than repels it. In that realm, the megachurch world has abdicated its responsibility. And, considering its very nature of being defined by size and success, can it ever be a credible advocate for a Christianity of sacrifice and self-denial?
Do megachurches, by their very nature, promote materialism and self-centeredness? Does the small church better reflect the Christian ideals of caring and self-sacrifice?