Statistically speaking, most of the readers of this blog serve (as volunteers or staff) in churches of less than 400 attenders. A say “statistically” because the majority of churches in America don’t count weekend attendance in thousands. Yet, our culture tends to view megachurches as the omniscient source of knowledge for the how-to’s of ministry.
There are several prominent megachurches in our area of the country. In fact, I was a full time staffer for one of these places for years. There are certainly great things going on in megachurches and I know we all desire to see great things in our church too! But all too often I see church leaders visiting, touring and quizzing the staff and designers of megachurches with the wrong focus.
Take for example, a particular architectural detail around the IMAG screens at a prominent church in my region. I’ve walked into countless worship spaces, built by growing churches that REPEAT THIS SAME DETAIL! Did a little reveal here, a recess there make sense for MegaChurch A’s worship space? You bet. Did it look cool? You bet. But, in Church XYZ’s new worship facility, did it make any sense? Nope.
Folks, we’re focusing on the wrong lessons to learn from the megachurches in our country. Which microphone Faith Fellowship of Such and So uses isn’t relevant information. Why? Because replacing every microphone at your church with a particular brand or model won’t make your worship experience automatically sound as you desire. Always using a Stewart projection screen won’t make your IMAG look like TVPreachChurch’s last service. Nor will buying a bunch of the same lighting gear as a church that seems to be on a move.
What can we learn? Large churches have often figured out how to make large events highly repeatable. They’re process and elements of their leadership structure can be extremely valuable, and highly transferable.
Let’s replace the “what moving head wash do you use?” with questions like these:
- How do you prepare for a event / experience / service?
- Who is responsible for ____?
- What role do volunteers play in events / services?
- What does training look like for non-staff people, or for staff people?
- What lessons did you learn in designing and building this facility?
We can all learn from visiting other worship spaces. Let’s carry home applicable knowledge and learning with us to make a big impact in our own church!