These GIANT hands are at ORU in Tulsa. They are 60 feet tall, 30 tons of bronze. I don’t know if they are a big tourist draw, but as I shared with my Pastor’s wife, they look to me like hands from hell coming up to take down a corrupt world. It’s a joke people…Oral Roberts is one of the “grandfathers” of MEGACHURCH and a businessman in every sense of the word.
A brief history:
1987: In January Oral Roberts said that God spoke to him and told him that he had not sent out any medical missionaries from the university or City of Faith. God instructed him to raise $8 million by March of the same year or God would take him home (presumably God would kill Oral Roberts or translate him to heaven like Enoch).The money raised was to provide full scholastic scholarships for medical missionaries who would be sent to other countries.
He claimed that $3.5 million had already been raised, but he needed $4.5 million more by March 1, in order to get the full $8 million and prevent God from taking him home.
1987: On April 1 Oral Roberts said that he had received $9.1 million which was $1.1 million more that was required by God.
1987: In November, Oral Roberts announced that the City of Faith would be closing down.
1988: In January, Oral Roberts discontinued the medical scholarships. Apparently he was no longer afraid that God was going to take him home.
1988: In March, the medical scholarship fund went bankrupt. If any students wished to transfer to any other institution, they were required to repay their scholarships at 18% interest.
1989: In September, Oral Roberts closed the City of Faith.
From what I read this morning Oral Roberts moved to Palm Springs and his son now owns this business and all the debt along with it.
It’s sad really. Church has evolved from capital “C” Church (what God had in mind), to lowercase “c” church (a building we’ve created to protect our beliefs) to one of the greatest SHOWS on earth. Big, BIGGER, BIGGEST, is the theme!
The mega-churches almost feel like they are more about the PRODUCTION of church under the guise of the EXPERIENCE of church then the biblical meaning of CHURCH.
I’m not saying I don’t enjoy being entertained…I do! I just don’t think it’s a requirement for my salvation. I don’t think the money spent on the production of church brings and grows more believers then the disciples did through community and just doing life together.
It’s disheartening to me to hear a co-worker of mine (another Christian) speak of a video she viewed at her MEGA-church from one of the 1st MEGA-churches in Oklahoma City (back in the 80’s). She was telling me about it this morning and pointed out that it was filmed at this GIANT church up in Tulsa and it cost big bucks. To her it was “amateurish”.
She attends a church of over 20,000 members and everything is done to a “T”. It’s hard for me to even fathom a church that size. The paid staff is several hundred people and even the childcare workers on Sunday are paid. On that same note, it’s hard for me to “believe” a pastor preaching about doing without, when he’s making the top half of a six figure salary. I suppose that’s why God didn’t place me there, now isn’t it. How much do I THINK a pastor should make?...another post
Our expectations of church have grown to exponential proportions. I wouldn’t want to be a pastor during this day and age simply for the fact of competition and potential of losing sight of the “calling” for the theatrics. Sometimes it feels like there is so much concern with the numbers (how many came, how many gave, how many were saved) that the relationship is dropped and lost along the way. BIGGER is BETTER is the underlying philosophy.
Today’s mega-churches have video-feed pastors. HEY, wait…we wouldn’t have to PAY a pastor if we just CREATE one and air our ‘video-pastor’! He’d be perfect! I think I’m on to something here…
How’s this for an intimate touch.
I can imagine it 10 years from now: Welcome to MEGACHURCH! If you are here for the first time, sit back, relax and enjoy the complimentary popcorn and soda, the show will begin in 5 minutes.
CUT TO ENDING: We hope you enjoyed CHURCH today. If you are here for salvation, please press 1. If you are here for prayer requests, please press 2. If you are here to rededicate your life to Christ, please press 3. If you are here to see “Ice-Age 2” you need to move to auditorium 3. If you are here to speak to a pastor, please leave you name and a number where you can be reached and you will be contacted within 24 hours. If you are here to see what the fuss is all about, we hope you enjoyed MEGACHURCH. Please insert your credit card to pay tithes or give to any of the ministries listed on your touch panel. The next service will be aired in 15 minutes. Please leave the auditorium in an orderly fashion. God bless you!
One of the harshest realities I ever faced in serving at church is that church is a business. Yuck! It puts such a bad taste in my mouth, even knowing this is reality! When I think BUSINESS…I think CORRUPTION. That may be my own perception, but it exists all the same.
Thankfully our current church is a business ~ secondary to being a gathering place of believers, non-believers, sick, well, hurting, celebrating, dying, living…everyone!
I wonder if the post-modern shift and evolution of church will see home-churches as the norm and whether this will draw us closer or even further from the original intent. I wonder if online churches will become the ‘norm’ in our digital age. My brother used to joke about starting a church in a mall. From what I understand, we are shifting back to ‘strip malls’ and away from mega-malls. My current church meets in a ‘strip mall’ so my brother was just a bit before his time apparently.
It could just be my own “Baby-Boomer” conflict with the “Gen-Xer’s” ideal (let alone the Echo-Boomers) or my romanticizing of what church used to be. I have already shared that the memories I hold are bittersweet and nothing disturbs me greater then hearing old HYMNS because of the immediate flashback to those days. Wouldn’t you know Contemporary Christian Music is shifting BACK to RE-mixed Hymns. I know God is laughing about it.
It seems a bit as though our EVOLUTION of church is actually coming full circle and we may once again embrace community and relationship in the flesh. I’m looking forward to this. I hope I’m here to see it.
Thank you for attending this blog session today. We hope you enjoyed the show…