The Prestonwood Worship Center in Texas has 24,000 members and a 14-acre campus, complete with a cafeteria, school, bookstore and gym. (ABCNEWS)
March 27, 2005 â€” Americans are known for their love of "super-sizing" â€” from French fries to cars to houses â€” and on this Easter Sunday, many Americans are celebrating on a much larger scale, in huge congregations known as "mega-churches," where people can do much more than just worship.
These mega-churches are places where members can not only pray, but work out in a gym, eat at a food court or browse in a bookstore. And they are becoming more popular across the country.
For the Ellis family of Plano, Tex., church is not some chore to attend to on Easter Sunday. It's not even just a Sunday outing. The Ellises spend as much time at Prestonwood Baptist Church as they do at their home.
"In our family we almost kid, because we spend so much time up here, just because we love it," said Johnson Ellis. "There's just a lot of fun things up here."
Amen, Danny! The church is the place, for Christians to worship, study, and be prepared to do battle with the outside world, which even means family members at times. It's the church not the physically related family that comes first.
Maybe instead of spending as much time at the mega-church as at home we should go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. Instead of the kids hanging out, the parents should be training them up in the way they should go and instructing them in the Word of God. Rather than dad working out, perhaps he should be engaging in spiritual exercises. If we were dead to the world and alive unto Christ, then we wouldn't chase after the things which appeal to our flesh (the "there's just alot of fun things up here" part) Is our belly our god? Do we have a form of godliness but deny its power? The family is important yes, but only in as much as it is a family centered on Christ and dedicated to picking up one's cross and following Him. Has anyone denied himself lately? Does this sound like denying oneself? We cannot even be a disciple of Christ unless we do -- but we sure can have alot of fun. In addition to the hearts of the fathers being turned back to the sons, the Bible also says that Christ came to turn family members against each other, two against three and three against two. This is what happens in many cases when one abandons himself to Christ. Shopping, coffee sipping, eating, working out, playing games, etc. can all be done just fine without God.
"Too many people make the family the center of their worship, and not Christ, it should be understood that Christ takes precedence over even physical members of the family. The family thing, has too many roots to Mormonism."
Confusing statement especially if you see that the Christian family is the church in miniature in the home and that the church is the body of Christ. I think you need to read what the Bible has to say about husbands, wives, children, divorce, adultery and other family ills. Many families have Christ as the center of their worship in the home and the main reason for family emphasis is because of the Bible's exhortations in this crucial area...Mormons are doing better than many other churches in this arena (most people want their ears tickled when it comes to this family stuff), but thankfully if you search hard enough you'll find a few other churches that are Christian, Biblical, and reject the modernist and liberal ideas that are tearing families to pieces or redefining what a "family" is. Be careful you don't throw the baby out with the bath water.
This disgusts me. The people just contemplating what they are going to do as soon as church gets out; that's the picture I get. They don't pay attention, they are not listening to the sermon. How long are the services? If the Pastor is anything like his congregation, it will be short. I base this on experience. Growing up it was Wednesday night prayer-meeting that was the case. Our church was wonderful, but the other children could only think about getting out and going to the gym to play basketball. I would end up going along, but I hated participating. "We were just in prayer, and all you can think of is basketball?!" I never spoke aloud though. Maybe it was because my athletic abilities came to a grinding halt a few years before this, I don't know. I just know that if it could happen in my church, it will happen in a church with even more to distract from prayer. I would love to extend this even more, but I'm afraid most of you Mega-Church supporters would just skip most out of boredom. I can continue through email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
What does a Biblical view of the family have to do with Mormonism? While the spiritual relationship of the church is more important if we must decide between the two, to pit them against each as if one is important while the other is not seems both foolish and unbiblical. They are two of the three spheres of government that God created are they not? Each with its own spheres of authority and responsibility?
The family is the basic building block of both the state and the Church isnâ€™t it? Strong Christ centered families will both strengthen the Church and make a more stable state, will they not?
When the average Church and the average â€śfamilyâ€ť ministry promotes (or just remains silent about ) government schools, daycare, mothers working outside the home, and the zillions of age segregated special interest groups and gatherings that rip the average Church family apart they are tearing down the family and in so doing are harming both the Church and the state, arenâ€™t they?
Jim, surely zeal for the family does not necessarily oppose zeal for God, or that it has anything to do with Mormon heresies? Western culture notwithstanding, God is greatly concerned about the family: see the Decalogue. See the whole book of Proverbs, repeatedly addressed to "my son." See the pastoral epistles (e.g. 1 Tim. 5:8). We ignore these to our peril.
In any case, Reformed concern for the family antedates Joseph Smith.
John, I get so will have to read my comment again, but I didn't say anything about shopping on any day. I was comment on mixing secular with the sacred. It seems that Jesus ran the money changers out of the Temple.
I suppose one minor problem, when stores are open seven days a week, it could be made hard for people to go to church, on the traditional day of Sunday. As you probably gather, I really don't care if any provision is made for Saturday or Friday.
I can agree with you on this one, Neil. Too many people make the family the center of their worship, and not Christ, it should be understood that Christ takes precedence over even physical members of the family. The family thing, has too many roots to Mormonism.
Jonathan, I am familiar with and agree with much that Vision Forum advocates. The more I families I meet (Christian or not), the more I'm convinced that Doug Phillips' basic message is correct - the hearts of fathers need to be turned to their families before any serious revival will happen. Daily family devotions (the "family altar" as some call it) is a good way to start. Chapel Library has an issue of "Free Grace Broadcaster" devoted to this subject: www.mountzion.org/fgb/Summer04/FgbS-04.html
"It's better than going to a secular theme park, that much has got to be true."
Why? What is the difference that makes it better?
Many years ago the moonies were described as "the church that breaks up families". What is the difference to this? I suspect none except that these churches start a lot younger and do it with parental consent.
The "family" is a biblical concept that Neil is defending. It is "mega-church cultural isolationism" and the fragmenting of the family unit that is lacking biblical support.
Of course you're not getting through. Your authority should come from scripture. And as of now, you have yet to base any comment on that authority. Instead, all you have done is make reactionary accusations.
Still better than a theme park under the world's influences. At least dad, mom, and the kids are all at one place instead of dad at Gold's Gym, the kids at another store, and mom having coffee downtown. It's good the kids are at a church campus school also. From the way this family talks, it sounds positive and not contrary to the family.
Sounds fine to me. How's this undermining family unity? Research shows that people who get married in church have a better chance of staying married. It's better than going to a secular theme park, that much has got to be true.
This out more like a shopping mall with a church tossed in as an afterthought. People always find excuses for not worshipping God. Here is a church organized in such a way, that probably many of the parishioners can find things to do to avoid worshipping God entirely. :-(