For the discussion of spirituality -- from LDS and non-LDS sources
- Posts: 5682
- Joined: 14 Mar 2010, 04:55
Off the Wikipedia articles about megachurches and McChurches. I see similarities and differences with our own, more on that later. I think general conference comes closest to megachurch in the strict sense.
Civil rights activist and Baptist minister Al Sharpton has claimed that megachurches focus on personal morality issues while ignoring social justice issues.
While precise definitions of a McChurch also differ, McClory attempted to list the following common elements, which he found at Willow Creek and other similar churches:
Presentations and sermons with an emphasis on entertainment, use of modern theatrical technology, and a heavy "feel-good" tone, at the expense of religious experiences such as guilt and self-sacrifice. McClory described the overall sermon content of such churches as "the basic salvation message in contemporary dress and without any of the bitter side effects."
The incorporation of revenue-generating businesses within the main church building. This included bookstores, nurseries and day-care centers, gyms, and cafeterias.
Majority of attendance and offerings come from meetings that, according to the church's own theology, are not valid church services. For example, the pastor of Willow Creek, Bill Hybels, emphasized that his popular weekend and Sunday services (attendance at the time of the article, 16,000) are "not intended as worship in any formal sense", and are officially designated as informal meetings to attract the "unchurched." The church held its official services (attendance, 4,500) on Wednesday and Thursday nights.
Primarily located in suburban and exurban areas, ostensibly to attract higher-class attendees and boost donations. McClory noted that Willow Creek is located in a remote, wooded area, and all attendees required an automobile to attend. He also reported that the church's attendees are almost all drawn from the surrounding upper-class subdivisions of northwest Chicago suburbs.
Near-complete lack of religious symbols in and outside the church. Except for a cross-shaped cork bulletin board, no religious symbols could be found either in or around the Willow Creek complex. Likewise, traditional church elements were replaced (e.g., instead of pews, attendees sat in cushioned movie-theater chairs).
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."