Viewpoint: Is the Catholic Church Ready for the Megachurch Movement?

by Msgr. M. Francis Mannion

The Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California, originally affiliated with the Reformed Church in America, was probably the best-known megachurch in the U.S. Designed by renowned architect Philip Johnson, the church was founded and led for many years by its famed pastor, Robert H. Schuller. The largest glass building in the world, the church has a seating capacity of over 2,700 people.

christcathedralinterior
Christ Cathedral Interior

In 2010, the Crystal Cathedral filed for bankruptcy, and the building, along with the surrounding facilities, was sold to the Catholic Diocese of Orange for $57.5 million and was renamed Christ Cathedral. The building is currently being adapted to the requirements of Catholic worship and will reopen in 2016.

The Crystal Cathedral belonged to a relatively new category of Protestant churches called megachurches. These hold very large numbers of people and have an extraordinary array of ministries. The largest megachurch in the U.S., Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, holds 16,800 people. The largest megachurch in the world is in Seoul, South Korea, and seats 26,000 people.

The advantages of megachurches are that they have a relatively high number of specialized clergy and a large body of well-trained lay ministers and volunteers who provide education for all ages, youth and young adult ministry, bereavement programs, and (extensive) charitable outreach.

The principal disadvantage of Protestant megachurches is that often there is a megapastor whose personal charism (in preaching, particularly) is the foundation of the church. When the megapastor leaves for one reason or another (scandal, mismanagement, illness, age), the megachurch can experience crisis and even failure. (When the highly charismatic Robert Schuller reached his senior years he was no longer able to function at the Crystal Cathedral, with the result that the latter began to fail, hence the sale to the Diocese of Orange.)

How the re-named Christ Cathedral will function as a Catholic church remains to be seen. Will it be able to incorporate the strengths of the megachurch and avoid the pitfalls? Can it become a model for the Catholic Church generally?

I would answer yes to both questions. In dense Catholic population areas, for instance, a diocese could amalgamate, say, five parishes, sell the buildings, and in their place build one large centrally located church, holding perhaps up to 4,000 people.

Instead of five parishes with five pastors, there would be one parish with five priests (even less, if the vocation shortage continues). Each priest could have a job description carved out according to his gifts and talents (preaching, counseling, education, etc.). Instead of a meager lay ministerial and administrative staff, the parish could have a more ample supply of expert personnel.

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Christ Cathedral, Diocese of Orange California

A Catholic megachurch would have the resources for liturgical and musical excellence. It could have perpetual adoration, confessions daily, and be open twenty-four hours a day seven days a week for operating such things as crisis ministry. It could run a small medical clinic for the poor.

What would a Catholic megachurch look like architecturally? Certainly, it would not take the modernist, functionalist Christ Cathedral as a model. On the other hand, a long, narrow basilica-style building like that of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. (which holds about 3,000 people) would not work either. The floor plan that I favor would be more like that of St. John’s Abbey church in Collegeville, Minnesota, which is wide and short.

In my opinion, the megachurch movement could serve the Catholic Church well. It would, of course, have its own particular problems. But that’s for another column.

 

Msgr. Mannion is pastor emeritus of St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church in Salt Lake City. Reprinted by permission of Catholic News Agency.

31 comments

  1. In terms of size, many Catholic parishes would be considered megachurches; one common size benchmark would be a church that draws 2,000 or more worshippers per week.

    http://hirr.hartsem.edu/megachurch/definition.html

    The same site explains why they exclude Catholic churches from consideration:

    “There are several reasons we have chosen not to include Catholic churches: First, we do not solely use the 2000 in attendance figure as the only characteristic to define a mega – rather it is a host of characteristics that create a distinctive worship style and congregational dynamic. Our studies and readings of worship and the congregational life of Catholic Churches has not convinced us that most very large catholic churches really function like the Protestant megachurches. There are a few that we have come across that do, but most don’t have strong charismatic senior ministers, many associate pastors, large staff, robust congregational identity that empowers 100’s to 1000’s of weekly volunteers, an identity that draws people from a very large area (sometimes an hour or more) and across parish boundaries, a multitude of programs and ministries organized and maintained by members, high levels of commitment and giving by members, seven-day-a-week activities at the church, contemporary worship, state of the art sound and projection systems, auxiliary support systems such as bookstores, coffee shops, etc. huge campuses of 30-100 acres, and other common megachurch characteristics.”

    The site concludes that Catholic parishes “don’t seem to have the same internal dynamics at all.”

  2. I found Msgr. Mannion’s comments intriguing especially in light of the precipitous decline in the numbers of priests available to pastor local churches. I can see those who believe that the church can’t truly be Catholic without the leadership of celibate men jumping on to this bandwagon. Large urban dioceses could build a certain number of these campuses and just fold congregants into them as their former parishes become unsustainable. Gee, maybe this will reduce the pressure of ordaining married men and even women (NOT THAT!) to the priesthood.

  3. I know many will disagree, but I believe in the economy of scale when it comes to sizing parishes. A parish with many thousands of members, if run well, can minister to individuals even better than a small parish operating on a shoestring budget. In my city there are numerous Catholic parishes, many of them barely clinging to life, all competing for a dwindling population and resources. I’d fold them all together into one and focus on providing excellent worship and ministry to start growing our Catholic population rather than shrinking.

    1. @Scott Pluff – comment #3:
      I know many will disagree, but I believe in the economy of scale when it comes to sizing parishes.

      Um, you saw the part where the church filed for bankruptcy, right? How’s that for economy of scale? The truth is that if you don’t have church built on the rock of Peter, it can get so big it collapses. I am not advocating an old school ethic, just pointing out that bigger is not always better and affords no true economy.

  4. One characteristic of the megachurch is intentional and strategic growth. It’s not just growing because the neighborhood is growing-hang out your shingle and maybe some people will show up. It’s about having a specific strategy to reach the unchurched, engage them, challenge them to live their lives as Jesus’ disciples, and turn them into armies of dedicated volunteers to reach more unchurched people. This is how Rev. Schuller turned a handful of congregants meeting at a drive-in movie theater into reaching 1.3 million people per week via their televised broadcasts. Rick Warren at Saddleback Church is a current example of having built an enormous congregation from humble beginnings. Are we ready to study how they have been so successful at growth and apply their wisdom to our parishes?

    Intentional and strategic growth is a foreign concept to most Catholic parishes. Even inching in that direction can be highly controversial. “You only care about numbers!” But numbers are people, God’s children who need spiritual care.

  5. I’d suggest that typical Catholic urban and suburban parishes in the USA tend operate as a cluster of communities with habitual attendance at a given time of celebration of Masses on days of precept. If there’s a parochial school, the families with children ini that school tend to function as another community in the cluster.

    My sense is this dynamic militates against certain characteristics of megachurches. It’s neither a huge community nor small groups. It’s something, however, that many American Catholics know in their bones without having any words to describe it in neat categorical terminology.

  6. The success of most if not all ‘Mega’ Protestant churches is based largely on a Charismatic pastor. People come in droves to hear ‘The Man’. This is quite foreign to us Catholics. The focus is away from the priest (or at least it should) and is on the encounter with Christ in His Word and in the Holy Sacrament. I disagree with the commitment of the members, our people demonstrate a tremendous spirit of mission. Our emphasis is most often a witness of service rather than to emphasize filling our pews.

  7. I vigorously disagree with Msgr. Mannion. McLiturgy in hockey stadium sized churches is not the way forward for “western” liturgical Christianity. In fact, I would say that the more positive recent movement in liturgical Christianity is the emerging church movement, where the focus is on small intimately involved congregations. I think here of Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber and The House for All Sinners and Saints, which recently had to cancel an evening service due to burgeoning numbers of worshippers. Her desire to keep her parish small and intensely focused on word and sacrament is a testament to the superiority of a more intimate liturgical experience than massive consolidation as a supposed cure-all for a sacerdotal shortage.

    I don’t know how to break this to PTB regulars, but licit Catholic traditionalist parishes are very successful on a number of fronts. First, parishioners are there day after day, Sunday after Sunday. They don’t do C&E or go to Mass to keep up family appearances. They want this liturgy earnestly and will do anything to make sure the parish prospers. Traditionalists also donate generously and volunteer frequently. Everything comes together to create a smaller but very intense parish community. This could never happen in a Crystal Cathedral.

    I think that liturgically progressive Catholics can capture some of the traditionalist verve. The secret is to realize that the small parish model is not a barrier to evangelization but rather a conventicle of religious activity and even a heartfelt fervor. I’m just not sure of the ingredient blend which can change many local, middle-of-the-road Catholic neighborhood churches into more cohesive communities. I do know that 2000+ person liturgy will hinder community, regardless of liturgical ideology.

  8. I wholeheartedly agree with Jordan. I would take it a step further…In terms of economics, people buy name-brand products and services because of the quality associated with the “name brand.” Parishes who protect the “name brand” of Catholicism get more “customers.” That’s why liturgically – minded parishes (those that offer a distinctly Catholic worship experience) grow, and why liturgically watered-down Catholic parishes dwindle.

  9. I think Msgr. Mannion misses some of the more important dynamics of growing congregations (“mega” or not). The size of churches considered part of the “Protestant megachurch movement” (and I wouldn’t say it’s one movement at all…) are, as Jim Pauwels pointed out, not substantively different from average to large Catholic parishes in the US. By size alone (especially if parish registrations are counted), a significant minority and near majority of Catholic parishes are “mega churches.” In contrast, Scott Pluff is spot on in naming the growth/discipleship emphasis of “Protestant megachurches” as the more important feature.

    In asking, “How the re-named Christ Cathedral will function as a Catholic church remains to be seen,” Msgr. Mannion seems to imply that the building style drives whether or not a congregation is growth and discipleship oriented…and that connection seems weak. There are evangelizing congregations (Catholic and non-Catholic) of many diverse building styles.

    Finally, the “megachurch movement” is not a new development for the Catholic Church to be “ready for” as the title suggests–its been around for quite a while 🙂 The more recent notable trend is in the multisite church movement (which includes many congregations in the “mega” size). I think the multisite trend is a better, more relevant comparison (for example, http://wp.me/p30bnx-oF) because it incorporates many of the dynamics of multiple locations, shared resources, etc. that he names.

  10. This is a fun thread (thank you, Mgsr Mannion!), and so many things to respond to, that I won’t do it justice. But I’ll do a few random thoughts, hoping to contribute to the conversation.

    * A few dioceses have already chosen this model, especially some SoCal dioceses, especially the Diocese of Orange. I wouldn’t be surprised if the West and the South go this way, as they growing quickly, versus Scott’s description of the Midwest and East of too many parishes. Although I think we find this in suburban parishes quite often. I’ve also seen it in Eastern Washington, where one parish, serving many Latinos and migrant workers, claims to be the largest parish west of the Mississippi–10,000 families at St. Patrick’s in Pasco, WA.

    * Like Protestant megachurches, these need to still create and nurture small communities to be successful.

    * I don’t see the trad-vs-lib argument. I can envision this in parishes all varieties. (And side note: I know in my progressive parish, people come weekly, and match Jordan’s description line by line of traditional parish, so I’m not sure how it relates to the subject at hand.) All the things Jordan describes can happen (or not happen), in parishes large or small.

    * I agree with Jordan that the megatron hockey stadium issue needs to be looked at closely. Are we suggesting that a church is so big that you’ll need to broadcast this overhead, just so the assembly can see what’s going on? Satellite campuses? Etc. My one and only Papal Mass was a terrible experience for that reason (and we’ve discussed that before on this blog). More simply: is there a point that such a church too big? That no one can be more than N feet from the altar?

    1. @Chuck Middendorf – comment #11:

      On the other hand, our parish’s worship space is “sized” for a typical Sunday congregation, and on Christmas and Easter we resort to several ‘satellite’ rooms on our parish campus where we broadcast the liturgy via CCTV. It would be nice for those occasions to have a single worship space that seats several thousand so that all can be gathered as one.

  11. Regarding the charismatic pastor effect: my observation is that this happens in Catholic parishes, too. When a new pastor comes in, there is some turnover in parish membership – some leave (some perhaps even following the old guy to his new parish) and some new ones join and/or former members come back. And typically there is some staff turnover in the first couple of years.

    I’d think that most of us can think of magnetic Catholic priests we’ve known who had the ability to attract worshipers.

  12. Some consolidation is in order but why in the world would that make Catholic parishes resemble Protestant megachurches rather than the large Catholic parishes that already exist?

    For better or worse, we don’t have a free market of spiritual leaders that rewards the gifted. Large parishes can be stuck with barely comprehensible priests. We also don’t tithe.

    Instead of attempting to copy what can’t be copied, play to our comparative advantages. We have cheap highly educated and dedicated labor, brand loyalty, a network that’s the envy of the world, and economies of scale. But don’t the megachurches have the economies of scale advantage? You’re thinking too small. Megachurches can reach an hour in any direction. The Catholic Church blankets the globe. Megachurches wish they could have as many satellite campuses, or as we call them, parishes. There’s no reason why a diocese or even a national conference can’t develop common resources. It amazes me that most parish websites still look like they’re hosted on Geocities.

    The flip side of economies of scale is one-size-fits-all. McDonald’s does well with its uniform offerings but some people prefer Chipotle. Will these Catholic megachurches have EF masses? Are these megachurches supposed to replace ethnic parishes too?

  13. Mega churches, Catholic or not are usually headed by a dynamic pastor who preaches well and the music moves people. Lose one of those and the Mega church becomes the next Costco. If the Glass Cathedral was such a vibrant place of worship…what happened?

    1. @Ed Nash – comment #15:
      This is a valid concern. The megachurch model does rely heavily on a charismatic, dynamic leader who is the face of the church. (Could the same be said of the local churches founded by the apostles when they were sent out to spread the Gospel in foreign lands?) When that person eventually moves on due to old age, sickness, scandal or other reasons, the church has perhaps a 50% chance of surviving the transition to a new leader. Some churches fail to make that transition and they go into decline or even collapse.

      Rev. Schuller led an extraordinary ministry that thrived for about 50 years. In that time, millions of people heard his message and I imagine not a few lives were changed and people were won over for Christ. Since his retirement and the decline of Crystal Cathedral Ministries, many of those people have left to join other churches or perhaps some have fallen away from the church. But does that mean that he should never have started it in the first place? Because there was a chance that particular congregation might not go on forever?

      If a dynamic pastor can build up a parish over 10 years, or 20, 30 or more, let the flowers bloom in their season. Don’t let the possibility of winter snows prevent the spring flowers from blooming.

      BTW, I heard an anecdotal story of former CC congregants who are now joining the Catholic cathedral parish that has taken over the facility. Maybe God’s plan was to have Rev. Schuller build it up over 50 years, then pass the baton to Bishop Vann.

  14. I’d think that most of us can think of magnetic Catholic priests we’ve known who had the ability to attract worshipers.

    Indeed. One of the three priests at our university student parish became so popular (charismatic style, loving, warm personality) that they stopped listing the celebrants’ names for upcoming Masses. 🙂 Everyone wanted to attend Fr. Jake’s Masses.

  15. I think there are several issues here.

    Firstly, we have forgotten that we need to distinguish between a parish and a community. There is a limit to the number of people who can be in a church at the same time without it losing both intimacy and the ability of every member of the community to know all the others by name. Joseph Gelineau used to put the maximum as 200 in the congregation, even though (or perhaps because of his experience when) he presided over greater numbers than this as the pastor of a central Paris church. Having worked in a large S. California parish with 1000 people at each of seven Masses (and this is not large in comparison with some of the other parishes in the diocese, let alone parishes on the east coast, which can be much bigger), I think Gelineau’s number is unduly pessimistic; but very few French churches possess the kind of architecture that can enable 1000 people to gather and feel like one body instead of a collection of bodies in a Gothic tunnel.

    But the question still remains: can very large congregations ever constitute an authentic celebrating community? Those who have been present at large diocesan gatherings or papal Masses may well say Yes, but the price paid there is a certain anonymity, as well as a totally different dynamic to the celebration. (The danger of spectacle and entertainment instead of prayer needs to be avoided.)

    Secondly, we need to remember that there’s a big difference between establishing a new large church in a brand new neighbourhood that is set to burgeon as the years go by, and consolidating a number of existing parishes into a new and larger “Saint Hub” just because the smaller parishes are no longer financially viable. The new church has no memories or traditions to trample on. In the case of existing parishes, one question to ask is “How do we keep the flame of faith alive in these communities?” In the case of Saint Hub, we need to ask how we are going to deal with the problem of those (young people, older people) who need transport to get them to the central location, as well as with the “community memories” of those who were baptized, confirmed, married and saw relatives and friends buried in a particular place.

    I have seen that sort of merging work successfully, where a parish with a much-too-small church and five or six out-stations spread over many miles amalgamated into a new parish (with a much larger church) in a new and neighbourhood; but it took a lot of time and sensitivity to achieve this. The pastor spent many months talking to people, and the actual process of transferring people’s minds and hearts to the new church started the day that the foundation stone was blessed when the building was not yet even an empty shell.

  16. One parish that has pretty explicitly gone for the megachurch model is Nativity in Timonium, MD, which has been discussed on this blog a couple of times (here and here). Though our discussions of Nativity have tended to focus on liturgical issues, it has many of the other features of a megachurch, including a laege, highly-specialized staff. One thing it lacks that Msgr. Mannion mentions as a possible benefit for Catholics is multiple clergy: the pastor at Nativity is the only ordained person on staff. There are a lot of full time lay ministers, but they can not provide things like daily opportunities for confession, multiple daily Masses, a robust sacramental ministry to the sick, etc.

    While I don’t feel much attraction to a true megachurch model, I agree somewhat with what Scott says about economies of scale. I belong to a very small parish with an average weekend attendance of about 150-60. Sociologist often identify this as the largest number that will allow for a real sense of community, and we do have that, but I would also say that I wish we had a bit more in the way of resources. Not so much financial resources (though of course that would be nice), but people resources. Conventional wisdom is that the percentage of people in any given parish who do more than come to Mass is around 10%. We might be somewhat higher on that count, but it still comes down to about 25-30 people who do all of the things needed to run the parish–things that need to happen regardless of the size of your parish, like offering religious education for young people or having some sort of social outreach. People sometimes end up being asked to do so much that they burn out and drop out entirely. So too big might be a problem, but too small can also be a problem.

  17. Paul’s comment about the relatively modest scale of French churches has me wondering to what extent mega-churches are a phenomenon enabled by the continuing urbanization of the US. Here in Illinois, we have many, many small Catholic churches; they are in small towns in the vast swath that we Chicagoans refer to as “Downstate” (although some of it is actually “up” or “across” from Chicago on the map). My observation is that, by and large, these small-town parishes do not seem to be growing, because most small towns in the upper Midwest do not seem to be thriving.

    The best and brightest from these places graduate from high school, go off to college somewhere, and don’t return; they end up in Chicago, or on the West Coast, or the Sun Belt, or wherever else the good-paying jobs are.

    It seems to me that if the Catholic church wanted to undertake a focused, disciplined evangelization strategy, that would be a key demographic to focus on: the “best and brightest” transplants from other areas.

  18. Mega churches (prod.)model are still a new venture. Do we discard the wisdom of the ages of having parishes serve a local community where the shepherd can ‘smell the sheep’ to quote a phrase, or do we create one massive parish. A woman from my parish (I have about 1000 coming on sunday) buried her mother from a mega parish in the mid west, the mother in her younger years served on various committees and worked hard there. In her old age she had to be content with a EM every 2 weeks. At the funeral the pastor did not even know her name, and constantly consulted a card, called her by the wrong name once or twice, and knew nothing of her past. I feel for the pastor because we sometimes run from one thing to another. But for the most part that would not happen at a smaller intimate parish.Im told that most protestant Maga pastors are not available to their congregants, and often charge big bucks to have him preside over a wedding or funeral. As a priest I like the local church model better, even when it means taking on more than 1 or 2 churches. As an old pastor once told me ‘nobody ever died of hard work’. And I’m in my 60s .Time and it’s tests will tell.

  19. Another important consideration is how tied the “megachurch” model and small groups/discipleship groups are…lasting megachurches are successful in getting participants in Sunday worship to take the next step and connect with a small group and/or serve in a ministry. It’s not just about being big and having people attend worship–it may look like it’s the preaching of a single leader as a driving force, but in reality it’s the network of small groups and ministries on the ground that enable true growth (spiritually and numerically). Moving people deliberately through stages of evangelization and discipleship is the critical piece for Catholic parishes to better embrace [and some already do], size is less important to the model than growing disciples.

    1. @Colleen Vermeulen – comment #22:

      “in reality it’s the network of small groups and ministries on the ground that enable true growth (spiritually and numerically). Moving people deliberately through stages of evangelization and discipleship is the critical piece for Catholic parishes to better embrace [and some already do], size is less important to the model than growing disciples.”

      Our parish has active ministries and small groups, but the demographic reality is that there are very few who are plugged into these activities who are younger than Boomer age. It’s like there is a demographic cliff.

      I attended a meeting of ministry leaders recently. It was surprising how many said, “I’d love to be able to find someone to take over this ministry, but so far I haven’t been able to find anyone.” These are people who were on fire 5 or 10 of 15 years ago, but as the years march on, energy ebbs, health declines and people burn out.

      I think I’m beginning to understand how the members of women’s religious orders felt 30 or 40 years ago: “Hmm, I’m still one of the younger ones here, and I’m getting older every year. Where are all the younger sisters?”

      1. @Jim Pauwels – comment #24:
        I have also known parishes to try small-faith groups, only to have them fizzle out after initial enthusiasm wears off. Or settle into a handful of small groups that may stagnate in membership. This is often the case when a parish already has umpteen organizations vying for people’s time.

        Nativity parish has, I believe, around 300 small-faith groups. But consider the list of things they do not have: a men’s club, a women’s club, a Legion of Mary, any kind of parish picnic or other fundraisers, no quilters, no seniors club, no PTO, no Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts, no athletic program (GASP!) and no parish grade school (double GASP!!) They had to disband a whole lot of parish organizations to reorient those people into small-faith groups.

        In my parish council’s discussion of Rebuilt, everyone is all for starting new initiatives. But at any suggestion that we stop doing something longstanding to free up time/energy/money for a new initiative, that’s where we hit, “but you can’t do that.”

        If a parish cut out all the fundraisers (no picnics, dinner auctions, scrip sales, special collections, etc.) to become 100% stewardship-funded through the Sunday collection, many parish organizations would no longer have a reason to exist. They might get so bored that they would consider gathering to pray or study scripture instead!

      2. @Scott Pluff – comment #27:

        Scott – I am sure you are right re: the stewardship focus; and in fact we consider ourselves a “Stewardship Parish”. It’s worth noting that the particular meeting I attended didn’t include leaders from any ‘fund-raising’ ministries and groups; it was the set that we group under the rubric “Human Concerns”: jobs, food pantry, prison ministry, hospital visits, et al; the sort of ‘social/others’ focus that I expect we rightly view as core to our Catholic mission and identity.

        I’d be curious to know whether mega-churches are experiencing the same intergenerational challenges we’re experiencing, or if they’ve bottled a secret sauce that addresses that mega-issue.

  20. I am all for the economy of scale up to a certain point – the pooled resources of larger parishes certainly do provide staff and programs that smaller parishes cannot manage on their own. But among the concerns with looking to the mega-church as a model the one that seems to me most important for readers here is the size of the worshiping assembly. Sure, numbers in the several thousands or even much greater can be handled for special events, but there must come a point (and I suspect we hit it well before the 3-4K mark) at which distance from the altar and other parts of the assembly become sufficiently detrimental to true cooperation in a single action as to render them unsuitable for weekly parish worship.

    My other major concern is the distance from homes to parish preventing a mega-church from weekday (as opposed to merely Sunday) community and engagement. I only live 20-25 min. from my parish and that distance certainly dissuades me from taking advantage of evening opportunities for formation and prayer. So the question here might be “What advantages would a single-site mega-church offer over the pooled resources of several smaller parishes/worship sites?”

  21. I certainly hope we don’t go the path. I grew up in the shadow of one of the earliest megachurches — the Cathedral of Tomorrow. Headquarters for the Rex Humbard ministries, the place could seat over 5,000 people, in a town of 40,000. When Humbard relocated to Florida, the place gradually faded away. The building is still there, along with its partially-completed television broadcast antenna, but the only part still used is The Cathedral Buffet.

    We also had two (later three) Catholic churches in town, two with schools, all of which remain open to this day. The loss of a single figurehead hasn’t led to their failure.

    That doesn’t seem to be the Megachurches’ legacy.

  22. @Scott Pluff “If a parish cut out all the fundraisers (no picnics, dinner auctions, scrip sales, special collections, etc.) to become 100% stewardship-funded through the Sunday collection, many parish organizations would no longer have a reason to exist. They might get so bored that they would consider gathering to pray or study scripture instead!”

    Spot on. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  23. I attended a service in this building once with Rev Robert Schuler presiding. I think the mega chuch concept is part of the largest growing type of Evangelical Protestantism in the United States,that is prosperity christianity. Prosperity Christianity as preached in these mega churches is a doctrine that teaches that those who financially support the ministries of the Church are guaranteed God’s choicest financial blessings. You know, you too deserve to be a millionaire. That was the message from Reverend Schuler the day I was there, well we know how his ministry ended.

  24. Sean. Rex’s cathedral of tomorrow now houses ernest angley’s grace cathedral. Not as big a star as Rex but very entertaining none the less.

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