A Mennonite Megachurch?



The megachurch movement that began about thirty years ago is bearing unappetizing fruit.  Clearly, we cannot inhabit the planet the way we have been for the last 50 years.  We also cannot allow multinational corporations to shape our lives with their marketing and gadgets.  It’s sad to say, but when the church began adopting practices of corporations and reduced the gospel to its most marketable size, we lost our mystery, our wonder, and our imagination.

Younger people are turning to faiths like Buddhism that are more mystical and inspiring, or they are turning to agnosticism.  Younger Christians are not so different.  We are looking for something that captures our imagination, something that is worth living for.  We’re not content with a magical afterlife.  We want to embody the kingdom of God now.

Mennonite theology affirms that we can experience and share the kingdom here and now.  The life of the Spirit invites us again into the story of wonder and mystery.  We don’t have to live as lonely Christians going to a building to listen to music and preaching.  We can live together as we were created, in the image of the God who is three and one, the divine community.  We can embody heaven on earth as we work at reconciling deep racial and economic injustices.  Indeed, we can take the Sermon on the Mount seriously and join the story that God has been telling from the beginning.

Seth McCoy, “Widening the Circle: Experiments in Christian Discipleship.”   179-180.  Edited by Joanna Shenk.

What are the implications when churches adopt corporate practices?  What is gained or lost?  In what ways does Mennonite theology affirm the ‘here and now’ experience?  Can a Mennonite church be a megachurch?


  1. Jordan · October 18, 2012

    I could write a book on this. Maybe I will one day… it’s one of the things I am most passionate about. Here is the key question for me: is the church an information-delivery mechanism, or is it a relational meeting place?

    If our primary goal is to deliver accurate information to as many people as possible, then megachurches and online ‘churches’ are the way to go. Dynamic speakers are the way to go.

    But if our primary goal is to draw people into closer relationships with one another and with God, then the Megachurch is a broken and counter-intuitive model.

    • Chris Lenshyn · October 18, 2012

      Good thoughts Jordan. The themes you speak of point to the problematic nature of straight up adopting many of our corporate world’s mechanisms. As you say, they are growth via information. And yes. I look forward to the book you will most likely write! 😉

  2. David Warkentin · October 18, 2012

    I put this on Facebook, but I’ll put it here too. Along these lines, I wonder, Purpose-driven Anabaptism?


    • Chris Lenshyn · October 18, 2012

      That article you reference eerked me when I saw it a while back. Didn’t sit well. Mainstream radical’ism’ seemingly molded in likeness to a corporate world that is not seemingly concerned with relationality, let alone community and peacemaking… (love your question at the end BTW).”

  3. len hjalmarson · October 19, 2012

    Chris, having pastored a large, mostly conservative, mennonite church I can tell you from experience that mega is not an option – the size of the parking lot needed for all those horse-drawn buggies disallows a larger building!

  4. Pingback: Apple, Evangelism, and why I wouldn’t make a good pastor. | Faith and Frustration

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