It is an American phenomenon above all. It’s rather frightening. The mega church (or these two words joined together) is a term used to describe a Protestant, Evangelical or Pentecostalist church of more than a couple of thousand worshippers at regular Sunday services. Recent research lists about fifty churches in the USA with more than ten thousand each Sunday, up to forty seven thousand in one case. It is a developing phenomenon in the US and South Korea, where one church has more than 830,000 members. The Roman Catholic Church as a whole, or in the USA, is not considered a mega church because it is not Protestant.
Some mega churches have been known for “cultish” practices, and they generate enormous amounts of money.
Here is a short video about a mega church imported into the US from Australia, led by a thirty-five year old pastor:
Does this bring people to God? Perhaps, but I find it too distasteful. It is as alien to me as its secular archetype – the rock concert. A fix for addicts? I really wonder.
I know what brings me into the presence of the Transcendent:
Perhaps there is room for both, and we should be tolerant about the cultural “vehicles” Christianity uses to win people’s hearts. I have no experience of mega churches, but I have of York Minster!