Guest post by Lance Ford.

Yesterday a friend and I were hanging out and we were sharing some thoughts about the state of the church and the subject went toward the pros and cons of church styles and sizes, etc. I shared that I have recently been criticized by a noted theologian as being anti-Megachurch. My buddy said, “You should write a post about it.” So here goes.

In 30 years of vocational ministry I have served in, observed, consulted, and been blessed by churches of all sizes, shapes, and styles. The conclusion I am currently at is that size—big or small—has upsides and downsides. I have seen tiny churches pastored by guys with egos and arrogance the size of Texas. I have seen megachurches pastored by guys so humble you would think they held no authority at all. I have seen small churches do things with as much excellence as large churches and I have seen large churches that seem like nothing but a weekly performance. Of course, I’ve seen the reverse of all this as well. I want to tell you what I like about the megachurch.

Many Megachurches have been mega generous to the Missional cause

I can’t tell you how many times I have seen missional church guys striking out on their own while criticizing large churches, thinking that missional is about being micro (which it is not!), only to find themselves crawling back to a megachurch, hat in hand, asking for funding or some sort of help. Over and over I have personally been blessed or been made aware of mega churches that give finances, coaching, and resources for church planting, local and foreign missions, etc. Every Sentralized Conference we have held has been hosted by a megachurch and the staffs at those churches have always bent over backwards to serve us. The fact is that the missional movement would not be anywhere near where it is today without the megachurch.

I have many Megachurch pastor friends that are megahumble

The first time I met “Big Daddy” (I just gave him that nickname) Dan Southerland, pastor at Westside Family Church (Kansas City area) he was cleaning tables and filling drinks at an event Brad Brisco and I were running at his church. I honestly thought he was the custodian until Brad told me who he was. Dan is an incredible leader—smart, smart, smart—but he treats everyone the same and maintains a learner’s posture.

Dave and John Ferguson (Chicago) are legends in the multisite model. They are ridiculously brilliant and ridiculously humble. I know for a fact that though they founded the church(s) where they serve they take very nominal salaries in comparison to what they justly could and they continue to have eyes turned missionally, outward, toward the lost and broken, while leading great churches that have strong Attractional features.

Bob “The Rocket” Roberts has been a friend for almost 20 years. He leads a megachurch in Texas that has planted hundreds (you read that right) of churches. I worked with Bob directly for a couple of years and it didn’t work. I can’t keep up with him and he thinks maybe he’s going to be martyred sometime, so I jumped off lest I be with him on that day. He goes to crazy places and he sees the church's role in ways few others can see it. Bob is brilliant and his heart is enormous. He gives gives gives and gives. Time, energy, resources…you name it. I was a young church planter years ago and he flew multiple times to St. Louis to coach me and friend me. He would flat out not let our church pay him for his time, his flight, his lodging. Nothing. Bob is humble and I love him. I have learned tons from him and continue to do so.

Tri Robinson pioneered the Boise Vineyard Christian Fellowship, which is a phenomenal example of a church on mission to their city and the world. The onsite medical clinic and enormous community garden that produces literally tons of food each year is remarkable. Tri gave me personal time when I was wet behind the ears church planter. He is an incredibly humble and tireless leader who set the pace along time ago on what missional disciple making looks like.

Megachurches can be megamissional

I currently work with a multitude of denominations, churches, and para ministries that include megachurches that consist of members functioning as salt and light in the places they live, work, and play. These members receive world-class training, resourcing, and replenishment because of the strength and stability of the home (mega)church.

I know a lot of missional folks that think it is impossible for a megachurch to be missional. I have never believed that to be so. They somehow equate small with being the only form organic produces. It’s just not true. Because of the things I have written—such as UnLeader—many people have thought I was just coming against large church system. I regret that is the case. Overwrought hierarchical systems exist in small inward churches, led my little dictators just as much as they are found in large churches. It is not the size that is the problem. It is the system and in megachurches it is a bit easier for ego-maniacal leaders to hide behind the success curtain.  

These were just some of the things I like about MegaChurches.

When Bob Dylan went electric a lot of fans called him a sell out. Some of my friends may think I am doing that. Not the case. My music library includes playlists with Johnny Cash, MerleHaggard, U2, The Black Keys, and Led Zepplin. I love acoustic and electric. I love micro churches and I love mega churches.