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How a (Protestant) Megachurch Reaches the Pews (and draws in catholics)
Catholic Answers ^ | May 30, 2013 | Peggy Frye

Posted on 05/31/2013 2:23:21 PM PDT by NYer

The Rock megachurch, San Diego, CA

This past Sunday, as my husband and I were pulling into the parking lot of a local Trader Joe's store we noticed throngs of people suddenly swarming into the parking lot. My immediate thought was either Trader's was having a fantastic Memorial Day sale, or it was a flash mob preparing to do something weird. Then I saw the Bibles. Since we rarely frequent this store's location, I had forgotten that The Rock megachurch was right across the street. Then I remembered reading somewhere that the Sunday attendance at this church was in the thousands.

As we waited for the pedestrian traffic to thin out, I lamented to Hubby that it's likely that most of those people leaving The Rock church were lapsed Catholics. No surprise there. Having attended a megachurch for many years myself, I understand the powerful draw of an emotionally-charged worship service, where the stage resembles a rock concert, and the sermons are motivational and inspiring. Some of the most spiritually vulnerable are the poorly formed Catholics who don't understand even basic elements of the faith. Years of faulty catechetical instruction both in the home and in the parish have produced spiritually malnourished Catholics. So, it doesn't take long before the salvation message of the well-intentioned pastor, whose message contains just enough truth to draw the Catholic in, does just that. This is so tragic!

On the drive home, I couldn't stop thinking about all the lapsed Catholics at The Rock who abandoned the Church for a praise 'n worship site that makes them feel better. It made so sad. All I could think about was bringing them back to the sacraments, especially the Eucharist where they can experience the amazing love and grace that Jesus gives us through his body and blood. But it always goes back to the same question, "How do we reach them and bring them back?" There are many approaches; but, to me, evangelizing the parish should be our focus. By strengthening the spiritual foundation of our own parishes, there would be no reason for anyone to leave! After all, where would they go (cf. John 6:67–68)?

Instrumentum Laboris states:

Parishes are places where a person receives instruction on searching for the truth, where faith is nourished and strengthened and where the Christian message and God's plan for humanity and the world is communicated. They are the prime communities for experiencing the joy that comes from being not only gathered together by the Spirit but prepared to live one's proper vocation as a missionary.

One thing I've learned through the years is to pay attention to what works and learn from it! So, my next brilliant idea was to check out The Rock's web site to see what they are doing on the ministry front that could be adapted to fit the needs of a parish. When I got home, I googled The Rock and found lots of interesting information. Some of what I found was the typical Evangelical misunderstanding of Catholic teachings, but their ministry web page was impressive. Much of what they are doing on the ministry front can be adapted to fit the needs of a parish. They offer a wealth of classes for all different ages, backgrounds, and experiences. Many of these ministries even have mission statements.

Here are some examples of ministry offerings as described on The Rock's site:

  • Women's ministry: Women ministering to women for spiritual growth and encouragement.
  • When Your Husband Doesn't Believe: The mission of When Your Husband Doesn't Believe is to bring together Christian women who are married to non-Christians. To bring encouragement, build relationships with other women who have similar struggles and to understand the role of a Christian wife not only to better serve God but survive and thrive in your marriage.
  • Marriage: This fun and dynamic class will help you to build and maintain a Christ centered marriage covering the topics of God's purposes for marriage, praying as a couple, dealing with spiritual attacks in marriage and four keys to unlocking love in marriage.
  • Apologetics: The mission of Vox Veritas (the Voice of Truth) is to train believers in the defense of the faith (I Pet. 3:15), train teachers to train others (2 Tim 2:2), answer the tough questions of those who pose them (Acts 17:2-4).
  • Salt and Light exists to equip Christians to think critically, and most importantly, develop and apply a Biblical worldview to the governmental sphere, voting, and all social and cultural issues of the day.

Why not adapt some of these ministry ideas to fit the needs of your parish? If Protestants can do this, why can't we? Don't feed the excuse monster with things like "I don't have the time," "My pastor will only put up road blocks," or "I might make mistakes." We must not lose our apostolic courage. I’ll let Pope Francis have the floor now:

You might say "But Father, we might make mistakes." I might respond, "Well, what of it? Onward, if you make a mistake, you get up and go forward; that is the way." Those who do not walk to avoid mistakes make a the more serious mistake (Pope Francis).

Consider organizing a parish Bible study or an apologetics class, or maybe take an idea from the above-mentioned list and keep praying as you move forward? Find some good people to help you. If you can’t find anyone, start by yourself—God will be with you. With thousands of faithful Catholics graduating with theology degrees in this country, there must be one or two in your parish who would be happy to use their time and education to help you.

Look to Pope Francis and Bl. John Paul II as your inspiration. Be not afraid!

When the Church loses this apostolic courage, she becomes a stalled Church, a tidy Church. A Church that is nice to look at, but that is without fertility, because she has lost the courage to go to the outskirts, where there are many people who are victims of idolatry, worldliness, and weak thoughts of so many things (Pope Francis).

In the present circumstances the lay faithful have the ability to do very much and, therefore, ought to do very much towards the growth of an authentic ecclesial communion in their parishes in order to reawaken missionary zeal towards nonbelievers and believers themselves who have abandoned the faith or grown lax in the Christian life (Bl. John Paul II).

TOPICS: Catholic; Evangelical Christian; Ministry/Outreach
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To: Repeat Offender; Morgana
just remember that one day we'll be roommates.

Amen. Although, I envision a big table with barbecue, pie, and something cold to drink. I'm pretty sure I'm not wrong.

21 posted on 05/31/2013 5:18:08 PM PDT by marron
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To: Repeat Offender; marron

At the Baptist church I grew up in, the Baptist youth preacher told me that if I wanted to become Catholic that I was “On the road to hell” Want his name? Want the Church? Private message me. Yes you both are so rare as I get this “you are on the road to hell” all the time.

22 posted on 05/31/2013 6:52:39 PM PDT by Morgana (Always a bit of truth in dark humor.)
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To: NYer

Bumped for morning reading.

23 posted on 05/31/2013 8:11:11 PM PDT by TBP (Obama lies, Granny dies.)
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To: NYer
It's shoe bidnys, thass all!

24 posted on 05/31/2013 8:13:50 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Bad things are wrong! Ice cream is delicious!)
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To: NYer

Our (young) priest is so negative (his whole personality), he has driven people off. I love the Church, would never go to a mega church, but there has to be some outreach and love shown to families when so many struggle. My 15 year old has developed a dislike of the RCC, and she was Catholic schooled.

25 posted on 05/31/2013 10:39:55 PM PDT by conservative cat
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To: BereanBrain

“As to “Hymns” vs “Contemporary” music. When the Hymns were written, the WERE Contemporary.”

There was a time when secular music and religious music were separate, but since they happened at the same time they were contemporary, BUT DIFFERENT. The musical praise offered to God should always be distinguishable from what secular music offers.

There are some modern songwriters who do, however, get things right like Keith & Kirsten Getty, and Stuart Townend who, while they are popular with the youth, also write the sort of music which works equally well with an organ in a more “traditional” setting. There lyrics also contain good theology.

26 posted on 05/31/2013 11:25:30 PM PDT by Diapason
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To: Coldwater Creek

“In the Baptist church, our unborn hear John 3:16 from conception.”

They should never hear John 3:16 without John 3:17 and 18 which explain why why 16 is necessary.

27 posted on 05/31/2013 11:30:47 PM PDT by Diapason
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To: Diapason

“There lyrics also contain good theology.”

OOPS! That should be “THEIR lyrics also contain good theology”.

28 posted on 05/31/2013 11:33:32 PM PDT by Diapason
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To: GreyFriar; MeganC
I play in the church band, so of course I am biased. I have also sung in the choir and was brought up in a traditional mass (Latin).

A friend of mine that has a music store and has done sound system installations for many churches told me something that is very enlightening. He said that churches that have bands are always coming back buying more and bigger stuff, or installing a new sound system for their new building. Ones without have a small budget and only can afford the least they can get by with.

Praise Him with the loud cymbals, praise him with the well tuned cymbals.....and make a joyful noise unto the Lord.

29 posted on 06/01/2013 10:05:31 AM PDT by jdsteel (Give me freedom, not more government.)
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To: NYer

ok, you rely on PEOPLE. I will contend you should rely on GOD.

People are fallible. God is not.

Faith is only as good as the object in which it is placed.

Faith in a Man or Woman, or Religion, or Building, or Good Works, or Charity, or Love does not save.

Only Faith in God saves. The old testament saints were saved by faith in God. They looked forward to the coming of his Messiah. The New Testament Saints and the Apostles placed their faith in God, through Jesus Christ the Messiah - God Incarnate.

The other apostles did not fall at the feet of Peter. They contended amongst themselves for the faith. Most of them died for it.

Here is an interestgin question. Imagine yourself having died and appearing at the gates of Heaven. Jesus asks - Why should you be allowed in my Heaven? What is your answer?

30 posted on 06/01/2013 12:40:30 PM PDT by BereanBrain
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To: BereanBrain

Did not in the scriptures, in Hebrews speak about the need to be with other believers as well? That is why we have Christian church communities.

31 posted on 06/01/2013 4:41:43 PM PDT by Biggirl ("Jesus talked to us as individuals"-Jim Vicevich/Thanks JimV!)
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To: Morgana

Second that AMEN!

32 posted on 06/01/2013 4:57:50 PM PDT by Biggirl ("Jesus talked to us as individuals"-Jim Vicevich/Thanks JimV!)
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To: Biggirl

I agree about being in a church. What I am saying is where your salvation is.

I can’t tell you how many people I meet whose identity is with their particular brand of religion than with Christ.

For example, they might call themselves “reformed” or “baptist” or “catholic” instead of Christian.

The early church had this issue as well — Paul wrote to those who said “I am of Apollos” i.e. they identified with their pastor, not Christ.

“Do not forsake the gathering of believers” is scriptural - so we are supposed to congregate. The problem is that we loose focus on our Lord, if we put our identity in the congregation.

33 posted on 06/02/2013 1:25:54 PM PDT by BereanBrain
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