hairylunch (hairylunch) wrote,

Churches, learning, worth, and growth

So, I said earlier that I was "slightly scared to go to Saddlebak" [sic]. For those who don't know, Saddleback is the church that Rick Warren founded. To be more accurate, I wasn't scared . . . slightly intimidated perhaps? I grew up going to a pretty large church (over 4,000 in attendance now). Saddleback is currently the 4th largest church, with 22,000 weekly attendance.

Anyway, their campus is huge, with tons of buildings. My parents had been before, so it wasn't a big deal navigating the campus, but if I was a first time visitor, I think it'd be a bit confusing. Anyway, apparently nothing to be too intimidated about. While the auditorium is large, and it is a Southern Baptist church (which scares me a bit with the speaking on tongues thing . . .), the sermon was pretty typical for the post-Christmas sermon, focusing on how one can begin or deepen their relationship with God.

I've generally been impressed by large/megachurches, as they do a good job of building community, and reaching out to the masses. Of course, megachurches have issues, mainly in that while they're good for introducing people to God, they don't do well at leading to a deep relationship. This can be extracted out to any large organization - think colleges or the like, where the amount of true learning that occurs, as opposed to students jumping through hoops is debatable.

One of the big issues with both churches and college classes is that they tend to be lectures, and don't address different learning styles. Saddleback addresses some of this by encouraging the congregation to take notes and be engaged. It seems the programs typically have outlines, with fill in the blanks, and they have slides which help you complete your outlines. Not a huge step, but a step none the less, and maybe one of the few that can scale to a large auditorium.

Rick Warren didn't speak though, as apparently they had something like 16 Christmas services. I was curious to hear him, particularly as he's been drawing the ire of gay rights' advocates after his selection for the invocation for Obama's inauguration . . .

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