Friday, April 27, 2012

"Megachurch pastor" as perjorative?

I am about to walk out the door to head to do a wedding out of state, but I wanted to weigh in very quickly, as the General Administration committee of General Conference considers the Call to Action report. I know that there has been some heartburn at Adam Hamilton's presentation to the plenary session about the stakes of the restructure, and as somebody who does not support the Call to Action report as currently written--and who sees it as an affront to connectionalism--I share the heartburn.

There is also frustration at the young adults on twitter who have been against the CTA proposals (and, it seems to me, a great majority of the voices seem to be against it). One knock is that folks are calling Adam Hamilton a "megachurch pastor," as if this is a bad thing. I think there is a great misunderstanding here. First, of course he is a megachurch pastor. Church of the Resurrection has over 10,000 members. There is no question. But the reason folks are calling attention to the size of his church in relation to his advocacy, I think, is that it is the anomaly of COR's size that puts him outside the mainstream of United Methodism. Of course someone who pastors a megachurch would like the Call to Action report. He doesn't need the agencies. COR functions in a top-down model. This is not bad. But it is not mainstream, and it doesn't reflect the United Methodist Church at large.

Think of it this way. Who paid for the video production that Adam Hamilton gave at the plenary? The Interim Operations Team. Who produced it? Church of the Resurrection.

"Megachurch pastor" is not bad. But it does speak to Adam Hamilton's perspective. I have GREAT respect for Rev. Hamilton. In some ways he is keeping United Methodist theology alive. But he does have a unique lens, for better or worse.

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