Wednesday, August 11, 2010

If Cuba and the Mega-Church Were to Intersect

New churches in Cuba used to get started when a family would donate their houses for remodeling and repurposing. When Castro became annoyed by seeing these houses converted into church buildings, he made it illegal. Unwittingly, he started one of the more successful church planting movements of the past few decades.

When people saw that they couldn’t create new church buildings, they decided to simply do church in their homes without converting the structures. This way of doing church turned out to have a larger, and faster growing, impact on the culture. The way it normally worked would be for people to plan a service and invite everyone on their street. When people said they weren’t interested in attending, they would get prayer requests from the neighbors to pray for during the service. Typically they would start getting questions about a week later. “Did you really pray for that request I gave you last week?” “Yes, why do you ask?” “Because my request was answered!”

This way of doing church produces thousands of new churches a year. The growth in Cuba is explosive.

What would happen if one of these huge, factory-like, multisite mega-churches in the United States tried something like this? Most of these churches are simply hundreds of little churches gathering together, away from their neighborhoods and communities in a little city unto themselves to do “church” in a corporate setting. What if they instead scattered back across the city in the neighborhoods where they lived and impacted these streets for the kingdom? Wouldn’t thousands of houses have more reach than three or four satellite campuses?


  1. Explosive is the word for Cuba - it is amazing to watch. Mum and Dad's courses are exploding in their use in Cuba - which is fantastic. I wish we had the hunger for the Word here in Australia like that.

    On another note, and this is probably the wrong way to put it, but generally I think it takes more Christ-like character to make small house churches work than a large corporate church. A small church requires people to be more humble and serving and mix with who they have, than a large church where you can easily disappear, mix with whoever you like (and not with whoever you don't like) and no one needs to serve that much really because they can afford to pay for things to get done or it's too easy to say/think "someone else can do it" or "I was going to but Jack beat me to it". Take that with a good "generalisation" pill of course.

  2. Good thoughts, Phil. I think what you say may be viewed as another argument in favor of smaller churches. The goal should be church multiplication more than church growth.

  3. There are certainly arguments for and against smaller and larger churches. Maybe as you say, church multiplication is a better goal. Something to ponder.


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