The influence of megachurches is a prominent reality for today's pastors and at times a source of frustration and misunderstanding for pastors of both the large churches and the neighboring smaller churches. LEADERSHIP invited two pastors, one whose church casts a big shadow and one whose church of the same denomination is within that shadow, to address the relationship. John Aker pastors First Evangelical Free Church of Rockford, Illinois, which averages 2,300 Sunday attenders. Chris Tornquist pastors nearby Shiloh Evangelical Free Church, a congregation planted forty years ago by First Church and which averages 150 attenders.
Thriving in the Shade
On a recent Sunday evening, I listened as our pianist played the prelude on our aging piano and couldn't help but think of the extravaganza occurring just a few blocks away. There, in the 2,200-seat auditorium of First Church, was the "second show" (as the local newspaper reported it) of the annual piano festival, featuring twenty pianos being ...1