Salvation Life Church

Doctrinal and ritual requirements may discourage a “feel good” ministry and inhibit the rapid growth of today’s megachurch. This did not happen to the Salvation Life Church, a non-denominational evangelical church in Houston, Texas. The membership of this church has been doubling every year. Senior paster Robert Roberts (“call me Pastor Bobby”) sees himself as more an emcee than a minister. Indeed, when you look at the numbers, the church has more reach on cable television than from using the church building itself. Its amazing growth and its dependence on television has shaped its ministry in many ways. Instead of featuring hymns sung by the congregation, the Fellowship features paid choirs with professional soloists. Instead of a sermon, the service features testimonials from members (or scripted by actors) and dramatic readings. Each segment is planned out to allow for the broadcast of prerecorded pleas for blessings and offerings. With pastoral care and production taken care of by his large staff, Pastor Bobby sees himself as more of a personality or salesperson for God. His success is measured in donations and new members. “In a sense,” a former member declared, “the SLC is now a business, and not really a house of God. Maybe it’s not even Christian. Bringing people to Jesus is not what it gets paid for.”