You’ve probably heard about mega-churches, I’m guessing. Huge crowds, thousands of attendees, but…
The pastor acts like a rock star…
The band acts like rock stars…
All they want is your money…
You’re just a number to them….
I’m sure that there are places where some, or all, of those things are true. The problem with churches…is that they’re composed of people. And, people do stupid stuff. And, selfish stuff. Embarrassing stuff. Sinful stuff.
Except for me. And you. (Actually, I’ve heard a few things about you, so I’m starting to think I might be standing alone. 🤷🏻♂️😇)
Anyhow, I used to be a member of the pastoral staff, and I’m related to the pastor (by marriage). We were there to celebrate the dedication of a new worship center.
Yes, the music, stage, lighting, sound quality, and volume had SOME things in common with a rock concert. A REALLY GOOD rock concert. But, the rock star persona was nowhere to be found.
The worship music — especially the lyrics — was obviously designed to point the listener/worshipper in one direction: towards a holy God, with a heart of love, grace and redemptive power for those who worship Him…as well as those who are fallen, broken, and far from God. He STILL loves them.
Interspersed with the songs were short personal stories — previously recorded — by a hodgepodge of attenders: different races, sizes, shapes, backgrounds; young and old, from middle-schoolers to a lady who started attending this particular church thirty-one years ago when she was sixty-nine years old. (Do the math: she’s 100-years-old.)
One 40-something guy shared that, years ago, he had been desperately trying to kick a drug habit, without success. His buddy, in the throes of addiction himself, suggested he try this particular church. He did…and found help…freedom, faith, hope…a changed life.
A single mom told this story: After attending for several months, but not getting involved, her teenage son died at home in a tragic accident. The EMTs on the scene asked her if she had a church home. She told them, “Yes, I attend Seacoast, but they don’t know who I am. I’m just a number.” She was stunned when, in about ten minutes, TWO pastors, including the Lead Pastor, showed up to pray, comfort, and provide assistance. She said they never left her side during the ordeal…and that’s how she survived…and realized she was much more than a number.
The stories kept coming. Lots of them…along with my tears. I’m telling you: hearing people share about how their lives were changed because someone (pastors and parishioners) reached out in love to help them when they were at the bottom…. Somehow, I think that might actually qualify to be placed in the column of things that Jesus would both do, and approve of.
There were also two guest speakers, of note. The mayor of Charleston — who is a Democrat —thanked the pastor, emotionally, for coming to his office when the city was in a time of crisis, and leading a time of prayer where, he said, he had “never sensed the presence of God in a greater way”, and the crisis was resolved. He also thanked the church for “taking a stand” when the city encountered dark, dangerous times due to the mass shooting at Mother Emmanuel Church.
Then, U.S. Senator Tim Scott — a Republican — talked about how the pastor has been a mentor to him for over 22 years, and thanked the church for providing over 4,000 meals to the grieving church family at Mother Emmanuel during that tragedy, contributing to a spirit of healing and reconciliation in the city.
Oh, yeah; one other thing: They don’t take offerings.
They. Don’t. Take. Offerings.
People give — voluntarily, with no pressure — because they want to, and they go out of their way to do it: on-line, or by dropping their offering in boxes scattered around the auditorium.
Yes, there are some juicy, scandalous stories out there about mega-churches and pastors. Just remember: it may not be true…you don’t know the whole story…and, not all mega-churches are the same.
And, this type of environment might not be for you. That’s okay. No one is forcing you to attend a mega-church. My church home has an average weekly attendance somewhere in the 300-400 range, I think.
But, I’ve gotta tell you: Seeing a church that cares more about the people OUTSIDE of their four walls than they care about themselves, and doing something about it…making a HUGE difference in the lives of people they don’t even know — in their community…in disadvantaged areas…and around the world — I kinda felt like I had encountered Jesus, or someone who looked a lot like Him.
Well done, Seacoast.
I love you all. ❤️🙏
2 thoughts on “I Attended A Mega-Church This Past Sunday”
Having attended such a church in the Chicago area, I agree with you. Granted it was only one but I left with a new view of that church.