I’m at a loss. I thought I knew what to expect before going, but there are just some situations in life that can’t be prepared for apparently. Most recently, the situation I’m referring to is attending a mega church. Now you know as well as I do that I’m not talking about anything that has to do with a church’s size. As an example, recently while I was visiting family in Kansas City I attended the largest United Methodist church in the USA. It is not a mega church.
Back in Denver, I visited a mega church last Sunday. What a joke. Seriously. There is no possible way someone can read a single verse from the Old or New Testament and conclude that a mega church is what any of those folks envisioned. The only people I can think of who envision a mega church as having something to do with the gospel or first or second century churches are tenth-graders who just got back from a week-long church camp. Oh, and people who were never taught that it’s okay to have a lot of money. (If you happen to be one of these wealthy heathens, check out Peter Drucker’s idea about profit in his book Management. It explains your dilemma most succinctly, I think. Profit equals responsibility–nothing more. And, yes, we’re all watching you and evaluating your decisions. So please lead by example).
Most church services have a specific routine. They begin with worship, pass the offering plate, preach, sing one final song, and release people in time for football/nascar. Conversely, the mega church begins with preaching. The preaching seems genuine, is crazy professional, and refers to bible verses a few times to help us remember the reason we showed up in the first place. Then, after the preaching comes the worship. It’s a rock concert. Super professional. It’s also difficult to imagine it is at all authentic. I couldn’t help but picture the musicians practicing putting their hands in the air at specific moments in the songs much like Kirk Hammett of Metallica does in the tuning room before he takes the stage. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I guess. Next, only after the crowd is softened up for an hour does the offering plate get passed around. Finally, as if seventh-graders embarrassed to be seen at Kmart with their mom, the auditorium crowd disperses quickly. Now, you might be inclined to think this is because they’re busy people, what with having to painstakingly decide how to spend all that money, but I think it’s because they know what you and I know. That it’s a lie. The whole thing. One. Big. Lie.
But if it makes you feel good and no one gets hurt, what’s the harm in doing it, right?