It’s been awhile since my first mega church chronicles post, where I focused on a woman’s teaching boundaries in the church.
That first post was written almost seven months ago.
My opinions have remained the same but it has taken me awhile to continue the “mega church" posts because I’ve had to “check” myself regarding church, the way things happen in the church, and what my role should be. I don’t know if you read or listen to discernment bloggers or podcasts that solely focus on discerning the truth in public sermons and writings for men (and unfortunately women) who say they have been called by God, but I have. I’ve learned that filling myself with others’ opinions and observations over the last few months have taught me quite a bit.
1. When you read the opinions and observations of others, sometimes they really don’t have much more to qualify them in discerning than you do. While you assume that someone who has attended a theology program to be more knowledge, or blindly assert authority to someone just because they have a public platform of any kind, it is unwise to follow along blindly. Read for yourself. God’s word is available to each of us, and you are better off applying discernment tactics only after you know what His word says.
2. Just like there is “extreme” Christianity, there is also an extreme opposite. When you find yourself falling down the rabbit hole called the internet, it is wise to look at who’s doing the writing. Is this person giving discerning from a place of truly loving and wanting to uphold God’s word? Or is this person (even if what he or she points out is correct to draw attention to) looking to draw attention to themselves for other purposes? One of my biggest lessons regarding discernment over the last few months is this: do it from a place of complete humbleness. Put all pride and self-righteousness aside. **This was probably my biggest take away. It’s easy to sound like a self-righteous know-it-all, especially when you are knowledgeable of God’s word, have seen Him guide your life, and know that if that friend, or stranger you see heading the opposite way just LISTENS to YOU, they can have the same. It’s easy to judge when you say you are discerning so there needs to be a pure heart behind it all.
3. Everyone who attends a mega church is not vain or shallow. In every congregation, there are those who attend church for what us Christians may call the wrong reasons. However, just like this group is attending, there are also those who attend that are believers who have been saved by the blood of Jesus, who are living to Glorify God in all they do. The vain and shallow dynamic goes for those in a smaller church setting, but the dymanic is oftentimes easier to see in larger congregations.
** There is a second part to this, however, because after awhile, I do believe that those who are attending a megachurch and are true children of God will eventually mature and realize that the seeker-driven format is not one for their long-term spiritual growth. *We will post later about this!
4. Being discerning is good. It’s actually very awesome, wise and all of the other good things. As you look into your pastors, their books, their relationships and their congregations, rid yourself of the self-righteousness that may arise if and when you realize that the very things you were worried about come to light. You asserting what is right and wrong in the church needs to be addressed in a manner that keeps you aligned with God.
I feel more mature already.
My third mega church post is going to focus on the church being seeker-driven, which heavily relates to my number three in the list above. I’ve discovered that there are two major groups in a mega church, and a third, smaller minority we will discuss later. The first group tends to be the newcomers among the the thousands attending church every week. The second is the group that has attained membership and are continuing to come each week as they are content with the services and state of their spiritual growth. Since I attend mega church services, I have seen things that have caused me to call this complacency the result of sheep mentality. If you know anything about sheep, you know that they are followers with an instinct to stick together for survival.
I think of John 21, verses 15-17. In these verses, Jesus is asking if Peter loves Him, and at the same time giving him direction to “Feed My lambs,” Tend My sheep,” and “Feed my Sheep.” The key here is that Jesus was making a direct correlation of Peter’s love with how He wants one in ministry to care for His people. These verses will be paramount in the next post as we discuss the groups of people I am seeing in the mega church.
Do you attend a megachurch, or a seeker-driven church? Are you seeing the same trend?
I’d love to hear from you, and we will dig into this more next week!