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Saturday, April 26, 2014

Do You Follow The Crowd?

English: Church of Jesus Christ (Zion's Branch...
English: Church of Jesus Christ (Zion's Branch) in Independence, Missouri (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In recent times, mega-churches have mushroomed all over the country, and while small and medium-sized churches are having difficulty keeping their heads above water, the mega-churches appear to be booming. Why is this?

One of the reasons could be the prestige that accompanies the names of these churches. To say "I am a member of Such-and-Such Church," seems to carry some weight on your Christian resume. On the other hand, if you say "I belong to the 300-member church around the corner," no one is impressed.

The ambiance of the mega-churches is also very appealing. Who can resist a few hours of award-worthy singing and dancing, and stage lighting that can compete with anything on a Broadway scale? Not to mention the dynamic preaching of someone whose face is regularly seen on television.

One would not mind getting to that church at least an hour before the service begins in order to secure a park and a good seat. And after the service you won't mind sitting in your car for another hour to get out the gate. But you would stroll into the smaller church half-hour or even an hour late.

I'm not knocking the mega-churches. If they preach the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ, then more power to them. But why leave your cozy little church where you gave your heart to the Lord, where you were baptized and where everyone knows you, for the glitz and glamor of the five-star church on the other side of town?

Jesus speaks of the narrow and wide gates in Matthew 7: 13. He says, "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it." Now, let me emphasize, Jesus was not necessarily referring to churches. He was referring to things that draw a crowd, things we follow, places we frequent just because everyone else seems to be doing it.

Being a member of a mega-church is not a bad thing. I visited one on Good-Friday night and I enjoyed the service. But do I want to go through the hassle of the overflowing parking lot every Sunday? I don't think so. Do I want to remain anonymous, slipping in and out without any type of fellowship with my brothers and sisters? No, I don't. But that's just me. If you love the mega-church and it feeds you with the spiritual food that you need, then go for it. 

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