Do you believe current church trends will rescue our nation? My guess is you don’t. If you don’t, you are not alone. A growing number of believers—many of whom will not say it out loud—question the value of attraction churches.
One day, I sat with some “hot names” in church growth in southern California. We had talked a lot about styles of worship, preaching and marketing. Being older than most of them, I felt a little bold. I asked them: “Can any of you give me the name of a mega church in Los Angeles in 1906? “
Not one of them could come up with a name. Then I said, “but you all remember the Azusa Street Revival, right? Why is that?” Because history remembers revivals and forgets mega churches.” The reason is simple; revivals make history by reforming society.
Those who praise the glories of mega churches never mention how they have no impact on cultural sin. In this golden age of mega churches, society is experiencing its greatest moral landslide. On their watch, the number of people who claim to be atheists has doubled. More anti-God legislation has been enacted than any other time in our history.
But do churches bear any responsibility for the moral landslide of a nation? Charles G. Finney sure thought so! He said, “If Satan rules in our halls of legislation, the pulpit is responsible for it. If our politics become so corrupt that the very foundations of our government are about to fall away, the pulpit is responsible.”
Some will say it is not fair to ask mega churches to reverse national destruction. But you also can’t have it both ways. You can’t go around extolling the wonders of these mammoth ministry centers and then say they can’t fix the nation. If they can’t fix the only thing that needs fixing, what is the point?
But people point out, “They produce musicals as good as Broadway” Or, “They give the average person hope” These achievements ring hollow. In a simpler time, they would be impressive. Not today.
This is no time for entertainment. This is no time for mild cures. Society’s condition has forced rule changes. A demon possessed culture needs a church with power to cast out devils. A culture reeling with unimaginable addictions needs a church were the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and the fire of God is plainly presented.
Are these churches a distraction to revival? Let me offer this parable about distraction. A college football team is losing their homecoming game. Badly. Halftime is a welcome break. The people are relieved when the marching band takes the field.
The band leader sees how much the people are enjoying the distraction. He decides “we don’t need a second half; it is a good thing to just keep the show going.”
The lyrics of American Pie put it this way, “Now the half-time air was sweet perfume
While sergeants played a marching tune We all got up to dance Oh, but we never got the chance ‘Cause the players tried to take the field, the marching band refused to yield
Do you recall what was revealed The day the music died?”
You, dear leader of a mega church, must ask yourself, is my church the band that refuses to yield. Is my mega ministry a distracting substitute for revival? Am I keeping the church from starting the second half?
The Bible asks painful questions about times. Elisha’s servant Gehazi secretly took money and clothes from General Naaman after Naaman was healed of leprosy. Elisha asked Gehazi, “Did not my heart go with you when the man turned back from his chariot to meet you? Is it time to receive money and to receive clothing, olive groves and vineyards, sheep and oxen, male and female servants?”-2 Kings 5:26,26
In a time of mass murder, mass suicide, of hurricanes floods, and fire, is it time for pastors to parade wealth, and grant mild cures?
Haggai asked another painful question: “Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins?” -Haggai 1:4 The modern application for this is simple: Pastor, are you building a personal empire, or the Kingdom of God? Will you allow a nation to go down in flames while you live in a bubble of false victory?
If we can truly confess that babble has replaced the Bible—that self-enhancement has replaced self-denial –that marketing has replaced miracles—and unconditionally surrender to the Holy Spirit, God will turn our churches into fire-breathing, nation-changing powerhouses.