jumping-the-shark blog


Jumping the shark

By Mario Murillo

We are trapped in a highly embarrassing situation: Youth are leaving churches to meet in homes—now get this—to study the Bible and pray.  This is happening because many churches have jumped the shark.

Wikipedia says, “’Jumping the shark’ is an idiom used to describe the moment a television show begins a decline in quality, signaled by a particular scene, episode, or aspect of a show in which the writers use some type of gimmick in an attempt to keep viewers’ interest, which is taken as a sign of desperation, and is seen by viewers to be the point at which the show strayed irretrievably from its original formula. The phrase is based on a scene from a fifth-season episode of the sitcom Happy Days when the character Fonzie jumps over a shark while on water-skis.”

The two kinds of churches hit by this youth exodus are:  1. The Seeker (mega) churches.  2. Churches that focus on exotic supernatural experiences.

How Seeker (mega) churches jumped the shark:  The idea was that the Gospel—on its own—would not attract the unchurched.  They hoped that by adding—enhancements—buttresses—rebranding, they would impact secular culture.   Culture won.

They had zero impact on cultural deterioration.  While they frantically tinkered, America entered a moral nuclear winter.  Violence, debauchery and atheism spiked on their watch.  This forced their goal to change from reformation to simply keeping seats full.

In desperation they jump more sharks: Secular music ousts hymns—half-naked women do dance productions—people get tattooed on stage as a backdrop to preaching…and the preaching is mushier than ever.

Then the shocker:  The doctrines, values and compelling truth that seeker pastors so assiduously extracted—thinking it would attract youth—is the vacuum that drove them away.

Prophetic/Hyper-supernatural churches are also jumping the shark.   Prophecies, encounters with angels, dripping oil, feathers and soul travel are reported with greater frequency…they have to be.

It is not enough for speakers to say they visited the third heaven, now they have to say they do it daily, and finally they say they can do it at will.  It is not enough to say Jesus visited them, now their guests are dead ministers—plus, they can invite others to these séances.  The sheer abundance of prophetic words, mystical experiences and soul travel that are now required in order to maintain popularity is breathtaking.

Youth are leaving these kinds of churches.  They may have oohed and awed for a season—now these extremes make their eyes roll.

We have the best message the world has ever heard.  Trying to improve it or spice it up only makes it worse.   We have the best book ever written.   We have the Holy Spirit to give us grace and power to more than match the evil of our day.

The American church is guilty of wresting away control from the Holy Spirit.   We have every advantage and yet we are losing for all the wrong reasons.  Never have so many, done so little, with so much!

Yet, we have every reason to be encouraged if our youth are craving the Word of God.  In fact, those who are listening and rejecting falsehood are hearing a clear message:  God is revealing to all praying people that a glorious new work of the Spirit is about to break forth. 


Yes, we can still turn everything around!  Our youth are yearning for the Bible—that is awesome news!   So get up, let’s go!  It starts with these simple declarations:

  1. The Bible is able to stand against all cultural lies. Preaching the Blood, the Cross, the Second Coming and yes, Hell transforms your pulpit into the place of power. Do not apologize just speak it and watch the Spirit of almighty God make your preaching into something you never imagined.

Recognize the danger signs!  When simple Biblical truth no longer thrills you—when you feel the need to be more exotic…stop!  Never let the audience clamor for more spooky revelations.

  1. Crave the towering miracles of the book of acts and not parlor tricks. Kathryn Kuhlman saw awesome power in a reverent atmosphere. The book of Acts and Corinthians are gleaming road maps to the kinds of healings, prophecies and miracles that no culture can stop and no generation can resist.
  2. Realize that God wants to do great and mighty things even more than we do. He does not need to be convinced to work, nor do we need to invent work to make up for some deficiency in God.

The Holy Spirit is waiting in the wings to lead us out of this mess.   Every minister who reads this has the power to repent and receive unquestioned clarity and authority that will make them compelling to youth.

Instead of jumping the shark—let’s flatten the enemy.

18 thoughts on “JUMPING THE SHARK

      1. Mario, Paul called out people by name, including Peter to his face, without apology. I would LOVE to hear you preach (You Tube perhaps) and call out not only obummer, but also a lot of the many false teachers and preachers. If not now, when?

        I was so disappointed in Robert Jeffress rallying behind the wolf in goat’s clothing i.e. Donald Trump, I think it’s a reflection on our celebrity and entertainment obsessed culture that has also infected the church.

        Love you brother

      2. Mario, back in the 80’s in Dallas at the National Street Ministers Conference you preached “A shout without clout” Do you remember? Bill and Ken Henderson Soldiers for Jesus were there, Phil Aguilar and his biker bros were there as well.

        You called out a certain preacher (although not by name) you said “you blow on people… I’ve got some biker gangs in the Bay area I’d like you to blow on”

        Brother, I’m not a big fan of Hank Hanegraaff, but his Christianity in Crisis really addresses some very serious issues regarding false doctrines about the nature of God, Jesus and salvation; both Jimmy and Donnie Swaggart have also pointed out these heresies and named the people who were teaching them.

        Like I said, I would really love to see more current videos of you preaching and addressing these very important issues as well as what’s going on politically.

        p.s. I also remember you doing your Howard Cosell impersonation saying “he dances like Mohamed Ali” Ha!

  1. Thank you Bro. Mario. Even those of us who are past 60 want the same thing. “We have the best message the world has ever heard. Trying to improve it or spice it up only makes it worse. We have the best book ever written. We have the Holy Spirit to give us grace and power to more than match the evil of our day.” Well said.

  2. I am saddened by what would otherwise be an excellent treatise on the deficient, recent third-wave movements in the Church, that you have included as heroic examples of what the present-hour church needs, people of the heretical Word of Faith movement. Mario, surely a man of your spiritual caliber should understand that this is one of the main reasons we have not seen genuine spiritual revival with all the gifts of the Spirit manifesting, since the early 1970s.

    Holy Spirit is grieved by these men and their heretical teachings. I need not name names. You have already cited in this (otherwise excellent) blog, two of the biggest leaders in that heretical movement that caused the great charismatic move to go off the deep end in the 1980s and thereafter.

    (The great Kathryn Kuhlman would have rolled over in her grave if she had seen, that which had come into the Church in the late 70s and 1980s. If she were alive, she would have spoken out against WOF, and most likely would have named names, as well).

  3. Weird stuff with some of these people. Maybe not for posting, but an interesting story non-the less.

    One time I watched a Paul Keith Davis video where he told the story of Bob Jones prophesying to John Paul Jackson that an angel was going to appear to a man and tell him to sell his building to John Paul. The next day the man who was previously unwilling to sell sold it to John Paul for a cheap price. (story was something like that)

    A few months passed and I had a dream. The way I saw it happen in my dream was Bob Jones prophesying the man would sell. Then Bob Jones later astral projecting into the man’s room and whispering in his ear to sell the building so the man would think an angel was telling him to sell the building. I am mostly unfamiliar with Bob Jones. I believe God was showing me there was lots of mixture and other things going on there even if there was a real prophetic gift.

    Good thing for the Broncos Bob Jones was not around to whisper in Payton Manning’s ear the night before the Super Bowl to throw the game to make his prophecy come to pass.

    We will probably be the laughing stock of the great cloud of witnesses until we are willing to pay the price for something other than cheap wine.

  4. I can’t even read my Bible in church now. The lights are dimmed as if I’m in some Broadway theater. And you can’t depend on wifi or internet for smartphone or tablets because you can’t follow when the screens and web service delays or freezes. It’s ridiculous to follow the verses on an overhead screen, because you can’t reference verses before and after the focus scriptures. I’m a drop-out at 52 years old. Dropped out 3 years ago after 24 years of continuous ministry and church attendance. If I want Church today I can go to Vegas. And I won’t go there for entertainment, so why should I go to church if that’s all it is now? I’m through for the moment with churches who rely on all their vain catchphrases, slogans and basically, all you mentioned in this article. It describes exactly my dilemma. No worries though. I’m using my time wisely and prayer will wake us back up soon. For starters here’s a book I used all my spare time within past years while working full time, and it was finally released Jan 2 beginning of this year. http://www.amazon.com/Making-America-Righteous-Again-Bitterness-Delight-ebook/dp/B01A1JPHUC/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1451610171&sr=1-1&keywords=Michael+D.+Tobin

  5. Jesus is Lord! The Bible was written to help us live as God intends! By HIS spoken Word he created all things! And HE loves us, with un speak able mercy and grace! Mario is afraid of nothing, bold in every respect, and will not compromise Abba Father’s presepts, no Born Again should. I feel we should impeach Obamah NOW, dictatorship be gone! Amen!

  6. Wow, I did not know (until you mentioned him) that Scott Hinkle was just down the road from me in Midlothian Texas. I think I will go say hello to him tonight in DeSoto Texas, he’ll be at a church there.

    I have not seen you since the early 90’s, you probably don’t remember this, but I caught you on your way out in the hallway, spoke with you briefly, and you asked me to pray for you right there and then, and I was very happy to.

    I hope to see you again and pray with you soon. Blessings you

    Semper fidelis

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