I’m not at all trying to say that all megachurches are bad. But, there are reasons why I left a particular megachurch. This may not be reflective of all megachurches, but I believe it is a reflection of many churches, even small churches.
The major problem most megachurches have is their size. It becomes more difficult for people to be involved, even though they have a huge number of volunteers. Some churches do it well, I hear, and most struggle to keep everyone plugged in.
But here are my reasons for leaving the particular megachurch I did.
Reasons I left
The Gospel isn’t the center. This is probably the biggest reason why I left. When I was woken up by a man of God who preached about my sin, I began to read and study the Bible like never before. As I read and studied I saw that the church I attended didn’t seem to preach about the Jesus I saw in the Bible. It took a while, but I slowly recognized that the church had a semblance of the gospel, a truncated and watered down version, and that their center wasn’t the gospel of Jesus Christ and their commitment wasn’t to the word of God. Instead, I saw a commitment to make people feel welcomed and to preach a message that made people feel good about themselves.
I have met, over the years, people who attend the church and yet don’t even know who Jesus is, what He did, or why it’s important. I always hear these attenders talk about how big the church is, how welcoming, and how good they feel leaving. I’ve almost never heard them talk about how they realized their sin, how God desires all honor and glory, and how we ought to bow down and worship Him forever because that is our greatest joy, why God’s love is so amazing, and how can God be good and the justifier of the wicked.
The Bible isn’t preached. Since the Gospel was neglected, and people became the center, there was more stories in the message and more talks about being a leader, with occasional Bible verses tacked at the end. As I read the Bible and study these verses that were hanging onto the sermon I saw that most of the time these verses were never explained. After a while, I saw more truly that the verses were never fully understood by the preacher, and while they were used in such a way to turn the emotions and emphasize the preachers point, what the verse was actually said was ignored.
It would be similar to isolating the words “what the verse was actually saying,” and then telling everyone that I was saying how the megachurch preached what the verse was saying; when I wasn’t. To handle the word of God with little care for what God says… says something.
There is little transformation. Even with all the emphasis on transformation, and the boasting in the number of baptisms, hands raised, and money they donated and things they did, ultimately there was little transformation. If you took all the numbers of “salvation’s” and baptisms, most of the area surrounding them would be Christians by now. The entire area I live in would be overrun with God fearing people. Yet, nearly a mile away from one of the churches satellite campuses, a strip club opened up. I’m not saying this is the churches fault, but there is something of a disconnect from what they’re saying and reality. I don’t doubt at all that God can use even the most muddied gospel presentation to draw some to Himself, but wouldn’t it be better if there wasn’t all the mud?
I love the body of Christ
I want to end with the major reason why I write this: I love the body of Christ. I write this because I am jealous to see Christ’s body honored, loved, cared for, and nourished. And sometimes that means pointing out the obvious. Many non-believers saw through the megachurch rather quickly and easily. And sadly, their assessment was correct. The obvious was this: the church cared more about commitment to their organization and money.
It’s why the Gospel isn’t preached. It’s why the Bible is used for their own purposes. It’s why the whole counsel of God isn’t taught. It’s why there’s little true transformation. It’s why I left.
I hate to see the body of Christ used, abused, and ignored. And that is what happens at churches where the Gospel of Jesus Christ isn’t the center. That is what happens at churches where the Bible is treated like a book of inspirational quotes.