I have always been very picky about where I go to church. I don’t want it to be a small church, but certainly not too large, but that have to have contemporary music. The pastor has to challenge me to grow in my faith, but not come off as pushy or rude. I also HATE when I feel like the church is trying to sell me something. Offering money to the church with an open heart is an amazing and good thing, but I dislike when a pastor stops his own sermon to say that “if you are struggling with your faith you should join this class for $20.” That kind of pitch does not belong in a sermon so I try to avoid those types of churches like the plague. I have noticed this happens much more often in the larger churches. My experiences with that behavior left a bad taste in my mouth in regards to all large congregations. Recently, however, my tune has changed towards large and mega-churches. My visit to Northview Church in Indiana gave me hope for the future of big, contemporary churches, proving to the cynical me that these churches provide so much good for the community.
Pulling into the parking lot of Northview was overwhelming enough when I was greeted by traffic directors who had a specific spot for me as a first-timer to park. “Why does a church need traffic directors?” I asked myself as I weaved through a parking lot that could have double as a parking lot for an amusement park. I entered the church and was blown away by the sheer size of this church (the entryway itself was the size of my home church!) After choosing which of the three levels of the sanctuary I wanted to sit in I realized that not only was I going to get to listen to some amazing contemporary music, but I was going to be graced with a concert at church (they had a light show.) When the pastor began his sermon I was expecting it to be surface level and rather shallow as I was used to from big church pastors, but I was pleasantly surprised. The pastor was strong and influential, passionate and challenging. I did not feel like I was being sold anything, but encouraged to look at what the church offered. His sermon and the church atmosphere showed me what a larger church could provide to the community.
With new and fun music, a large and exciting atmosphere, and the resources to reach out to other churches and other parts of the community, mega churches have the capacity to affect more people than I can imagine. I now see the how essential the large churches are to attracting new Christians, millennials, and people that want to learn how to grow in their faith. Large churches may not be for everyone, but they have the opportunity of doing so much good for the Christian community.