Mega Church Pastoral Myth #6: “God is more profoundly present at our services (and similar style mega churches) than smaller churches. That’s a big part of our appeal.”

A similar myth follows: “Worship is better in the large church setting.”
Probable Reality: Music is usually better at megachurches, but music quality does not equate to God’s presence.

There is generally a higher quality of music at megachurches, however music quality does not translate to a greater sense of God’s presence recognized by individual Believers. It is common in many mega churches that a concert-like atmosphere exists around the worship time. Not all aspects of a concert are negative. Excitement is in the air. There is a sense of anticipation for what God is about to do. At the same time, it is easy to sidestep participation. We can fall into the routine of worship voyeur—simply watching others worship but never experiencing God in it ourselves.

Such a passive routine is contagious. As a speaker, I have been up close with more megachurches than most. I find it is common that most weekend attendees to not engage in worship. At megachurches, there is significantly less worship participation than at smaller sized bodies. The vast majority of participants don’t really participate but simply talk during “worship” or they stare off or they patiently endure things until the real show commences—when someone gets up to talk, there’s a video or when something deemed entertaining takes place.

Intimate Talk

Granted, few churches are doing a great job of helping their people connect with worship regardless of their size. My concern with mega churches in settings as described above is there is a lot of talk about worship—something that is confusing. We are conveying to people they are worshipping when in fact they are not close to engaging in authentic worship in many cases. Sadly, we are inoculating them from experiencing God in a profound way. If we have convinced our people they have tasted and seen the deep things of God when they are yet to even dip their toes in the water of his presence we are setting them up for utter disappointment. They can conclude there isn’t much to an experience of depth in the Holy Spirit. I suggest we would do better if we simply told the truth. In many cases we are just playing pleasant house music in the background as a lead up to more meaty aspects of the service people can relate to. Attendees can sing along, listen or ignore it all as they wish. But engaging in God’s kinetic presence is not likely to happen in most settings.

Back to the beginning.

Steve has spoken, mentored and modeled to churches and leaders around the world with the simple message that anyone – regardless of their gifting or experience – can be involved in bringing God’s loving kindness to others. His first book, Conspiracy of Kindness has been translated into several languages with more in the works. His first book has sold over 300,000 copies. Altogether his books have sold over 500,000 copies.