I have a confession. I have been very cynical and snarky about big-box megachurches. I’ve been jaded about the light shows, the worship bands, and the hipster pastors in skinny jeans. I may have, once or twice, even referred to a certain big-box church as “Six Flags Over Jesus.”
Maybe you’ve been there too.
I’ve noticed that thinking this way is really bad for my spiritual health. It makes me bitter, cranky, critical, and judgmental.
I’m trying something different.
I am (on my better days) thanking God for megachurches. We are on the same team, after all. Scripture says there is “one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all.” The megachurches are reaching people who would never walk through the doors of our church. Through their ministry, many hurting people are helped and many lost people hear good news.
But, by the same token, the big box church ought to thank God for US. After all, our little congregations reach people who would never darken the doors of a megachurch. We also are doing ministry, helping people, and proclaiming the good news.
There’s a great scene in the film The Apostle, when the main character, a Pentecostal preacher played by Robert Duvall, is looking across a river, watching a Catholic priest blessing boats. “Well padre,” he says quietly, “you do it your way, I do it mine. But we get the job done, don’t we?”
We’re not in competition with the megachurches; we’re branch offices of the same Kingdom. We don’t have to figure out what they have that we don’t have. Rather, we have the freedom to joyfully follow our particular calling – to gleefully embrace our eccentricities. We have been given particular gifts to be deployed as a part of God’s kingdom. We don’t have to try to be someone else. It is enough for us to be ourselves and to minister to the people God providentially drops in our laps.
I’ve found that mindset liberating, even though at times, I still find myself retreating to my old snarky ways. I still have my critiques, but they’re just not that important. What’s more important is the ministry that I’m called to. Because pursuing a compelling calling is much more nourishing than nursing a caustic criticism.