Jason’s Visit To A Mega-Church

Out of all the blog posts I have done since starting this six months ago, this singular post is one that I would desire be most read and responded to thus far… Please read and reply to me either here, on facebook or by email… Thanks! The reality of this post is one of many major reasons why I have written the book “The Potential Of God’s Presence”

My intention in writing this post is not to be judgmental or critical of the church or the specific church that I visited. I am not going to mention the name of the mega-church I visited in Dallas. I feel led to share this experience that my wife and I had, especially in the light of what our calling is to the body of Christ and in light of the book that I am about to release. I’ve been writing this book called The Potential Of God’s Presence for about two years now. Writing this book has really stirred me for helping people to really know the fullness that is available in God’s presence. Over the past few months I’ve felt the Lord prompt me to visit these other churches to observe worship styles and practices. This is something that I am called to do, and I believe God put this on my heart so that I can see some more of what He is seeing.

On a recent video that I released, I briefly shared a story about a time when I observed a man standing in a worship service with his arms crossed, totally disengaged from the worship. I had someone respond to me that they thought I was judging this person and did not like what I said because we are not supposed to judge people and their expressions of worship. I agree with the fact that we are not supposed to judge people… I just don’t agree that what I was doing was judging this person… I believe that my observance of this person was correct in that they were not engaging in the presence of God. I do believe that you can sit in God’s presence and still be engaged… But there is a difference between that and when a guy is obviously not engaged based on facial expression and body language… I wrestled with this comment for a little while because I do not want to sound like or come off as a judge of the church and their worship… MY HEART BURNS WITH A CONCERN AND CARE for the Lord and His people. I want to help people to engage in the full potential of the relational person and presence of God. When I stand in a church sanctuary, like I did today, and see hundreds of people totally unengaged in God… My heart does not stand in judgment but compassion for them… I long and desire to release revelation of the Father’s desire for relational, loving exchange in the place of worship and life…

When I look over to an entire section of a church and observe that only 1 or 2 out of 100 people even look like they are trying to think upon the Lord… that’s NOT JUDGEMENT… It’s an observance… I simply refuse to believe that all of those people are simply choosing to be quietly contemplative… In fact, the true meaning to WAIT on the Lord still requires an active participation from ourselves in order to truly seek and find God… Leadership requires that we observe, seek God’s heart and hear His concerns for others in order that we may address others with words that encourage and beckon them closer to their purpose in God… Judgement leads to rebuke but compassion leads to encouragement… Through this persons comment I have come to an even firmer belief that my intentions for ministry, the book I am writing and even this very post are from a place of love, compassion and encouragement… That being said, I want to now share my experience today with you…

In sharing this with you, my desire is not to say that all of these practices were WRONG. The things that this church did during their Sunday service were not necessarily wrong. There are so many ways to DO CHURCH. The biggest thing I want you to think about as I share is, “Did the things that they did in this church service FACILITATE PEOPLE TO ENGAGE IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD?”

Here we goooooooo… We exited the highway and followed the orange cones off of the service road into the massive parking lot. After being directed by five parking lot attendants, we finally made our way into the enormous church building. When I entered the side door, I immediately recognized the theme music to the movie Indiana Jones playing over the speakers… I laughed at the fact that this music was playing. After walking down the hallway, we entered into the main lobby… The first thing I noticed was the smell of fresh popcorn. To my right was a table lined with hundreds of boxes of popcorn and people were handing them out to those entering the main auditorium. All of a sudden I see Shrek, Darth Vader and a Storm Trooper… Ok, let me pause here and tell you that, NO, this was not a dream… this is a TRUE STORY…. OK…

Each door entering the auditorium had red carpets leading into the doorways… Over across the other side of the lobby they were selling candy, drinks and other concessions. Hey, at least their prices were reasonable… That’s when it clicked that their Sunday morning theme was “AT THE MOVIES” There were big wax figures of superman and other movie figures in the center of the lobby displayed high on pedestals. I was just amazed by all of this… We finally entered in the auditorium and sat down… On the stage I noticed what looked like half of a boxing ring set up, was not quite sure what that was for… All of a sudden a guy in a tux walks out and a microphone lowers from the ceiling and he proceeds to announce… “LADIES AND GENTLEMAN… WELCOME TOOOOO ########## CHUUUUUURRRRCH……” Hey proceeded with some other words and ended with… “Let’s get ready to RUUUUUUUUUUUMBLE!”

I thought this was the intro to “worship”, but then a guy in a leather jacket, hat and gloves with the fingers tore off comes out and sings, “We’re Coming To America…” Fourth of July stuff I guess… People just stood there while he sang a song that had nothing to do with… well… anything…. Finally then they start what I thought would be the worship time.. It ended up being two fast songs that were more about themselves then God… NO SLOW WORSHIP SONGS AT ALL… My wife and I sat down and said, “That’s it?” We never felt as if we were able to engage in any type of awareness of God’s character or presence. The two songs that they did sing were about how WE are free and they did songs on the INDEPENDence day theme… I guess…

The team on stage was very energetic… the guys tried to get people to clap with him, but they just stood there… CALL ME A JUDGE, but nobody was really doing much during these songs… I don’t really blame them… The only way I could have worshipped God in that place would have been to literally ignore the people on stage… I am not being dramatic…

Then, the “singer guy” (that’s all I know what to call him) prays a prayer to fill time so that they can clear the stage of the boxing ring and all that stuff… Then on their 3 big screens up front the theme for the movie ROCKY COMES ON… WE THEN PROCEED TO WATCH AN EDITED VERSION OF THE MOVIE ROCKY FOR THE “MESSAGE”…… The Pastor of the church had himself pre-recorded in 4 segments and they were edited into the Rocky movie… The Pastor used the movie to parallel the life of David and how Rocky was and underdog and David was an underdog and ALL OF US ARE UNDERDOGS BUT JESUS DIED ON THE CROSS TO MAKE YOU A WINNER SO YOU CAN STOP BEING AN UNDERDOG AND BE A WINNER IN JESUS! I just remember watching Rocky at church, hearing the chomping of popcorn all around me and wondering… “Where the heck am I right now?”

The Children’s Pastor came out and took the offering and dismissed the crowds… Oh AND FOR THE OFFERTORY SONG… YOU GUESSED IT… EYE OF THE TIGER… NOOOOOOOOOO LIE!

My wife and I left knowing that God had led us to go in order that we may have this experience. We felt like we needed to go home and actually spend some time in the presence of God. My wife said she felt “weird.” She told me that she TRIED to get into God’s presence but that she never really did…

I just said, “WOW… I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU ARE LEAVING CHURCH AND SAYING THAT YOU TRIED… BUT FAILED TO GET INTO THE PRESENCE OF GOD…”

Listen to me reader… I went to a building, smelled popcorn, saw Shrek, listened to some people sing some songs about themselves, watched Rocky, jammed to Eye Of The Tiger, passed the offering plate without giving because I did not feel like buying popcorn for people next week… and left the building and the only contact I had with God was in my wonderings to Him and the sense of His longing TO INTERACT WITH A PEOPLE THAT WERE UNABLE TO FOCUS ON HIM BECAUSE THEY WERE DISTRACTED WITH OTHER THINGS.

This is an extreme case of what is happening in churches all over the nation…. This case is so extreme that I almost don’t believe what I just wrote… but it’s actually a toned down version of what I saw and experienced…

THIS IS WHY I WROTE THE BOOK “THE POTENTIAL OF GOD’S PRESENCE” because there are so many levels of what happened at this church going on… There are many other examples that are not even close to being as extreme as this… My point is that there is a POTENTIAL in God… a potential to know Him… to know His character… to know who HE IS…. TO EXALT WHO HE IS… AND TO DWELL IN THE UNDERSTANDING of Him and the fellowship of HIM… The Church needs to understand what is really available IN GOD so THAT THEY WON’T SETTLE FOR ANYTHING LESS… WHAT I EXPERIENCED TODAY WAS LESS… SORRRY, BUT IT WAS…

Remember when I asked you at the beginning…. Do they facilitate people into the presence of God…? My wife and I left feeling as if they did not… WE TRIED AND FOUND NO OPPORTUNITIES TO ENGAGE IN ANY SELAH, ANY MEDITATION, ANY CONTEMPLATION OR EVEN AN AWARENESS OF ONE SINGULAR ATTRIBUTE OF THE CHARACTER OF THE PERSON OF GOD… unless you count that Jesus died so that you won’t have to be an UNDERDOG…

Remember when I said I would not be judgmental or critical…? I don’t think I NEED TO BE…  All I had to do was be honest and REAL…

Some churches sing songs about God, but don’t give time to actually experience the things about God that they are singing about… Some churches don’t create moments of Selah in which you can encounter first-hand revelation, discovery and encounter with the person and power of God…. WHAT IS HAPPENING ON MANY DIFFERENT LEVELS IS THAT WE ARE FILLING TIME ON SUNDAY MORNINGS AND GOD WANTS US TO STOP FILLING SO MUCH OF THE TIME AND LEAVE SOME TIME FOR HIM TO FILL… THAT’S IT…

I remember I told my wife… “I can’t believe they wasted my worship time with that song Coming to America…” Why did I have to stand there and listen to the singer guy sing that song for 5 minutes, five minutes that could have been used to at least sing one worship song that was actually about Jesus before ROCKY CAME ON…

I am not going to re-write my book in this blog post… But I encourage you to pray for us, pray that this book gets out… pray that it gets out to thousands… pray that it causes a REVOLUTION OF THOUGHT… that people will realize that there is more in God that is available relationally than they may have been led to experience or understand…

I don’t go to many churches in which I have said that I did not experience the presence of God… I KNOW THAT GOD WAS IN THAT PLACE, BUT PEOPLE WERE NOT ACCESSING HIM AND A BIG REASON WHY IS BECAUSE THE LEADERS DID NOT FACILITATE THEM TO BE AWARE OF HIM… I WAS MADE TO BE MORE AWARE OF SYLVESTER STALLONE THAT JESUS CHRIST…

My wife and I left feeling unfulfilled in our experience at this church due to the fact that we have pursued and found a greater sense of awareness of the person and power of God in many other moments of our lives… We KNOW what is available in God… We have not attained a fullness… but we are in pursuit of an constant expanding awareness of who God is…

OUR MINISTRY is to simply encourage and even challenge others to realize that there is more to God than what you have already known… AND THAT GOES FOR ALL OF US…

The issue we are facing are masses of people that have become CONTENT WITH STOPPING IN THEIR PURSUIT OF THE FULLNESS OF GOD AND WHO ARE SITTING CONTENT IN THEIR KNOWLEDGE, EXPERIENCE AND EXPRESSION…

THIS IS A JOURNEY… And a personal one, and God has so much more to reveal, so much more show us if we will pursue Him beyond liturgy, beyond others second-hand recycled revelation, beyond yesterday or yesteryears manna…

I love you… I love the church… And most of all I love God and I am called to re-present His loving heart… I pray you have received this in love and pass it along in love….

There are lots of way to DO Church… but let’s pursue HIM and do it HIS way… and this can only happen when we trust the HOLY Spirit to lead and guide us EVERY TIME…

I ENCOURAGE AND WELCOME YOUR RESPONSES WHETHER YOU AGREE WITH ME OR NOT… THANKS

TALK TO YOU SOON… JASON

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19 Responses to “Jason’s Visit To A Mega-Church”

  1. Wow the God business is good!

  2. I am trying to process this. I am experiencing a strange mixture of emotions over what I have just read. Incredulous. Sad. Confused. Sad. Fearful. This is an incredibly eye opening post. Thank you, Jason.

  3. Wow that is so sad 😦

  4. Timothy Says:

    So would a church like this be a part of the..I forget the name…Emergent church movement? I’m still not 100% sure what that is, and not even people who go to those churches can explain it well to me.

  5. Tim, sorry I am not sure

    check this link… it might help u out

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emerging_church

  6. Ann-Marie Says:

    In visiting this church, I was renewed in the awareness of the huge need of relationship with Jesus. I felt encouraged to share the love of Jesus by just being with people and praying for them because so many have never experienced the raw and real presence of God.

    • I understand what you are saying Ann-Marie… I don’t get how we could find the raw and real presence of God amidst human-created images of pop culture? Church as entertainment… yikes.

  7. Kevin T Says:

    I agree with you Jason, its sad its what a lot of churches have become. On another point, I recently met a pastor of a seeker friendly church, his explanation was interesting to say the least. He said that churches have so damaged people with religion, that they are trying to reach people on another level. Yes there are these circus like church services, but the point is to get them to come first, then engage them with other activities, like home group fellowship, and over comers fellowships where they can help meet the need of their spiritual hurts, so they can connect with God. Without the internal healing, and a chance to learn to forgive, they are stuck and cant experience God. It was his answer, not that I fully understand it, but I agree with you, we should experience God always~

  8. I maybe wrong here but from what I read and understood from your post this church did meet their god this morning and it is not your God. They were in the midst of the god calked Hollywood. And worshipped just as the industry has taught them, right down to the popcorn and milk duds

  9. I like what this guy said in an article I read today…

    “The pursuit of excellence is never a matter of simply choosing between what is good or bad, but of choosing what is best because it will better enable us to accomplish what God has designed us to be and do.”

  10. Jeremy Jarvis Says:

    Wow Jason,

    Very eye opening bro. This really shouldn’t shock us that much. This is what most of the church is feeding themselves on all week so why not just make church into the spiritual food we want. This should be a wake up call for sure. Thanks for posting this.

  11. Wow, how distorted & sad. My sense is that God showed you this as a caricature representing what actually happens in less overt & obvious ways in His churches. I think this was a huge wake up call to motivate you even more & to see the urgency of His message through you. It’s painful & will empower you to press through more. I know even in my “presence seeking” church, there is a certain focus on our surroundings [we bought a big house together & sold our trad’l church]… rather than to focus on Him. So, I know it can be subtle & seductive in any setting, big or small. I guess it’s a battle no matter what ~ between the flesh & the spirit. Forgive us Lord & help us to return to You with all our hearts.

  12. Hi
    I stumbled across your site while searching for church soundman info…
    I am a prophetic worshiper, musician, soundman and child of God.
    I am in agreement with much of what you say.
    Please consider this:
    You said, “…I KNOW THAT GOD WAS IN THAT PLACE, BUT PEOPLE WERE NOT ACCESSING HIM…”. Perhaps you didn’t mean to write it that way… Does the Bible not teach us that WE are the church and that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit? God lives in us, not in a building. That church you went into is no more holy than a mosque, the Hell’s Angels clubhouse or the strip joint down the street. Just like the Israelites, we have asked Aaron to build us a golden calf. Once we stop respecting (worshiping?) the golden calf (which represents a man-made replacement for the presence of God) (then) we can cross the Jordan with Joshua and take the promised land. We do not go to a church to ‘ACCESS HIM’. I think many people go to these churches so that they feel good about themselves afterwards and then can excuse themselves from worshiping or ‘accessing’ God on a personal level.
    15 years ago I had a prophetic dream which was confirmed by two prophetic words at church the next day: “…The church as we know it will cease to exist and many will stand in awe wondering how such a majestic thing could’ve fallen…”
    God is doing a new thing. The existing church is beautiful looking on the outside but rotten inside. And, just like rotten wood, it can’t catch fire. It must crash and become the forest floor and fertilizer for new growth that can bend and move with the wind of His Spirit.
    Today’s Christian church is like Moses who, instead of speaking to the rock struck it, was disqualified from taking Israel into the promised land.
    Was the earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand a prophetic sign that God wants to change our per-conceived notions of who He is and how He wants to interact with us? Was the photo of that 103 year-old Anglican cathedral in ruins a sign that God is tearing down man’s religion? Are these ‘houses of worship’ collapsing a sign? Why do they call them “pews”? Because they stink? Hmm…
    The ‘GOD’ in ‘THAT PLACE’ you were speaking of was the god of ‘Americanized’ religion. The same ‘god’ that lives on American money: watered down, man-controlled, ‘me’-centric. The same religion that teaches that God is on America’s side.
    God wants out of capitalism, Americanism, any other ‘ism and religion and wants to dwell within us and with us. The danger is if we as humans try to remove Him from these by ourselves then we are just replacing our old form of religion and worship with just another man-made form.
    I am convinced that God is Love and, just like any loving father, wants us to enjoy His continual presence as He enjoys ‘hanging out’ with us. It is in this intimate continual fellowship and communion with our Father that we can’t help but worship and adore His company.
    I could go on (and on and on…) but that’s enough for today…
    May the knowledge of the completed works of Christ on the cross fill you (and keep you filled) with the bliss of His Holy Spirit.
    P.S. as for the ‘mega church’ stuff. Jesus pastored 12 apostles, what makes us think that we can pastor 1000?

    • Hey there KS…

      I actually DO go to church to access God, but not exclusively. I also access God when I take walks, in my car etc… Your point(s) would take relevance towards me only if I actually believed God was ONLY available at certain times or locations… I don’t believe this at all. When I say God was in that place, I say it with the foundation and understanding that God is “everyplace”, it’s just simply that I was referring to a specific time and place in my writing of this one blog post…

      The purpose and context of this post was simply to say that we can sometimes distract ourselves with liturgy that we miss some of the things the Father may want to release to us in the time and place that we gather… I was writing specifically of this instance, and you may have assumed I was carrying this over into everyday life, which I wasn’t… This is a blog, not a teaching and not a book. It’s just a web log of my thoughts…

    • kevin taylor Says:

      Wow KC,
      Your response blows my mind. You sound angry.
      Where is your Father’s attributes? Long suffering, patience? Your perspective makes my heart sad. We are all struggling to know God more. The prophetic, the Baptist, the Catholic etc. To believe as you have written is no different than the religion crowd. That you have the only answer and direct line to Gods heart. Using God’s word to justify your feelings toward the body. I am saying this in Love I felt the same way you do, But God is. Greater than our heart and He loves those 80 year old religious people with there slim view of Him, and He loves those of us too foolish to realize we don’t have all the answers

      • Hey Kevin and KS(C)… Realize that this post is even a year and a half old and God has changed my heart even more concerning His Church, His kids… I used to be a lot more judging, but now I see that God loves all expression and all levels… What I want to convey to the Body of Christ is to take the chance, take to time to go beyond what you are used to, not as a judge, but as one who himself desires expanded realms in the person and presence of God… I am just encouraging others to explore HIM without telling them that where they are isn’t good enough, because I believe God does love where we are and He is there in the midst of what we judge to be the “weakest expression” Let’s not be like those who judged the widow’s offering as if if wasn’t good enough because it didn’t look like our “splendid charismatic” expression…

        Ever Learning… Jason

      • Kevin Taylor Says:

        Amen Jason, we are all becoming new

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