22 April 2011

Mega Church "Easter" Extravaganzas

Do you have your tickets? No, not for that music tour that's coming to town. No, not for the ball game. I'm wondering if you have your tickets yet for church on Sunday? After all, that's how we "do Easter" these days, isn't it?

Okay, I'm not saying there's anything inherently wrong with distributing free tickets for your "Easter" services (and I say "Easter" because, while I prefer the phrase "Resurrection Sunday," these churches that are putting on shows for the event opt for "Easter"), I'm just saying that tickets for church is a little bit...creepy. But hey, I'm kind of a prude so what do I know?

That being said, do you have your tickets? I hope so, because otherwise you're going to get stuck in one of those seats way up in the balcony on the far side and you'll barely even be able to see the bass player rocking out during the opening song! I know you wouldn't want to miss that.

In this earlier post, I included an audio clip from the Fighting for the Faith radio show that was a satire of mega-church Easter services. That satire was disturbingly and sadly close to the truth. So, let's take a look at some of America's most popular mega-churches and how they will be celebrating the resurrected Christ this weekend:

Down in Charlotte, Steven Furtick will be hosting "3D Easter." I'm still not sure what that's supposed to mean, but the website has a countdown clock so it must be amazing!

Not far away, Perry Noble and Newspring's website is a little more subdued. It will be interesting to see how Noble tops his antics of two years ago, when he opened the service with the worship band playing AC/DC's "Highway to Hell" (you can view that video here). Based on this video advertising this year's Easter service, it sounds a little bit like Sunday at Newspring may be more about...well, me, rather than the resurrected Christ:


Across the country in Southern California, Rick Warren has big shoes to fill this Easter...his own! After all, how can one possibly outdo last year's service at Angels Stadium with the Jonas Brothers headlining?! Well, this year Rick had to settle for one of the rescued Chilean miners and a corresponding theme: Speaking of stadiums, Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church are holding their Easter service at Qwest Field in Seattle. I wonder if they serve refreshments during the service?


Finally, we come back to the Midwest and World Harvest Church and Pastor Goat-herder Rod Parsley. I think this is where I will be spending Easter morning, because so far it's the only service that is offering the chance to leave with something tangible and material. That's right, Parsley is holding "The Ultimate Giveaway" for Easter! Just being present this weekend (and, of course, sowing your "Resurrection Seed offering") will qualify you to win a genuine used 2008 Honda Civic, an iPad, a Nintendo Wii, and more! Better dig out your Easter bonnet, because this is one church service you won't want to miss!


Honestly, sometimes I don't know whether to laugh, cry, or just be angry. All I know is the circus church of today has made a mockery of the greatest cause for celebration that Christians have. It is profoundly disturbing and disheartening. And yet, it is not a surprise, as those who seek to look just like the world and who seek to attract the world, not with the Gospel, but with flashy lights and loud music, are showing themselves to be absolutely no different than the world. But true Christians do have great cause for celebration this weekend, and every day! JESUS CHRIST IS ALIVE! Praise Him, thank Him, worship Him. No ticket required.
But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. (Luke 24:1-9)

4 comments:

  1. This sort of trash from the "church" is why the secular world doesn't take us seriously!

    Every one of these "pastors" should be fired.

    This link will be on my "Random Apostasies and Heresies" article today.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You're exactly right, Glenn! Men like this, along with so many others have become synonymous with "Christianity" in the mind of the world. It's even worse that these gimmicks are so utterly cheesy and outdated that, even if they were legitimate ministry tactics (which, of course they are not), they would still be ineffective. *sigh*

    ReplyDelete
  3. Perry Noble said they were going to play, "Running with the Devil" at their Easter morning service. He said this on one of the video clips from the Elephant Room conference that was hosted by James MacDonald.

    Each of these are truly sad of the way these churches are marketing themselves to the public.

    Mark Driscoll posted on Twitter and Facebook his surprise at this story: Wow! Church Gives Away a House for Easter - http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/04/18/church-gives-away-a-house-for-easter/

    ReplyDelete
  4. Kurt,

    Thanks for the update on Perry Noble. I haven't had a chance yet to review all of the videos from the Elephant Room, so I missed that...and I'm kind of glad I did! How sad!

    I did see the Driscoll tweet that you referenced and was disappointed (but not surprised) in his apparent excitement about it. You'll notice that story from CNN says the giveaway is to "bring people in to hear the story of Easter." Really? A resurrected Savior isn't enough? Again, so sad.

    ReplyDelete

Please keep it pithy (in other words, if your comment is long enough to be its own blog post, don't bother), pertinent (please don't go off-topic), and respectful (to the author, to the other readers, and to the subject of the post). If you can't do that, your comment will not be posted.

If you haven't already, please read the Comment Policy in its entirety.