28 March 2013

2013 Church Easter 'Egg Drop' Extravaganzas

No one knows when the very first church Easter "Egg Drop" took place, but there is little argument that Steven Furtick and Elevation Church made it famous. Elevation's first Easter—and first Egg Drop—was in 2006, when over 2,000 people showed up for the event. Steven Furtick's wife, Holly, remembers it as one of her favorite moments in the life of their now-megachurch:
We had launched in February and this would be our first Easter. I think we only had about 200 people coming at the time. The Egg Drop was to be the Saturday before Easter. We planned to drop thousands of eggs out of a helicopter. We only needed two things, good weather and people. I remember Steven, Elijah and I flew to Florida to do a youth event the week before. We arrived back in Charlotte the day before the event. We were greeted by Larry Brey at the airport, he broke the news… our mailer didn't make it out in time because of some post office error. We were so bummed. That night my husband and several volunteers hit some parking lots with flyers. We had no idea what to expect the next day.

God came through (it was one of the first of many special times to come), the event was a huge success. We had over 2,000 people attend. If the mailer had gone out, the event would have been a disaster. The weather was perfect and there are many families who attend Elevation today because of the Egg Drop.
(Source)
Every year since, it seems that more and more megachurches—or 'wannabe' megachurches—are utilizing the Egg Drop gimmick. Though the atoning death and resurrection of Christ ought to be grand and miraculous enough to attract those to a church who are being drawn to Christ (John 6:44), the megachurch mindset instead insists on pragmatic, worldly, contrived publicity stunts.

In the past, this blog has examined some of the most ridiculous and extravagant megachurch Easter exploits. For a change and a twist, we thought it might be interesting this year to look at some lesser-known or aspiring megachurches, and their obvious endeavors to follow in the footsteps of Furtick with their very own Egg Drop Extravaganzas.

The Christian Post (CP) reports on Life Church Michigan, a new church in Saginaw that is planning to
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drop 50,000 eggs out of a helicopter in celebration of the season:
Founding Pastor of Life Church Michigan Jonathan Herron told The Christian Post the drop will be hosted on the campus of the Saginaw Valley State University where his new church has been meeting for services since March 17.

"Things are going fantastic. The whole idea was we are a new church and we love children, we love families, so we are throwing a free party because Jesus loved to connect with people at parties," said Herron.

(Source)
The event also will include inflatable bounce houses, obstacle courses, and professional 'balloon animal twisters.'

The CP article goes on to boast that the church's pastor has a background in comedy, having once studied under '30 Rock' star Tina Fey. Pastor Herron apparently includes this comedic flair into his sermons, stating,
We believe if you can get people laughing, they will unfold their arms and lean in and be open to the Gospel. (Source)
Don't dismay if you are one who may be scratching your head, trying to recall an instance where Jesus began his preaching or personal encounters with a good 'knock-knock' joke. It never happened, it's not recorded in Scripture. The Gospel and man's response to it are hardly laughing matters. One who chuckles over his sin is not one whose heart has been broken. One who finds humor in God incarnate humbling Himself to come to Earth, living the perfect life that man cannot, dying as the perfect, atoning sacrifice for sin and rising again three days later is not one who understands the true Gospel.

From Michigan to Indiana, another up-and-coming church is planning on releasing 50,000 eggs on an otherwise quiet community. Imagine Church in Westfield, Indiana already has closed registration for its March 30 event. Like Life Church's Egg Drop, Imagine Church will bring in inflatable bounce houses and obstacle courses, as well as live music and face-painting.


Imagine Church claims that "Our generation hasn’t lost their belief in God; they have lost their belief in the church." They are out to help "paint a new picture of what the church can and should be." Imagine Church explains its odd name thusly:
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'Rediscover the message of Christ in a whole new way'? One may wonder if Imagine Church realizes that the message of Jesus Christ is not a new one, but one that graciously was written down long ago in a book called the Bible. Perhaps it is ignorance of this Word that has led to Imagine Church's misdirected mission:
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Well, then, perhaps Imagine Church has been too lost in its own musings, because this is not the purpose of the church. The true Church exists to proclaim the truth of Jesus Christ, to worship and glorify God, and to proclaim the Gospel of salvation, calling people to repentance and faith in Christ alone. Imagine Church may call itself a church, but it exists as one only in its own imagination.

Moving southward, one can visit Vive Church in Columbia, South Carolina. Though Vive will be dropping only 10,000 eggs, they will do so on Easter Sunday. Those who come early for the church service can catch the start of the new sermon series, 'Anger Management.' Vive Church even is offering helicopter rides for a mere $25 per person. This church touts itself as 'attractional, relational and missional.' Perhaps 'biblical' just didn't fit into their ARM acronym:

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It may just be that 2013 is the year of the Egg Drop. These are merely a sampling. Why, even the west coast is getting in on the plastic egg publicity. Crossline Community Church in Laguna Hills, California is one example:
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Next Level Church in Portland put a few more stipulations on their event. A family must attend one of Next Level's Easter 'worship experiences' to be able to register for the event. The location of the Egg Drop will not be revealed until the Easter 'experience':

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Next Level Church says that it is "real, relevant, and life-changing" because "it features music you actually like, teaching about subjects that matter to your everyday life, and a nlcKids environment your children will beg you to come back to."

If a person attends a church because the preaching addresses happiness in one's job and how to have a fulfilling sex life, because the music is loud and emotionally manipulative and because the children are entertained by a circus week after week, then this place is not a church and this person likely is not a true Christian.

Those who have been saved by God seek to fellowship with the saints each week because they know that Christ will be exalted and glorified, and that men will be brought to humility before Him as they are confronted with their own sinfulness and the Father's holiness. A true church is not about men, but about Christ. Woe to those who would flip this essential truth on its head.

Perhaps these seeker-driven churches are running out of ways to be relevant, and that is why so many have resorted to the Egg Drop to boost numbers during the Easter season. Yet one cannot help but wonder: what do plastic eggs, mass quantities of sugar, bounce houses, obstacle courses, face-painting, balloon animals and a man dressed in a bunny suit have to do with the true meaning of this day? Answer: Absolutely nothing. And those who seek to lure people into their so-called 'church' building by bribing them with such things one day will find themselves on their faces before the holy God of the universe. At that time, words will fail these men as they attempt to explain their motives for employing such worldly, pragmatic means at the expense of the truth and dignity of the Word.

The true Church is composed of those who love Christ, not those who love a good gimmick. Pastor, if you desire to see souls saved, then preach Christ (1 Cor. 9:16). If you desire to draw those to church whom Christ is drawing, then boldly proclaim salvation and forgiveness of sins through Him.
For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. (1 Cor. 1:22–24)
Further Reading
2012 Megachurch Easter Extravaganzas
Conversion: Its Source, Sign and Security
To Those Who Would Undermine the Headship of Christ: Fall on Your Faces 

6 comments:

  1. Wow. It's even worse than I thought. God help us.

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  2. Just out of curiosity, do you believe it is possible for church to be enjoyable and fun without being sin? I'm not talking about the classic "a believer will want to be at church to learn about God". I ask that question genuinely because I have heard it argued (not by you, to my knowledge, but others) that if a person is enjoying something, the Holy Spirit is having no influence on that person; he would be broken and crying out of loathing of himself and his sins before a holy God.

    I am not saying that this extreme is a good thing; clearly this is not. The question I am throwing out is, "Where is the line?" What is the exact moment where it's not OK? I have my theory, but I want to hear yours first.

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    1. Q1: Yes, only as the joy and "fun" are centered on Christ. This is a foreign concept to most churches, mega or not. Usually what passes for "joy" and "fun" in a church is the same as in the world and therefore disqualifies itself from being pleasing to God-James 4:4.

      As for the brokenness, self loathing and crying out due to sins, it would be inaccurate and unbiblical to say that this is the only outcome of the Holy Spirit dealing with a person. However, this will be the first encounter any born again person will have with the Holy Spirit. Seeing ourself as God sees us in our sin is a must to genuine repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus. It will most definitely produce brokenness and self loathing. But, He will also produce the joy of the Lord in our hearts as the realization of the forgiveness of sins has been given to us.

      Q3&4: When the Lord Jesus is mocked by our words and actions. Clearly, the world's celebration of Easter does precisely that, it is a mockery of the greatest event in the history of creation and heaven itself. All of it, the eggs, the bunnies, the parties, or however they pass the day on that Sunday is a mockery of the Lord Jesus Christ-Gal. 6:7.
      When the Gospel is altered in any manner. More later.

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  3. On another aspect is could dropping 1000 of eggs be a hazard according to FAA regulations

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    Replies
    1. I thought the same thing. How do they make sure none of those eggs falls on a person. Seems like that could be deadly.

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  4. It would have been wonderful if they dropped flyers talking about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He is RISEN from the grave.. He is not dead, he's ALIVE! Repent and trust in Jesus for the remission of your sins

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