We are members of what I believe is now the second largest church in our nation. It is indeed a mega church if there ever was one. We have tens of thousands of members and 14 campuses not including the 14 correctional facilities.
Honestly, it still surprises me at times that we are not only attending such a church but enjoying it immensely and flourishing spiritually. The reason it surprises me is that before we began to attend Church of The Highlands, I had some strong opinions about how a mega church was. I had opinions but no personal experience.
I blush to think of some of the assumptions and yes, even comments I made about how it must be to attend a church with tens of thousands of members. I was wrong and I don’t mind saying so. I was wrong and perhaps you are too if you, like I was, are struggling with skepticism.
I assumed there would be no accountability. That’s simply not the case. First and foremost, the Word of God is taught and accountability is as real as I’ve ever experienced. The Holy Spirit is present and He convicts and comforts. We are held accountable.
I assumed that with so many thousands, I’d be swallowed up like a salmon in a stream of other salmons, all looking the same, flouncing around and experiencing no individuality. That isn’t my experience at all. I’ve never felt that my unique abilities and talents have been more celebrated (and useful).
I assumed it would be difficult to connect in a meaningful manner. That isn’t what has happened at all. As we attend small groups, serve on teams and attend events, we have developed real relationships with real people who know us, pray for us and call us by name.
One of the best things about our church is the great diversity. It was one of the most important factors after solid Biblical doctrine that we were looking and hoping for. Our family is diverse and living in the Deep South limited possibilities of a good fit for us. Every single time we attend COTH, every single time, I am struck by the great diversity. There is every kind of people, every age, every economic status, every ethnicity. And guess what? I’ve met many other adoptive families. There are many foster families. There are many families just as large and unique and diverse as ours. It is marvelous.
Many is a good word to describe our church. There are many, many people. And because of that you may come across a difficult person, an annoying person, a gossipy judgemental person, a bitter person, a mean-spirited person, a person that causes trouble and strife. They exist in a mega church just like they exist in a small church. Why? Because churches aren’t full of perfect people. By in large they are full of people who are trying to do better and be better but they are still human and make plenty of mistakes.
You know what happens when there are many people? There are many hands to make light the work. There are many voices to be lifted in prayer and praise. There are many opportunities to serve in the community and make a difference. There are many hearts willing to be a small art of something that is much bigger than they are. There are many to give when there is a great need.
I am proud and thankful to be one among the many. And yes, although I never thought I’d say it, I’m glad to be a member of a mega church that moves mountains, builds bridges, supports missions, encourages the masses, ministers to ministers, trains workers, parks cars, serves coffee and cries out to God in prayer for mercy and the salvation of others. Hey, try it, you might like it too. The mega church is not the right church for every family, it may not be the best choice for you. The truth is, God can move in the smallest and largest of congregations. It’s not a competition and it should be a joint effort.
Wherever you attend and call your church home, get involved, do your part and be just like us, enjoying it immensely and flourishing spiritually.