This entry is part [part not set] of 10 in the series The Church is a Mystery

Everyone wants to be part of a church where they are somebody. They want to feel a sense of belonging, a part of the whole. We want our pastor to know us and love us and care for us. We don’t want to be a number on a stat sheet, or a just a chair-filler in a worship service. Nothing wrong with that, since the Bible is full of admonitions about the shepherd caring for his sheep. But how does that work in a “megachurch”? I decided to find out.

This was big, really big. And confusing. I wasn’t sure where the entrance was, where the worship center was. It was a like being on a college campus with numerous buildings and never quite being sure where I was supposed to go. But I plunged in. I wanted to see what worship was like at the infamous mega-church—10,000 worshippers at five weekend services.

The first thing that impressed me was that I found a parking spot that was walking distance to where I thought I was supposed to go. Impressive, especially since I am not a fan of large crowds, or of parking shuttles from distant parking lots. The next thing that impressed me as I walked in and found a seat was the ethnic diversity of this church. It was as if I had entered the throne room of heaven where worshippers from every nation and tribe and people and language express their adoration to the Lamb. I actually had to turn around and look at the faces of so many different races, all worshipping the same Savior. This is the Body of Christ as it some day will be!

But what really caught my attention is that this pastor knew his people. And his people responded to him. There was a shepherd-sheep connection that was unexpected for such a huge church. His preaching was directed specifically to his people. And they were engaged. Listening, taking notes, responding to his tender calls for interaction. It struck me that there are pastors of much smaller churches that do not have this kind of knowledge of their people. It reminded me of Jesus whose sheep know His voice and follow Him.

Another significant impression I took from here was that the name of Jesus was exalted and lifted high. They were just beginning a series on Revelation and it was made very clear that this final book of the New Testament is all about Jesus. King Jesus. Savior Jesus. Lord Jesus. Messiah Jesus. The one and only name worthy of our praise and worship and allegiance. It was so encouraging to realize that this mega-church had not been distracted from her main priority.

I fully acknowledge that one visit to a public worship service cannot paint a complete portrait of a local church. But I also realize that one visit is a fairly significant indicator. I have attended churches where one visit was all it took to realize that there was trouble in that place. But as I left this gigantic expression of the Bride of Christ, I was so encouraged. Here was a pastor that knew and loved his people. Here was a local body that was a reflection of the ethnic diversity that is the Body of Christ. Jesus was central, and His name was exalted. This was a beautiful expression of the Bride of Christ, an earthly, localized Bride that is deeply in love with her Groom.

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