Until last night, I had never been to a “Megachurch,” nor a Baptist church. So I figured, let’s kill two birds with one stone and try this new Tuesday-night “contemporary worship service” I’ve heard about.
I was overwhelmed. I have never seen anything like this–the church and parking lot combined were easily bigger than most city blocks, and there were police officers directing traffic in and out, as well as volunteers waving orange glow sticks around orange cones. The church itself was massive, though I only experienced a small part of it. I walked in and found a mass of people that was nearly impossible to maneuver through. The main conference room we were in was set up with a portion of round tables (including candle-lit centerpieces) and then rows and rows of chairs. I couldn’t see them well, as they were already full, but they were there. And as I made my way to a seat that a friend of a friend had graciously saved for me, I was speachless.
Between the traffic and the musician set up, it was clear I was entering a worship concert. The front of the room housed a stage with overly-energetic musicians, cool lighting, and a bright powerpoint screen with the lyrics. I glanced around and saw that most of the people there were college and twenty-something aged. Incredible.
Though floored by my initial intake, I took a moment to catch up with my thoughts. This was nothing like any church or youth group activity I had ever been to. A Tuesday night, and here are hundreds of young people, gathered for worship, fellowship, prayer, and teaching. And although my initial reaction was a bit negative, it slowly turned into one of awe. I may not love the structure of a church this huge, or of a worship concert with musicians smack-dab in the front of everyone, but all these gimmicks brought together literally hundreds of young people. And the pastor knew the audience he had.
The pastor’s sermon was aimed directly at our age group. Speaking of sex, love, and marriage had to have been difficult (he even warned us before he began), yet he tackled it more simply and straight forward than anyone else I’ve ever heard or anything else I’ve ever read on the subject. So gimmicks aside, a really important message was being delivered to people who really needed to hear it. Awesome.
It is so encouraging to know that God is working in so many lives. That even when we don’t hear Him, see Him, even believe in Him, He finds ways to show He’s working. Last night, He showed me a lot of people who have the same ups and downs as me, and are seeking answers. A lot of people who deal with tough stuff everyday. A lot of people who have really messed up backgrounds that have led them to where they are. And a lot of people who are aiming to live beautiful, full, and Godly lives.
I was pleasantly surprised to find so much inspiration, despite my steroptypes regarding a megachurch. Another lesson for me in judging things too soon.