Lakewood Church, Houston, TX
By Debbie Carrick
Are mega churches on the rise? Not only are they filling the church building but their online and television broadcast are ever increasing. Joel Osteen has won the hearts of millions with his “you can do it attitude.” He promotes the message that you can be everything God says you can be. Lakewood Church was founded by his parents, John and Dodie Olsteen, who established a full gospel church in a feed store, outside of Huston, Texas. They were filled in the Holy Spirit and they believed that the word of God was incorruptible. Because the Bible said they could be healed they believed it to be the final word. Dodie Osteen was cured, by faith, of cancer. Her miraculous healing from metastatic cancer is recounted in her book Healed of Cancer.
Rick Warren pastors Saddleback Church, in Lake Forest, CA., currently the fourth largest church in the United States. Warren might be most widely known for his message that every person’s life has a purpose. His book, The Purpose Driven Life has sold over 90 million copies worldwide. Warren hosted the Civil Forum during the 2008 presidential campaign, candidly asking both John McCain and Barack Obama the same questions separately.
Andy Stanley, the son of famous Charles Stanley, pastors North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, GA where he wins the congregation over with his “let’s sit down and talk,” way of speaking. He decodes the treasure map on a weekly basis, encouraging believers to follow good principles. Strong principles coupled with a plan for success leads to success. Stanley, like Warren works from a conservative Baptist back ground.
T.D. Jakes at the Potter’s House, in Dallas TX rocks the congregation into a place where they can see it happen with His “Woman Thou Are Loosed” conferences. He walks the platform and declares that the people who believe the word of God can be set free from sin and bondage. He is bold and loud and takes no backwater. He calls bad behavior sin and says in Christ you can walk away from anything. Jakes encourages a full gospel experience.
Their messages are direct and tangible. According to the Christian Science Monitor (Feb, 6, 2006), “These high-profile pastors are helping shape a religious phenomenon that has taken off in the United States.” They are teaching Christian’s how to reach far and believe big. But is it time to disperse? Have we learned enough? Is it time to break up and infiltrate our communities with our faith and knowledge of the LORD.
The prophet, Kim Clement spoke in Nashville, TN March 13, 2009 and spoke this word about the mega churches.
“The Spirit of Christ is upon this nation. There is a resurrection that is about to take place. There is a whole new sway that’s going to happen. Churches that once were mega churches will be nothing, because there is going to be a dispersing, a dispersing. You see God required the church to disperse. When the people got together at the tower of Babel, they were trying to build into the air a castle, so that everybody would be under one roof. But God told Adam and Eve that his chosen were to go throughout the earth and to spread abroad, to multiply, to fill the earth, to subdue it. But suddenly they were all hovered together and instead of going out they went up, a religious spirit. That’s what it does. It builds you under one roof to keep you all to think the same, talk the same language, when God loves diversity. God loves it when you are diverse and when you are different in your culture and your language and your presentation. But religion requires you all to act the same, to all preach the same, to all dance the same, if they allow you to do that, all praise the same, all believe exactly the same thing. And so what God does when this begins to happen, he sends and disperses. And what he does is he brings confusion. Well, the Bible says God is not the author of confusion. No, he brings it to disperse. What he did at the tower was he said “they imagined that they will make this thing into heaven and whatever they imagine they will do.” The power of the imagination. He said whatever they imagine they will do. And the power of imagination is what the world has grasped and the church has rejected. We don’t imagine anymore. We don’t imagine the great moves of the Spirit. We don’t imagine the great possessions that we could have for the kingdom of God. What is wrong with us? Why are we so afraid like Elijah to get up to that mountain and face the prophets of Baal and the politicians of Baal and say “you watch what my God can do, you can do what you want, but I’m going to show you something greater.” I want you to know that’s about to happen in these United States.”
As wonderful as it is to hear that success in this life is obtainable, it seems to be the common thread that holds the congregations together. What is it about the great moves of God that are simple and beautiful, transforming and full of power? Moves that are Spirit lead not pastor lead. David the psalmist said, “a wise man winneth souls.” This world is due a great awakening. Could this be what Clement sees in his spirit?