One Boy Went to a Bible Study, You Won’t BELIEVE What Happened Next!

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 Mega
Church Buzz

 First off let me say, I don’t like BuzzFeed. Which is why I
decided to title this article much like a BuzzFeed article. My distaste for
BuzzFeed is not unlike my distaste for mega churches. Like BuzzFeed, mega
churches draw in new attendees with catchy slogans, ear-tickling stories, and upbeat
content most people come across, because someone else was tricked into checking
them out. With titles like “You won’t BELIEVE what one man did after he ATE A
SANDWICH”, BuzzFeed raises your curiosity and you can’t help but click their
links. Typically the links lead you somewhere that has something to do with the
title, but isn’t really what you hoped for. You will be shown an image of a cat
jumping, and the title will be something like “This cat has a few tricks up its
sleeve, you won’t BELIEVE what it does next!” After clicking the link you watch
a video you may have already seen about a cat who first jumps over a bench, and
then slaps a tennis ball across a room. Wow, bet you can’t believe what you
just watched, right? That’s how I feel at a mega church. There’s a big show and
a lot of hype, but it just doesn’t deliver like the headline would lead you to
believe.

 Welcome to
Bible Study

 Anyways, let me quickly tell you my story. I grew up in a
household that wasn’t dedicated to following the Lord. My father grew up a “Christian”
but after becoming an adult, like many 18-year-old’s today, decided he wanted
to do his own thing, and walked away from the church. My mother never had
anything to do with church, and she is quite alright with that. I have an older
brother too who, under the leading of my parents, also didn’t care much. At age
12, neither did I. I did not care until I was invited to go to a bible study by
the mother of a friend, a friend whom I had no idea even cared about God. I
decided I had nothing better to do, so I attended the study. I was shocked to
see who else was there. A few skaters I knew from the nearby skate park and a
college-aged guy I had never met. Regardless of what was said or how I was
treated, I decided I wanted to keep going simply because I thought the skaters
were cool guys and I figured that I could impress my other friends at school by
saying I was hanging out with them. I needed friends. Not a performance. After
a few months of going to these bible studies, I was introduced to the concept
of God’s grace, and how to accept Him, and have the Holy Spirit enter my heart.
It was only a few weeks later, when I was afraid my parents might never come
home (they were regularly out at the bar, but much later than usual this
particular night), that I decided to accept Christ.

 A New
Beginning

 From age 13 to 18 I had the opportunity to grow in knowledge of
God, and I stayed dedicated to doing so, only sliding back a few steps along
the way. Whether it was my old lying habits coming out here and there or my
occasional lusts, either way I was still able to repent and keep moving
forward. Once I got to college however, I got to a really dark place. I began
to lie left and right to my brothers and sisters in Christ. Basically daily. I
struggled to keep my stories straight while I tried to cover my tracks. I lived
a double-life for years until I could no longer hide, and finally told all. The
grace they showed me was beautiful and unforgettable. I was forgiven not only
by God but also by my friends who also knew the Lord. I needed grace; lots of
grace, repeatedly. Grace from God and also people who actually knew what I was
doing with my life.

 Plants vs.
Institutions

 The bible studies I had attended were a part of a church plant
here in Northeast Ohio. We focus mostly on teaching straight from the bible,
and we cut out all the typical church rituals. No singing, no dressing up. Come
as you are, and leave as you are. Nobody expects you to change overnight or be suddenly
pious. No one is shocked by blatant sin, and it’s made clear that ultimately
the way you live your life is an issue to be taken up with the Lord. We also
focus on discipleship, and the experience of having a one-on-one spiritual
mentor has been extremely important in my life.

 Now the reason I have such an issue with mega churches is because
a lot of this type of in-depth interaction and grace-focus is missing.
Typically their main meetings are massive, sometimes in multiple places. I’m
sure you have heard of multi-site churches by now, and they are becoming all
the more prevalent. The rock concert thing they are doing now is regular and
lengthy, and the teachings are typically similar to the BuzzFeed approach,
ear-tickling good vibes only. To me it appears that they use their most-attended
meetings to make the Christians feel good about themselves. Singalong, clap
along, and then move on with your day. In a church that size you get lost in
the thick crowd of attendees, and you just become another number.

 Remember; I needed friends. That was the start. I needed grace,
which I only felt when I received it from people who knew me deeply, flaws and
all. As I grew, I finally needed to serve. Whereas a mega-church is satisfied
with attendance (and tithing!), in a church plant, you most likely will find a role
where you can serve and you can be sure it will further the kingdom. Now I
teach and disciple other men as part of a ministry team. Me-the
liar, can serve. The most important thing we have to do as Christians is get
people saved, not get people in the seats of the sing-fest. If your church is
made up of people who left other churches to find a more fun one, maybe a
younger one, then you are doing something wrong.

 If BuzzFeed was the only place on the internet to read interesting
articles and watch funny videos, I would use the internet a whole lot less. I
feel exactly the same way about mega churches. If they were my only option, I
sincerely believe I would have never accepted Christ. I went to my grandma’s
church as a child a few times. I learned nothing and nobody was concerned about
my well-being. Now, I know not every church is the same, and you can have your
own opinion on what works or doesn’t work. But if we are talking about Jesus
Christ, he wants us to make disciples of all the nations, and if we don’t
continue to plant we will fail that mission. Many mega churches are doing
nothing in that regard, but they are full of Christians with the potential to
do so. Don’t waste your time filling yourself up weekly, go do something
useful.

Web Application Developer and Analyst | Website | + posts

I’m a happily married Christ-following web developer who loves to run, write, read, draw, and pet my cat. I thoroughly enjoy the challenge of solving complex programming problems and doing so in a creative way.

Bryan Bassett

I’m a happily married Christ-following web developer who loves to run, write, read, draw, and pet my cat. I thoroughly enjoy the challenge of solving complex programming problems and doing so in a creative way.

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