I wrote about them before on my blog.
And yes, I've probably been too snarky about them, and should probably just ignore them.
But it bothers me when a church seems to go too far to scratch people where they itch - or seem to say, "Hey, we're no different than anyone else and we're certainly not as stuffy as that old-fashioned gathering of persimmons down the road."
Since 2006, the group has developed a comprehensive plan to build a 1000 seat "civic center" along our interstate highway. (Yea, saw several of those while I was a student at seminary in Dallas, Texas.) They are planning a very large facility with all sorts of bells, whistles, and other assorted noisemakers. These are people who had been producing Christmas spectaculars and then charging people tickets to come and see the show. When visiting their website, there's very little mention of Jesus but a whole lot of stuff about them. It's pretty clear who seems to be important to them. THEM.
But last night I was sifting through Facebook postings when I found one a friend had "liked" and it showed up in my feed. But this was for a church with a different name, advertising a "grand opening" to their new church building. I clicked their website link -- and "whoosh" (yea, there's "whooshing" on the internet...) -- I found myself at the church website for the church that was "Making God Famous" in 2006. I dug a little further and noticed they had started to build on what I'm assuming is their 27-acre tract of land mentioned previously in this post and that one of their first facilities is set to be grandly opened in a few days.
It just rubs me the wrong way when a group of people call themselves a "church" but yet seem to keep the fact that their Christians distant, or undercover. I get that they seem to be saying "Hey, Jesus is so ingrained into us that we don't have to advertise Him -- we'll just advertise US and people will know we are Christians by just being with us."
Dangle desirable stuff in front of a fish long enough and it will bite.
But I'm overly critical of stuff like this because it just seems so misleading on the surface. I'm sure there are many authentic believers in this group, and I'm sure their love is genuine and their faith is sound - but it all seems to be in the background at the sake of a "Look at how cool we are..." attitude.
Where is Jesus?
For example, they have renamed themselves yet again and their new logo is -- wait for it -- an airplane. Apparently the beloved pastor of the church used to fly planes. Go to their new website and you're hard pressed to see any overt mention of Jesus. I watched part of one of their music videos -- and a lady welcomes everyone and says "Good morning" - but the stage and room is dark, there are wild colors being projected down on the stage like there is some wonderful magical light streaming down from above, and there's fog. No windows, no sunlight -- the focus is on them while they sing ABOUT Jesus and it just "appears" so fake - at least it does for me. It just seems to be staged for the sake of appearing "contemporary" and "enticing".
So OK -- I'll give them that they're so into Jesus that He's woven into the warp and weft of their entire existence, but are moderns and millenials so familiar with Jesus and His church that they've evolved away from needing overt images of the suffering Savior and His promise of new life in Him alone? I wonder how many really understand the meaning of "grace" or key doctrines of the faith.
I mean, if I'm looking for bread, I'm not sure I'm going to make the connection that I'm going to find it at the house of the hummingbird.
I realize I should probably visit the church to get a better idea of the church that is "making God famous", and maybe I will.
But more importantly, I need to be sure the log is removed from my own eye before trying to take the speck out of theirs. I am not perfect and my personal faith failures are many. I consider myself a member of the Church of Jesus, but I haven't been a regular attendee of any formal church service for years. Trying to justify what I consider to be a more "biblical" view of church is foolish hubris. I'm just a lonely old fat curmudgeon who needs to keep his eyes on Jesus and his heart and mind purified by the Word of God.
I wish the plane church many blessings in their new church building and hope that it's members and visitors will find that more than making God famous is the importance of believers to be true to their love and faith in a mighty wonderful Savior.