Recently an atheist went to visit Planetshakers, an Australian megachurch, and wrote about her experience here.
Was the Gospel preached here? Were those in attendance confronted in any way by the scandal of the Cross? I don’t know. Maybe if I had gone to this church, I would have come away with a different impression. It is not fair to judge things like this on the basis of just one article that I read somewhere. But if the Gospel was present here, then for some reason it did not show up on this writer’s radar screen.
What showed up instead was technology. Lots of it. A crowd loaded with hip young people, all looking like they just stepped off Australian Idol. Arena-rock quality worship music with over-the-top sensuous lyrics. Middle-aged pastors who tried to appeal to the youth by looking and sounding cool–and failed miserably. An altar call that came off sounding dreadfully like a real-estate auction.
Many evangelicals would see this type of church as a triumph of missional methodology–i. e. doing what we have to do to reach young people. But is it? Does this type of church experience foster simple faith and dependence upon Christ? Or does it drive out the legitimate work of the Holy Spirit, replacing it with technology, niche marketing, and the power of the crowd, and calling that the work of the Holy Spirit?
What if an atheist came to visit your church? Would their response be similar to the article that I linked above?