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On Driscoll & Dancing: The Peril of Megachurches

Shane Idleman

Pastor, Westside Christian Fellowship
Published Apr 16, 2024
On Driscoll & Dancing: The Peril of Megachurches

You might assume I’m against megachurches; I’m not. But whether the megachurch is in California, Georgia, or New York, it’s sad to see many pastors concerned about offending their audience.

By the title you might assume I’m against megachurches, I’m not. God often blesses a work, and a church grows, but there is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Some megachurches are doctrinally sound, filled with excitement and expectations, while others have a mere motivational speaker leading them away from theological depth and width.

Or worse yet, the recent disaster at a men’s conference where Mark Driscoll rebuked the tasteless male performer resembling America’s Got Talent more than a house of worship.

RELATED: Mark Driscoll Calls Out Megachurch over Controversial Sword-Swallowing Performance at Men's Event

They Know Not that the Spirit has Departed

Like many, I was surprised that James River church and Pastor John Lindell allowed this to take place at their men’s event. For those who say that Pastor Mark Driscol should have rebuked him privately is nonsense. A godless display of a shirtless man swallowing a sword must be confronted on the spot (regardless if he is a x-stripper or not). Where is the discernment?

I’m not saying this with a judgemental heart but with a broken one. I love Pastor Lindell’s preaching on fasting and revival. So, as you can imagine, like many I was shocked by what I witnessed. Just look at the state of the church today: Kicking the Bible as a football, getting a haircut on stage, or being proud that we leave out controversial terms on our Easter marketing material.

How does this happen? In short, leaders have no doubt drifted spiritually. Instead of hours spent praying, fasting and repenting, they are too busy for God, and like Samson: “They know not that the Spirit has departed.”

Choose this Day Whom you will Serve

In the past, many churches could avoid hot-topic issues, but not today. A clear line of demarcation is being drawn in the sand. Many pastors are choosing between political correctness and biblical faithfulness, between crowd appeal and crowd conviction, between tickling the ears and challenging the heart. Hear more here on why kingdoms are colliding.

Whether the megachurch is in California, Georgia, or New York, it’s sad to see many pastors concerned about offending their audience. After all, whoever has the most social media followers, campuses, or sermon downloads is the way to gauge success, right? Wrong. God judges faithfulness—faithfulness to His Word.

Shepherds and Watchmen

I love my fellow pastors. We feel the pain of parents losing a child to an overdose, marriages crumbling under our watch, and more tragedies than we can count. But at the end of the day, we are not just shepherds, we are also watchmen. We are to uplift and encourage and also convict. There are times when the saints must be fed, and there are times when the sinners must be warned (C. H. Spurgeon). When we fail to proclaim God’s Word faithfully, we run the risk of becoming politically correct and “perverting the words of the living God” (Jeremiah 23).

This is exactly what we are seeing today—many pastors don’t want to offend, so they’ll take a neutral approach. But truth is not “neutral” when it comes to absolutes—it’s solid and unyielding.

Mega Churches Should be Mega-phones for Truth

I’m an avid reader of books about revivals and spiritual awakenings written by those who actually experienced them. Ironically, many, if not all, say we must preach and proclaim God’s Word with authority if we are to experience true revival. The New Testament also bears this out—without authority and power from on high, words are lifeless. There is nothing to fear when preaching the truth. God ordained it, and He blesses it. He desires that all people “come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4 NKJV). Mega churches should be the biggest mega-phones for truth.

America, if you want revival (which is our only hope at this stage in the depravity game), then churches must stop silly gimmicks to draw a crowd, but instead, be focused on drawing the presence of God.

The pulpits must stop asking “Will this offend my audience?” and start asking “Will this offend God?” Stop trying to be popular, relevant, and cool, and be filled with God’s Spirit. When God gives people the authority to passionately and lovingly proclaim His Word, souls are converted, lives are changed, and families are restored. Returning to His truth is our only hope.

Image credit: ©James Gordon/Flickr/Creative Commons

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of CrosswalkHeadlines.

Shane Idleman is the founder and lead pastor of Westside Christian Fellowship in Southern California and the WCF Radio Network. More can be found at ShaneIdleman.com. Free downloads of his eBooks can be found at www.WCFAV.org. Visit him on Facebook and Twitter. Subscribe to his new podcast, Idleman Unplugged. You can also follow Pastor Shane on the free speech platform Parler.