Posts Tagged ‘Creflo Dollar’

TV is changing the world, but is it changing the Church?

If you’re a football fan, you may have seen the megalopolis Jerry Jones erected in Arlington, Texas (outside of Dallas).

Some say it’s because God deserves a sanctuary that large to watch his favorite team. Others believe it’s some sort of obfuscated version of overcompensation. And then there’s that amazing video screen. Lord have mercy, it’s huge. And unfortunate.

Imagine sitting anywhere facing the sideline. Of course, you pay $400 for a glorified nosebleed seat and you are faced with two choices – watch a bunch of guys who look like ants on the field of green below or gaze upon the wonderment of a 159′ x 71′ TV screen. In HD, no less.

You bet you are watching the TV screen. Who wouldn’t?

You get back to your car and feel like you have lost five pounds. Your pants fit the same. You still look a little bloated in the cheek. And those $18 nachos you threw down your gullet didn’t help your GI tract. Then it dawns on you, with parking, eating and the seat costs, you are out close to $600… for watching TV. Think you’re going back after that epiphany? Me neither.

Considering that realization, I was reading the greatness of CNN Belief’s blog and found a nice opinion piece on a horse of a different color; yet, with the same flashy saddle – TV watching in church.

People listening to their pastor preach on Sunday morning may now ask a question that no one has ever asked before: Is this live or is this on tape delay? They are pastors like Rev. Ed Young, senior pastor of Fellowship Church in Dallas, Texas. Young broadcast videos of his sermons from his “mother” church to other congregations in Texas and even one in Florida.

Beam me up, Scotty. With the rapid growth of churches these days, the need for TV screens is a must because there is always that one seat in the back behind a structure beam. Well that, or some oblivious woman with her “crown of glory.”

However the issue is with the satellite congregation. Ostensibly, they are watching church on TV. Sure, there’s a live worship team and the occasional assistant pastor edifying folk and making announcements but when the senior chieftain takes the stage, it’s showtime. The lights dim, the crowd quiets and on goes… the TV?

Has this become the pseudo-church? We all experience fellowship of a different ilk watching a game and grubbing down on BBQ fresh off the grill at a friend’s house. So why can’t this be the same? Simple – it’s not.

That power you experience from above is not the satellite

Church is not meant to be entertainment. It’s a hospital for the hurting, a refuge for those reduced to tears. Church can be a fun, a blast even, but when the saints go into screensaver mode instead of the monitor they are watching, we have an issue.

Geoff Surratt, author of “The Multi-site Church Revolution,” said at least 3,000 churches nationwide use some variation of high-def video to spread their pastor’s Sunday morning sermons. Some broadcast hologram images of pastors that float suspended in the air behind the pulpit, while others project images of ministers on large video screens. Some sermons are broadcast live, while others are pre-recorded.

Even worse, “pre-recorded” church. What’s stopping people from mailing it in from Netflix or peeping TBN and DayStar for church? Who needs a church building anyway when you have DVDs and iSermons, right?

The Bible clearly shows that if we have fellowship with God, then we should have fellowship with his people. “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

Facebook is fun but a little disengaging with all that poking going on. Twitter is great to follow other people’s conversations (even though most well-known Christ followers don’t follow back). However, what is so social about social media is that it has limits in its socialism.

Can’t the same be said about satellite churches? You are together in the company of believers, but then again, not so much. Everyone is watching the TV, separate from any attachment and once the TV turns off, they all go home. Just as if they hit the remote control.

And if you don’t believe me… didn’t the Word become flesh and dwell among us? It wasn’t transmitted in HD. You know, like a football game.

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Fresh on the heels of stories run-a-muck regarding one Creflo”he who lives up to his surname” Dollar getting sued for a text message enterprise gone the way of Bernie Madoff other professional kleptomaniacs, we have a strategic PR campaign… er, a moment of mea culpa.

According to this story from Charisma magazine, Creflo Dollar has been donating buckets of “change” to non-profit organizations across the nation.

Since February, Creflo Dollar has taken his Change Experience tour to five cities, giving away $10,000 in each location to a ministry making a difference in its community. During a tour event Friday in Denver, the pastor of 30,000-member World Changers Church International gave an unexpected $10,000 donation to The Gathering Place, the city’s only daytime drop-in center for poor and homeless women and children.

How else did the professional shot get taken? iPhone?

How else did the professional shot get taken? iPhone?

Never mind the fact these donations have taken place prior to a press release making its way to each city’s news outlets, I’m sure the mand of Gawd got this command FedEx from the Holy Ghost. (Wink. Wink.)

“In a time where so many people find the world caving in around them and have lost hope, that is when the body of Christ should be there with open arms,” said Dollar, who with his wife, Taffi, ministers to millions each week through their TV ministry and satellite church campuses. “We must be the change.”

Right you are, Taffi. It’s just too bad those open arms are jettisoned north only in the event of media coverage.

The Dollars are people of faith, right? They know the word, correct? Well, it’s not like I am a Seminarian or something, but perhaps it’s the Holy Ghost I am thinking of this note in canon:

“Be careful that you don’t do your charitable giving before men, to be seen by them, or else you have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:1 NCV)

Thank God non-profit and faith-based organizations are being provided for in these terrible economic times. Even if the Lord uses Creflo’s dollars, that cash will put to great use.

All this story would have a wonderful slant to it if only the media wasn’t given the heads-up before your tent crusade pitches a media story before the tent it came in.

Why?

prosperity-gospelWhy can’t a preacher be profitable without become a profiteer? Why is money-grubbing such a player in the whole “prosperity message.”

I understand that if a man can’t live a message, he shouldn’t preach it.

Nonetheless, if that was always the case, the entire body of Christ would throw up their hands and quit testifying and evangelizing because no one is worthy of living out salvation.

No one can back it up daily, and if they say they can, they are selling you something (you know, like this cat) but I would at least like to see some fruit instead of withered, old prunes dangling in front of TV cameras.

And what’s the charity going to say, “No, please, don’t tempt me with cash that can feed thousands of people we are trying to reach. We know you’re not the most righteous tool in the drawer.”

No, they are going to cash that big, floppy check quicker than Creflo can say, “rapture” and do what God has called them to do… despite the tool doing what he says he is called to do.

It’s time for this week in video evangelism, and I have been waiting a while to play this famed clip from “Good Times” about the corrupt, trendsetting “Reverend Sam” (played by the great Roscoe Lee Browne).

You know, if you look hard enough, you will see bits and pieces of Carlton Pearson, Fred Price, Creflo Dollar and the gang. (Maybe not Paula White because the folk on Good Times don’t even act that black).

Maybe the only prophet we should be talking about is Norman Lear, the show’s creator?! IJS.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

I once heard a pastor, whom I greatly admire, say something that made the “Great Commission” make all the sense in the world:

“The number one reason for Atheism in this country is the actions of most people who call themselves Christians.”

Amen! And evidently, a recent survey noted by USA Today suggests that to not only be prolific, but also prognostication.

A new survey of U.S. adults who don’t go to church, even on holidays, finds 72% say “God, a higher or supreme being, actually exists.” But just as many (72%) also say the church is “full of hypocrites.” Indeed, 44% agree with the statement “Christians get on my nerves.”

prayer-2You know, I should write this in ALL CAPS (and in bold) so you could hear my voice reverberating on these walls as I shout and yawp about the need for the whole Church to wake up, stand up and man (or woman) up!

And for the rest of us, we just need to pray like life depended on it! And it does.

There is no greater pool of humanity where the rotten apples spoil the proverbial bunch than Christianity, which is why the zealots, the realists, the devoted and the public need to be the best witnesses possible…

…and the televised, the cults, the sects, the fake, the rich and famous and the uh, “prosperous” need to realize the error of their ways.

Why? This is all your fault!

Huh?!

What does it say that “more than one in five” Americans would rather not go to church and humanistically believe in God than act like some of the fools and charlatans seen on a religious TV broadcast near you?! Don’t get me wrong, I thank God for Christian television – its premise, not what it’s become.

What it needs to be is a beacon of hope, the salt of the earth, a light in the darkness, a city set on a hill. It’s not.

Why? Consider the string of stories seen on TV that best represent God to the common person, the average believer:

Jim Jones, Robert Tilton, Warren Jeffs, Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Bakker, Pat Robertson, Earl Paulk, Paula White, Todd Bentley, Carlton Pearson, David Koresh, Oral & Richard Roberts, Michael Guglielmucci, Mike Murdoch, Paul Crouch, Benny Hinn, Creflo Dollar, Kenneth Copeland, and on… and on… and on… and on… and on.

There’s a lot of faith in that dank room, a lot of influence and notoriety, and a lot of serious issues! However, these are some of the collective misfits folk call to memory when asked, “Who represents the Body of Christ?”

wwjd-for-realRight, wrong or indifferent: it’s always the vocal minority, the swarthy tail that wags the dog all day long. And they are it. To that end, it’s the mission of the real Christians, the living epistles to change those unfortunate and misguided perceptions.

It’s a dubious task, but if you’re up to it, our work could pay big dividends for the persecuted, the passionate and the pronounced in a world of people who really can’t stand us. Sure, we are nice people and folk in the workplace like us, they really like us.

But they watch us like hawks waiting for us to plummet in a whirlwind of sin that would take out a small village in Indonesia. And they would applaud all the while chalking up our names to the growing list of noteworthy evangelists and “other prominent folk who call themselves religious” all in the name to say, “I told you so.”

In other words, their actions aren’t doing us any favors. God is faithful but some of those who pass themselves off as “his people” are not so much.

God blesses us with money and sustenance, but those folk are chock full of greed. God gives us grace, but those nitwits with false humility ball that gift up and hurl it back into our faces. And what we have been attempting to tell the throngs quoted in this pathetic survey: God’s son is the way, the truth and the life but regretfully no one is coming to the Father because of “them.”

Most of the unchurched (86%) say they believe they can have a “good relationship with God without belonging to a church.” And 79% say “Christianity today is more about organized religion than loving God and loving people.”

Pastors and parishioners alike, if you don’t read a forsaken, plotted word I type, please read this: there is a distinct and incontrovertible reason why churches tend to be emptier these days… it’s the nasty church folk running all the good, unsaved folk out the door in the name of “being spiritual.”

Ever hear the adage, “You can be so spiritually minded that you are no earthly good”?

Yeah, neither have the people who have caused the 72 percent exodus of potential believers. Get real, Church. We have a job to do. You up to it? If so, see you in the trenches. Trust me, there will be plenty of room!

Peace.

It’s almost Six Degrees of Separation to source this riveting article, but I’ll give it a shot before I get rolling:

vanishing churchThanks to Another Brick on the Wall “Spiritual Pathway Ministries“, by way of the whole article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and discusses a Bob Pearle book entitled The Vanishing Church: Searching for Significance in the 21st Century.

All clear? OK, and away we go…

For the past couple weeks, we have plastered on the Wall a few ruminations about “Big Box” megachurches and even its progeny, “minichurches”.

And now this article about Pearle’s Vanishing Church stands in my shadow threatening to whoop up on anyone who talks smack in my direction.

He doesn’t hold that churches are literally “vanishing,” since there are all kinds of churches, often filled to overflowing, in our neck of the woods [North Texas]. “What I’m saying is that the biblical New Testament church is vanishing from society today,” he said. “Anything and everything is acceptable as long as it builds a crowd. Jesus wasn’t as interested in building a crowd as he was in telling the truth.”

Amen! And why all this brouhaha over exponentially growing houses of worship? It’s simple math:

On one hand, we have church overflowing of concert-quality worship, hypersensationalism, a disconnected waltz through the scriptures and a sermon that is more Tony Robbins and less Tony Campolo.

going-back-to-churchAnd on the other, we have a warehouse full of crushed velvet, ornate furnishings and lots of bling… and that’s just the “Frozen Chosen” sitting in the pewser, chairs.

Add the two together and you still get a bunch of folk en route lights and sirens to Luby’s Cafeteria who still can’t tell you what scripture was shared in the pulpit.

From seeker sensitive to televised tabernacle, the missing part of the equation seem to be allegiance to God’s Word. Well, better yet, just God’s Word.

Pearle — who rejects the label of fundamentalist — says declining membership in many mainline Protestant groups results from watering down core biblical teachings. He believes that evangelicals who do that will suffer the same fate. “You have to hear the bad news that we are sinners, before your receive the good news of salvation,” Pearle says.

People, we need a Savior, which is why we should celebrate Jesus Christ daily. We are “saved” and set free to worship God. However, most of us would rather go check out some dude crush expletives in the pulpit for shock value or hear the “Aw shucks the big guy upstairs sure loves you” show.

Now, THIS is the stuff worth shouting about in the sanctuary, regardless what size it is! Anyone?