“They Like Newness…”

The title of this post is a statement recently made by a Pastor whose church is now in foreclosure – an explanation of the church’s attempt at attracting younger congregants. The statement is yet another indictment on the false prosperity gospel and the culture of greed and accumulation (and a little bit of seeker sensitivity thrown in for good measure). In addition to espousing the “God want’s everyone to be rich” mantra to their congregations, many pastors embraced that same philosophy in their attempt to build churches stadiums to attract worshippers customers – and hope that those folks would continue to feed the pig.

Interestingly enough, people who can barely pay their own bills don’t seem to eager to keep funding mega-building projects for others either:

Houses of God increasingly face foreclosure

FORT WASHINGTON, Md. – By the time thousands of parishioners stream into the 3,000-seat Ebenezer AME Church on Easter Sunday, church leaders hope to have something else to celebrate: financial revival.

The congregation, one of America’s largest, has been scrambling to raise funds to save the arena-sized sanctuary from potential foreclosure. To that end, it has enlisted national leaders, such as the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Harvard Law School’s Charles Ogletree, who was President Barack Obama’s law professor.

[...] Supercheap, few-questions-asked loans were a temptation even churches could not resist, but now they are paying for their mistakes as the debt crisis enters the house of God. Long considered among the safest of borrowers, churches gambled on real estate at a time when credit copiously flowed and lenders were startlingly lax.

And here’s a pearl of wisdom from the pastor’s statement that inspired this post:

“You build it and they will come. It really was true through the years,” said Brad Hampton, executive pastor at the Faith Center of Rockford, Ill. “They like newness,” he says of younger churchgoers.

Hampton’s megachurch was erecting a new sanctuary that could seat almost 2,000 when his lender refused further credit beyond an initial $4.2 million. The Faith Center, which also has a 48,000-square-foot “life center” that operates various ministries, is being foreclosed upon.

That’s right “pastor” – don’t proclaim the truth of the Gospel or succinctly explain the difference between eternal life through Christ and hopeless damnation without Him…just build pretty buildings to attract and keep the “they” you seek to entertain.

I still marvel that instead of concentrating on planting smaller churches throughout an area and committing to building disciples who will evangelize the Gospel, pastors sought (still seek?) to build monuments to their egos to attract seekers to marvel at their handy work. Their protestations rival the claims of Apple/AT&T’s claim that “there’s an App for that”: need something for your kids to do? We have a ministry for that. Need to lose weight? We have a ministry for that. So, that’s why they need huge arena’s and “family life centers” with their names emblazoned across the top…“to do ministry”.

God is continuing to expose waste and corruption purported in His Name, and I pray that we continue to discern and recognize the wheat and the chaff – and cling to Him instead of the material “stuff” we attribute to Him.

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18 Responses to ““They Like Newness…””


  1. 1 anointedvessel April 5, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    Yeeeeouch! you hit it and quit it!!!!I’m rubbin my own head and I ain’t even guilty. You know what though, it wasn’t only the “Newness” some Christians (so called), liked but the anonymity. When you go to a big tent circus church with over 5,000 head of sheep there is a tendency to hide amongst the other sheep. Sight unseen, somehow equates to no accountability, somewhere in that equation they forgot about God and HIS SIGHT! I have been to some of these circus churches and they have some of the biggest clicks in America, they have the Homosexuals, (of course), and who is gonna challenge them? They choir gotta sound tight, the music gotta be right so people can have that “Experience” that is now advertised instead of “Relationship”. They gotta make that note on that building! you got your floozies and huzzies dressed like they walked straight outta the club, off the pole, and just picked up all of their one dollar bills. You got your bible toting Bama’s, that’s the no good men looking for desperate church women, who came to the big churches looking for a church man (huh…. rolling eyes). You got your prayer of Jabez followers, with bibles and notebooks at the ready, sitting right in front so they can throw money at their idol, and they can get their territory enlarged (shaking head no no no tsk tsk tsk). You got your HollyWeird stars getting green lighted to go on and pursue their foolishness, in direct opposition to God’s word, so long as they bring in that dime. Then the saddest group.. the truly lost who wondered in because the sign on the door said church, when it should have said Ichabod’s Circus. Now the world has more justification than ever to talk about the church because of it’s greed, a few too many bad examples has painted all of Christianity with a broad brush stroke in the absolute wrong shade….Gray

    • 2 speaking truth April 5, 2010 at 1:39 pm

      As usual AV, you have rendered me speechless (or typless in this case :-) ). You’ve covered enough ground and don’t need me to co-sign. How’s your daughter, BTW? I’m still keeping you both in my prayers…

  2. 3 Marilyn April 5, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    One of the largest black mega churches here in Houston is facing the same fate. Around the 1st week of February, a local news story was broadcast that the bank had foreclosed on the property and sent officers to ‘secure’ the location and make sure that no one came on the premises to remove anything. I have a dear friend who has been a member of this church for many years (she is elderly). Several years ago, the pastor decided to build a new sanctuary (one of those ‘dome’ type worship centers). I remember telling my friend, “Why are you all building a new sanctuary? The one you have is perfectly all right.” They built a sanctuary maybe 20 yrs. ago or so, and it is huge, adequate for the congregation, and very nice. My friend had replied that the pastor wanted to use that sanctuary to ‘rent out’, since they have many gospel concerts at her church, as well as they rent it out for school functions, etc. She also told me that the older members (her generation) had helped build that sanctuary, but she did not think many of them were willing to go through building another one. She thought it needless, also. She also stated that if her pastor thought the ‘younnger’ parishiners were going to support it as her generation had supported the building of the first church, then he would find out. Well, find out he did. My friend told me on another occasion that in response to the church not being able to meet its financial obligations (due to the lack of satisfactory financial support by the members, most of who are younger), the pastor had gotten up in church one Sunday and said from the pulpit, “Some of ya’ll will go give your money to those ____ to get your nails done rather than give it to the church!” Now I say, “How brazen a comment is that to make!” Well, they have been barred from the property now, and are having services in a ‘satellite’ church located in one of the suburbs. This church is smaller, so they’ve had to break the service up into several smaller services to accomodate all the people. I always thought the reason he built this new ‘dome’ was greed, striving to have bigger and better, to be the ‘big dog.’ Evidently, it was not of God, as I believe many of these ‘ventures’ are not of God. It’s all to promote the flesh, period. God is exposing all of this and more…On a side note: The apostasy is just so rampant in these ‘churches’ (clubs), it doesn’t matter if the congregation is large, medium, or small, it is just so sad. I came out of the apostate, organized ‘church club’ last year, and am involved in an intimate Bible study group now, and I tell you, I’ve learned so much! The deep, ‘meat of the Word’ teachings rival anything I was ever taught in the organized church; they just don’t teach that stuff (for the most part). I realize all I was getting was baby food, dessert, but no meat to chew on. Oh well, that’s my testimony…

    • 4 speaking truth April 5, 2010 at 1:42 pm

      Thanks for your comment Marilyn. Houston (and Dallas) are growing notorious for mega-church’s that are unrivaled, so this is no surprise to me. I’m glad that you found an intimate fellowship where the Word is served as strong meat – I also pray that you gain faith in the organizaed Body again as well. Like you, I’m “better off” in small fellowships since I fled the club(s) as well, but I’m not against mega-churches (per se), I just haven’t seen too many that can handle the temptations with explosive growth.

  3. 5 escapeetoo April 5, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    Good post! I remember at Club Hustle & Flow the mantra was “NEW” or “Building God a House.” In fact I remember one Club worker state “Now that we are moving from a store front into our own building people will consider us a real church.” I thought wow its all about the “Bling” factor!

    The residential real estate market is near rock bottom. Commercial real estate is next and so are churches that have over spent and over committed.

    I trust God’s will. But my heart also does not want to see these buildings fail. Failure of these buildings will further damage thos caught up in the club. But God’s will must (and will) prevail.

  4. 6 wannabereal April 5, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    wow@ “Anointedvessel”…you got me with your comments, especially “Ichabod’s Circus”….so sad but so true..that describes a lot of what is going on these days.

  5. 7 Eyeswideopen April 6, 2010 at 11:20 am

    Hey ST! As usual another great post. But i mst send a shout out to @AT! All I can say is… “you better preach up in here”!

  6. 9 GaryV April 6, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    I wonder how many of these pastors whose Temples Of Ego are now in foreclosure initially began their building programs by telling their sheeple, “GAWWWWWWWWWWD is telling us to build a new sanctuary. You all need to get behind the Man of GAWWWWWWWWWD (points to self). Thus sayeth the Lawd.”

    What happened?? God changed His mind?? Or did He run out of funds?? Or was the Man Of GAWWWWWD simply and plainly deceived by another spirit??

    Do any of these pastors or their congregants ask themselves these questions?? How many of them would move from sheeple to sheep if they did honestly confront these questions??

    Sadly, very few will. They’ll simply blindly follow along the next time the pastor dangles a shiny object in front of their noses. Anything but the Gospel.

    • 10 speaking truth April 6, 2010 at 1:32 pm

      Gary I’ve said it time and time again that the prosperity gospel has rendered itself impotent time and time again yet people STILL roll the dice and think they’ll hit the jackpot. It’s very plain to see who the liar is in that evil equation, and it certainly ain’t God! BTW – when are you gonna guest-write an article? You blessed Melvin and IC…when do I get my turn?

  7. 11 GaryV April 6, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    I’ll PM you later……….tell you what’s been up lately. I’ve missed you.

  8. 12 gcmwatch April 6, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    I read this article. Sad. Im glad you wrote about it. All I could do was shake my head.

    In contrast, look at this one from the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

    http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2010/mar/28/churches-defy-economy-keep-building/

    It says just the opposite. Churches defy economy, keep building

    • 13 speaking truth April 6, 2010 at 4:52 pm

      Strange indeed gcmwatch. Of course, the 1 comment left on the article talks about how God has been “faithful” because of all the “tithes that keep coming in” despite the recession. I am thoroughly convinced that deception is voluntary because there’s no way in Hades some of these hucksters could propser except by the willful ignorance of their followers.

    • 14 Melvin June 3, 2010 at 4:36 pm

      Pigg and Crud-up. I couldn’t have given these guys better names.

      Melvin

      (PS: Hi folks. Long time no see. )

  9. 17 Messenger Beloved April 6, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    I’m glad I came across this article. In our situation, we really do need a sanctuary for our ministry. Right now, we rent space from an Apostolic Ministry and are, of the sorts, limited to what we can accomplish with the vision at hand. We can only use the facility twice a week Sundays at 3pm to 6pm and Thursday’s at 6pm…then we try to cram in everything on Thursday, which at times can be overwhelming.

    One thing you brought out that caught my attention was the cliche’ “if you build it, they will come.” I was under the impression that they will come even if you don’t build it; to maintain what you do have and make it work. I would rather see God’s people taking in $40k a month with a well-kept sanctuary for the cause, coming together and getting the people out of debt, or purchasing a mother of three a car vs. her having to take a taxi cab throughout the city to take care of daily responsibilities, or even getting your elder out of the hood and buying him a house because he serves the Kingdom of the Lord faithfully, in ministry, and asks you for no thing.

    I’ve often said, and I say it again: majority of the time, they are not giving to the poor, they are taking from the poor amongst them week after week and yet expect the poor to give all that they have..not realizing they have already taken all that the poor has.

    Greedy Bastards!

    Selah!

  10. 18 Pat April 12, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    Don’t be fooled. We are warned about false teachers and prophets-no matter what we say they shall continue one way or the other but we must continue to sound the alarm one person escaping from church abuse-spiritual abuse-just one is worth this blog. Galatians 2:19-21. I had to realize and look into my own future-hmph! Can I see myself in this years from now?.. whats gonna happen then?make that move!


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