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Breaking the 3 Megachurch Myths

Okay, let’s get this out of the way up front. I’m not writing this post to say that all megachurches are great or perfect because we all know that megachurches can have their flaws and weaknesses just like any size church can.

However, I’ve heard three common myths about megachurches over and over and over, and almost every megachurch is thrown under the bus for these three things. Saddleback Church in California has taken a lot of criticism over the years, but I want to tell you about my experience there earlier this weekend and how they debunk these myths.

They were kind enough to invite me to come speak at Radicalis, a new conference they recently for college students and young adults. I spoke with both Rick and Kay Warren as we challenged them to make an impact with their lives around the world.


There is often this belief that at a megachurch you’re just a number. People don’t really care about individuals because they’re so focused on numbers, and pastors of megachurches do everything they can to avoid contact with their attendees and are simply out of touch with them. However, often, nothing could be further from the truth. When you listen to Pastor Rick teach these college students, you can tell he has a real heart for them. In fact, I watched him walk around and literally hug the neck of EVERY one of these kids (whether they wanted him to or not). I’ve learned a lot about pastoring just from watching Rick walk through a crowd.


For years, I’ve heard people accuse Pastor Rick of cotton candy theology. They’re always quick to point out that he’s fond of preaching about “felt needs.” However, I listened as he challenged these students to make a radical decision to follow and root their lives in Christ.  He never stopped short of calling them to fully surrender to how God wants to use them in life. Powerful, effective, and very challenging.


Megachurches are often criticized for not caring about the larger church. They’re often pictured as churches that are only out for themselves and don’t care who they crush in their pursuit of numerical growth. Nothing could be further from the truth at Saddleback. They could have easily pulled this event off by themselves, but they intentionally partnered with other churches in the Southern California area. While they certainly had enough staff and volunteers to lead worship, they allowed the worship guys from other churches to come share the stage. They invited and introduced the other pastors and made it clear that it wasn’t about Saddleback, but about the Kingdom.

Anyway, in a world where we tend to hear the worst about the church, especially the megachurch, I wanted to pass along my personal experience. There are a lot of myths in general floating around out there about the church these days. Don’t jump to conclusions and buy into everything you hear. God uses all kinds and types of churches to reach His people.  

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Pete Wilson is the founding pastor of Cross Point Church in Nashville, TN and author of a new book entitled Plan B, his thoughts about what to do when life doesn’t turn out the way you thought it would. He is a frequent blogger on his popular ministry blog, WithoutWax.tv. Pete is married and has three sons.