Wednesday, March 09, 2016


In politics this week, TRUMP talked about having a BIG penis & in religion ANDY STANLEY talked about having a superior BIG church. Andy Stanley, silver-spoon scion of respected Baptist preacher Charles Stanley was given a big post by his Dad, then had a Shakespearean falling out with his father reminiscent of Absalom turning on his father King David.

So what did Megachurch Minister Andy Stanley get caught saying that led to his online social shaming when his remarks went viral? Andy Stanley Told People If You Don't Go to a Big Church Like His "You're So Stinkin Selfish." For his remarks, we awarded him this week’s Canaan Land Religious Butthole of the Week Award.

Is HUUUGGGEEE size what matters?

I want to share why I disagree completely with Stanley and also want you to contemplate WHY MEGACHURCHES CAN BE BAD FOR YOU, YOUR KIDS & FAMILY LONG-TERM. Why does a MILLIONAIRE MEGACHURCH PASTOR LIKE ANDY STANLEY TRASH SMALL CHURCHES?

In my experience in the Evangelical culture, Megachurches Want to Suck Up Members from Small, Neighboring Congregations Like a Spiritual Vacuum Cleaner Into the MegaChurch. These small congregations become feeder churches to the large service with a light show and fog machines. Like Laodicea in the Bible, the megachurch boasts they have programs for everyone and everybody, and have need of nothing, but are too often spiritually blind and naked.

Too often megachurches use people to build a big church, instead of using church to build up people. Jesus taught "wherever two or more gather..." That is church. Two or more meeting anytime, anywhere. According to Christ, church isn't something we go to, at a big mall building, church is something we are all the time.

Andy Stanley said if you are a part of a small church instead of a megachurch like his, you are "stinkin selfish," getting an Amen from yuppies and consumer Christians watching on large video monitors. His minister father, Charles Stanley, has more class and would've never said something so self-serving and narcissistic to build up his own empire.

“Hey, stop it,” church folks, object. “He’s said he’s sorry. End of discussion. We can’t talk about it because Andy apologized after his remarks went viral. God forgives and forgets.” Yes, he "tweeted" an apology after it went viral. I accept people's apologies when given, and I can accept he is forgiven for his stupid statements, but some religious folks think that means we shouldn't discuss the toxic ideas in his statement. "He apologized, so don’t talk about it."

I disagree. Even the Bible itself discusses and names leaders who say unhealthy things in the church and publicly refutes those ideas. King David repented in Psalm 51 and was forgiven, but if God followed the line of thinking that we can't discuss a sin when someone says "Sorry," the story of his adultery wouldn't have been written down for posterity in the Bible and discussed for thousands of years.

Yes, I believe Stanley's forgiven, let’s agree. I believe in grace & forgiveness for all. But that forgiveness doesn't negate the underlying issues of the megachurch mindset of arrogance that has supplanted true fellowship where people know one another and don't just file into a megachurch to stare at the back of someone's neck, listen to a pep talk, give their money to a monstrosity, and go home. Mega-churches are a business, and nepotism operates in it like any other business.

We learn from our failure and those of others. In the past, when the church was in a healthier place, the remarks of church leaders were vigorously discussed and debated. I'm interested in the question raised by his comments. What is a healthy church? Have you grown more in a smaller group or a megachurch? What are the components of a healthy congregation? Do the statements of a megachurch pastor require a mega-evaluation, a mega-apology, or is an “I’m sorry” Tweet an end to discussing these questions?

I can tell you my answers to the above questions. I have a polar opposite opinion from Andy Stanley. I think the megachurch model is based on selfishness. People come and sit on comfortable seats to be numbed and satiated with a religious show. They want programs that cater to their every whim. They want to be entertained. The messages are watered down and the Spirit is quenched.

When I was in my twenties working as a minister, my radio show grew to a point it was reaching thousands. We rented the large auditoriums in my hometown like Soldiers and Sailors and I preached to thousands. This scenario breeds an unhealthy environment for the leader and the followers. Pastors are lifted high on a pedestal. The more I was lifted up, the more depressed I became.

Jesus left us with hundreds of “one anothers” in the New Testament that speak of spiritual growth that happens sitting in circles, not in rows or in stadiums. What are these Biblical “one anothers?” There’s hundreds of them and I won’t give them all, but just a sampling: “Confess your faults one to another, pray one for another, accept one another, bear one another’s burdens...” etc...

My opinion, and of course feel free to accept or reject this, is the “one anothers” of a true church as Jesus taught happen where two or three are gathered. They happen when people sit in circles, not in rows. A house church. A Twelve Step Recovery meeting. A prayer group. A Marriage Encounter circle where couples gather in homes to work on improving their marriages. A handful of artists creating together, making a movie, mounting a play, forming a band. Friends going out into nature. These are the scenarios that have restored my spiritual health. My wife Sherrie Rossi and I started a movement called Eternal Grace to support you in meeting with your friends like this, and there’s a free meeting guide at the website

Be sure to find a tribe of friends where you can experience true spiritual fellowship.

We’re making a movie that will delve deep into these matters of the contrast between the toxic American gospel enterprise and true authentic faith. The lead character, like Andy Stanley, believes bigger is better. To him, religion is about the ABC’s - Attendance, Big-Buildings, Cash. He falls in love with a woman who is a true believer who confronts him and leads to his redemption. In our story, the lead character’s repentance is far more than Tweeting a 140 character “Oops.” He rethinks his whole mindset of what the church is and gives up the megachurch to truly follow Jesus. Visit the page to check out our campaign and be a part of helping us reach our goal at this site: