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I'm Visiting A Megachurch This Sunday, June 24


JeffXL
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My friend is hosting a German exchange student, and she wants to see a megachurch before she returns to home.

 

So, we're meeting at Willow Creek in South Barrington, Illinois. This should be a paradigm example for her.

 

I'm posting this mostly because I needed to vent, but also if there any former megachurchers who might tell me what to expect. According to their site:

 

"The mission of Willow Creek Community Church is to turn irreligious people into fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ."

 

So. Do they have Ex-Christian detectors? :lmao:

 

Interestingly, she was warned of how insanely religious the USA is. And she still came!

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In my experience, most average church-going Christians are nice, decent, friendly folks though they are sadly scientifically ignorant and not great at thinking for themselves when it comes to their religious beliefs. It's the lunatic fringe that is the problem. I have attended Lakewood Church in Houston, TX several times in the past. You should probably expect to be among friendly, outgoing folks who will probably love-bomb you since you are visiting there. There may be a long period of corporate worshiping of a Magic Sky Man (which I used to really enjoy), followed by large amounts of "feel-good" motivational religious bullshit. Personally, I wouldn't worry about what they have to say since you know beforehand that it will largely be bullshit. Go with your friend and enjoy the experience and have a good time. Glory! :)

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My suggestion is: Try not to laugh at the escalators at Willow. I mean a church with escalators? Willow is a wild place. I used to go there before it got super huge. And before I woke up and sorta shook myself thinking, WHOA! How did I end up here? I've never been in the new auditorium. The new one seats about eight thousand. The old one only had four thousand seats.

 

Here's what to expect:

The music will be upbeat and happy, happy, happy. Then there will be a drama. Next the music will be sappy, sappy. Then a pastor will come out and tell you about how much Sky God loves you. And then you leave.

 

The church is so huge, no one will know you're new and visiting unless you say, "I'm new." Just sit in the back and sorta gasp at the size of the place. I suggest going on a Saturday as Sundays are extra busy.

 

Good luck.

CelloChick

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Thank you both for the great advice!

 

We're going to the 11:15 service on Sunday. Looking at the map of the complex, my stomach is churning about the drive and the parking!

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8,000 seats!?! That is insane. My church has like room for 200, if some are willing to stand.

 

Can't imagine being in such a community setting where no one can pick out the new-bes.

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I expected more of a floor show. This is the first church I've been in where there were no spiritual symbols anywhere-- no crosses, no nuthin'. The Unitarian church I was in for a wedding had a sort of dove-spirit thing.

 

The student from Germany seemed both appalled and fascinated. Today was the annual mass baptism, and she got to see that. Her host said that Willow Creek looked like a community college from the road. The jumbotron screens I expected; the videos reminded me of Scientology films.

 

There was a slight swipe at atheists, which seemed an odd thing to do given their mission.

 

Still, like all church services, it was mind-numbingly dull. The people did seem nice, and the musicians were excellent.

 

CelloChick: It was weird not have some sort of "here ends the service thing." On of the pastors stopped talking and the people started leaving. Your description was right on the money! Thanks!

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If P.T. Barnum had been an evangelist, he would have been proud.

 

That is perfect! Yes he would!

 

And today, there was one baptized every minute!

 

My pal said the whole thing reminded him of the big marketing meetings he has to attend.

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